To meet the demands of the growing number of companies looking to improve the utilisation of their office space, listed real estate investment trust Redefine Properties (JSE: RDF) has partnered with global flexible workspace company Regus to grow its footprint in this exciting market segment.
The partnership with Regus will see Redefine letting 4,500 square metres across seven sites, where it plans to be able to offer competitive and flexible workplace solutions.
"We hope this will be the first of many leases along these lines. Demand for serviced offices and flexible leases will also increase as more staff members work remotely," says Redefine's chief operating officer, David Rice.
Regus has a presence in 107 countries and over 2,850 sites over the world, with 47 of those business centres in South Africa.
Joanne Bushell, CEO for Regus South Africa, says demand for serviced offices is a growing global trend that is catching on in Africa too.
"Space is shrinking, but the need for increased mobility is also driving the demand for serviced and open plan workspaces around the world. We are starting to see more African companies of all sizes seeking more common areas too - which makes sense as cost effectiveness is a necessity for any business," she says.
The initiative will evolve with time into more nodes and centres - Phase I encompasses up to 4,500 square metres over 7 sites on a flexible deal structure with profit share for both Redefine and Regus. The 7 sites are Polokwane, Rosebank, Bedfordview, 222 Smit Street opposite the Gautrain in the Johannesburg CBD, Illovo, Bryanston and Constantia.
"This is a long-term partnership. In phase II we hope to secure a multitude of additional sites. Most of these sites fit together nicely and create a network which will assist businesses as they mature," says Rice.
Bushell says serviced offices provide solutions to suit each growth phase a business may encounter.
"When you start up you need to be mobile and able to go and find clients. After that, you would look to move into a more permanent workspace, but with tiered hours of usage and where you receive assistance in answering the phone and mail, for example. After that a business would want to graduate into a 24/7 office space. Our model is able to support all of these phases requirements, which is why this deal is such a win-win," says Bushell.
Regus South Africa plans to expand its national network as the need for agile workspaces is seen as "immense" says Bushell.
According to Rice, flexible workspace office solutions provide much needed flexibility in a highly uncertain economic landscape.
"At Redefine we realise the importance of optimising office space for clients and therefore want to be on the cutting edge of delivering solutions that will make a difference and support businesses on their journeys to achieving higher levels of profitability," he concludes.