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KOFISI: The best options for post-Covid workspaces

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KOFISI Karen Knowledge Room. PHOTO | KOFISI

Summary

  • KOFISI is a flexible workspace provider (not co-working business) with 95 percent of our revenue coming from Private Offices and Customised Office Suites already - so we are geared up for multi-small offices, which we think is the most applicable to current demands.

There is an opportunity to re-imagine modern workspaces for health and safety reasons. But what will that look like?


  • Do you envision a completely new work environment and what is informing the changes the company is planning?

There will be fundamental changes to most work environments, but KOFISI’s flexible workspace solution already caters for most of those. We can offer companies the flexibility of rotational working whereby employee attendance is staggered, reducing the number of people in the office at any one time - without businesses having to pay for empty desk space - but still having access to an office environment and facilities when they need it.

Open-play and co-working areas will have to be redesigned to allow for social distancing and we think we will see a reduction in community areas coupled with an increase in requests for Private Office space.

The general ‘healthiness’ of buildings will be a major consideration for any company looking at new or existing offices. Older buildings may struggle to keep up with the new requirements of space, ventilation, sanitation, etc.

We see this as a tipping point for the flexible office industry because we have anticipated these changes already. Covid-19 has forced companies to rethink their work environments and their way of working, and we are able to show those who were sceptical at first that we are a viable solution.


  • How does the new vision compare to the way in which the workplace is currently structured?

People are the greatest asset of any company and safety is their priority. A safe work environment is going to help employee productivity. It used to be that delivering an inspiring working environment was key, now it’s just as much about feeling safe and comfortable in your office environment.

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KOFISI Karen Breakout Space. PHOTO | KOFISI


  • Are there elements you will retain from before Covid-19, and why?

KOFISI is a flexible workspace provider (not co-working business) with 95 percent of our revenue coming from Private Offices and Customised Office Suites already - so we are geared up for multi-small offices, which we think is the most applicable to current demands.

We would expect there to be a revision to the general community facilities that people want e.g. self-service kitchens vs staffed cafes, one-man workspaces vs phone booths. In reality, we will see people using the same spaces, but in a different way.

Assembly spaces will have a lower requirement, and Meeting Rooms won’t be able to hold as many people physically, but most employees are now adept at using Zoom or Google hangouts. We are anticipating that larger meetings could be a hybrid of the two – allowing key members to be present in the Meeting Room, while others join on large screens via the Internet. We have 12 different types of spaces in each of our Centres which are all useful - but we imagine they will be used differently due to Covid-19.

For businesses that want to set up new offices, the CAPEx will be way bigger to deliver due to Covid-19 requirements, plus the operating expenditure from increased health and safety compliance will make the concept of outsourcing even more compelling.

Using flexible workspace over a traditional office was 20 percent cheaper before Covid. It’s now 30 percent cheaper.

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Michael Aldridge, CEO KOFISI Africa. PHOTO | KOFISI


  • What changes are specifically related to health and wellbeing and which changes are being made because there’s an opportunity to do things differently?

Flexible workspace providers are experts at creating solid and secure work environments and we’ve always considered the health and wellbeing of our members a priority. That’s what makes us different from the traditional office leases. By nature, we are flexible and able to adapt to client demands.

Some of us are better at giving you a great day at work because we use a blend of technology, people, and tenant services/facilities. The difference is going to be that it is more compelling for people to buy that service. The market is already 25 times underserved in Africa. There’s half a percent cut through here and it's 12 percent in London.

In every situation, in an emerging environment that involves technology, you leapfrog to the solution…KOFISI’s flexible offices are the solution.


  • There are experts that believe that workplaces require both physical and psychological changes since the way we work will also manifest in how we think about work? What changes will relate to the psychology of work post-Covid?

Physically, co-working providers will need to adjust to allow for greater social distancing between desks. Fewer people will be allowed in a space at any one time, we will see an increase in demand for the number of private offices, where the interaction and collision between employees can be minimised.

There will be an increased amount of signage reminding people to wear masks, to wash their hands, and to stay at home if they feel unwell.

Psychologically people will need to feel reassured that their office provider has an effective Covid-19 response plan in place so that they feel safe while they work and can maintain productivity.

Communication is key and a great relationship between the provider and member needs to be maintained. Providers of flexible office space are the agents between client and landlord and we are the ones who have the relationship with both sides.  KOFISI can react and negotiate on our clients’ behalf to make sure everyone is getting the most out of their office space and their working day.