Linda Trim, Director at FutureSpace, a high-end workspace joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap with two offices in Sandton, said: ”Pro-working is rapidly growing in popularity with professionals and businesses worldwide that want a shared workspace that meets their polished image.”
She added that pro-working has introduced a new kind of shared work spaced that is more advanced than co-working and which focuses more on services than just the space, much like a five-star hotel.
“There is now a clear and growing distinction now between co-working spaces which tend to cater to freelancers, and pro-working offices which offer a more formal, luxurious environment with facilities to match.”
She added that in the past few years, many long-established and professional businesses became conscious of the benefits that sharing a workspace has to offer: reduced cost office space, collaboration, networking and exchanging skills and knowledge.
“The problem they faced was that many locations on the market just didn’t fit with their identity. They were utilitarian and geared towards freelancers as well as more informal startups and lacked services like the latest technology and formal spaces in which to meet clients.
“They were hip and often grungy and clearly not the best fit for professionals who want their workspace to match their image – and not be distributed by endless games of ping pong, “ Trim noted.
But now that companies and consultants operating on a more traditional structure are learning about the benefits of sharing workspace with like-minded businesses, the market is looking to accommodate their needs.
As much as pro-working is a play on co-working, it has evolved from a typical serviced office set up, but with the added element of the best boutique hotel hospitality such as concierge services, personal assistants and access to gyms.
Said Trim: “In addition, the pro-working offering is inspired by the community spirit that co-working has brought to modern office life. Pro-working aims to allow formal businesses to create communities with compatible professionals.
“Co-working made this transition effortless for lone workers and small companies who depended on flexible work options. And now pro-working is doing the same for the professional set.”
Trim also noted that one of the key workplace trends today is to really invest in your people and make sure they are happy and able to produce their best work, which is why the shared market is such a hit the world over.
“Pro-working places are particularly appealing for companies that want to expand because the offices are ‘on-demand’ – there is no need for lengthy procurement processes or FICA (Financial Intelligence Centre Act) requirements,” said Trim. “They also offer extreme flexibility in that the office space is there for as short or long a time as you want it.”
FutureSpace offices in Katherine Street and Rivonia Road in Sandton host many of South Africa’s most successful companies, as well as international startups that needed to quickly get up and running.
Such is the demand, FutureSpace plans to open several new offices in 2019.