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Workshop17 extends its services to support home offices & changing corporate office needs

The leading workspace solutions provider says the future of the office is both physical & virtual.

Covid-19 has seen much of the globe encouraged to work from home where possible. With so many people operating remotely during this pandemic, we are experiencing an unprecedented blend of work and private life. Businesses lucky enough to have survived the ravages of the Covid-19 lockdown have been forced to quickly adapt to new ways of working. In response to market demand, South Africa’s top workspace solutions provider, Workshop17, has taken the lead to provide a continuum of work environments that blend physical and virtual workspace services.

“The office of the future will no longer be a specific space in one building, but a combination of physical spaces accompanied by virtual office resources that enable online meetings, planning and collaboration” says Paul Keursten, Workshop 17 co-founder and CEO.

“The future of the office became clearer to us during Covid-19 lockdown. Physical workspaces will always be relevant, but the need to keep our members connected inspired us to re-evaluate our value proposition and shift our focus to provide flexible solutions offering an interchangeable mix of physical and virtual spaces and functionalities. We intend to be a work solutions provider to enables corporates, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and others to be productive wherever they choose to operate from – at home or in one of our physical workspaces”, says Keursten.

The company also has the benefit of insights from local market research on how Covid-19 and technology have reframed our understanding of the work-setting. More than half of the SMME’s surveyed in the #CombatCovid SMME Survey (co-sponsored by Workshop 17) reported that they had used technology to keep their businesses ticking over during these trying times. 54% of businesses had adopted and/or increased their use of technology, with tools such as online video conferencing, in order to work remotely, run their businesses and streamline processes. 

A remote revolution for corporates and beyond

By all accounts, remote work is here to stay, for a growing number of workers, and this has a major impact on the future of offices. Despite the easing Covid-19 restrictions, many companies, big and small, are continuing to allow their employees to work remotely. This shift has had an impact of the traditional idea of the office. 

In recent months, Workshop17 has seen an increase in enquiries from large corporates and smaller business alike looking for more flexible workspace options.  Keursten says “The corporates who have reached out to us, are telling us that while they recognize that employees do not necessarily need to be based at a corporate head office to be productive, the long-term work from home arrangements are not a solution for everyone.” He adds, “The reality is that some employees may not necessarily have all the resources they need at home to handle their professional commitments, including adequate workspace, ergonomic furniture, certain office equipment, a stable internet connection and in some cases enough quiet time to work. And that is before the predicted load shedding kicks in. Further, there are some professionals who find it challenging not to have regular in-person interaction and engagement with their colleagues when working from home full time.”

Keursten continues: “In order to adapt to the new world of work, we are hearing from corporates that they are open to limiting their traditional office space environments, in some cases reducing their office premises by more than 50%. There is a real appetite for a so-called ‘third space’: a mailable office concept that is relatively close to their employees’ homes to avoid long hours in traffic, that is ergonomic and functional, and just offers a great atmosphere in which their staff can be creative and effective, as well as interact and be inspired by others.” DM


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