Technology is reducing office spaces and potentially saving jobs
The square meter per person of office space has already reduced in many major SA corporates.
Technology is set to reduce office space in the future, allowing companies to conserve cash on their properties, said Thabo Mofokeng, a South Africa-based property expert from Gyro Group, the new property arm of Telkom and customer of Broll.
Mofokeng, speaking at the well-attended Finance Indaba 2018, said this would happen as people start using their laptops, mobile phones and 3G cards to do their work from wherever they are.
“There would be no need to go to the office then,” he said, adding the square meter per person of office space has already been reduced in many major corporates in South Africa as people opt to work from outside the office.
He said the property portfolio size of South Africa’s biggest retail bank, Absa, had been reduced by 30 percent as a result of this.
“Most companies are beginning to reap the benefits of this in terms of cost. Companies now have cash they can reallocate elsewhere for expansion and other things."
He added that this can save jobs too.
Currently, about 42% of companies in South Africa have employees working from home full-time, with 67% saying they will have employees working from home full-time within the next two years, according to a 2017 Dimension Data survey. On an international scale, this figure is 10% lesser.
In comparison, 35% have employees in South Africa working from home part-time, with 79% saying they will have employees working from home part of the time in the future, according to the survey.
However, the surveyed companies found that the biggest barrier to this change was getting other parts of their business to buy into such an initiative.
But circumstances would force them to change their minds.
For instance, many office developments are responding to the need of future-forward work spaces to connect, collaborate and to share ideas, it has emerged.
This comes from the rapid technological advancements which have gifted employees with the ability to redefine their work lives by working remotely thanks to wifi, smartphones and other tech savvy tools.
These office developments are providing considered work environments which emphasise openness, transcend the idea of the daily grind and encourage a healthy work-life balance and campus-style and community-orientated spaces.