Over the last 18 months, businesses have adapted to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies have had to adopt a hybrid-method of working, which allows employees to work from home on a rotational basis. Our latest webinar invited a panel of experts to discuss their experiences of acclimatisation and what adjustments they see for the future of business.
The panel included:
Lebogang Shole – Executive Head of National Facilities and Property at Vodacom
Paul Kollenberg – Head of Asset Management at Growthpoint Properties
Lynette Ntuli – Founder and CEO of Innate Investment Solutions
Justin Blend – Director at Africrest Properties
Linda Trim – Director of Giant Leap and FutureSpace
Mashilo Pitjeng – Managing Director at TheboREAL Asset Management
Managing company culture remotely
According to research by Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct corporate culture is important to a business’ success. Lynette Ntuli, the founder and CEO of Innate Investment Solutions explains that “several businesses have had to put culture at the forefront of their organisations over the last 18 months, especially if a company culture has not been implemented before.” Ntuli explains that communication and teamwork is a large part of culture and helps the ability of not just being productive, but also to share in the connectedness of being human in order to deliver to the outside world.
Measuring productivity against flexible work hours
One of the recurring themes discussed within businesses is the matter of productivity and how both businesses and employees have maintained efficiency during the pandemic and continue to do so thereafter. According to Lebogang Shole, Executive Head of National Facilities and Property at Vodacom, “most corporates have tools in place that measure productivity which gives you data and analytics to understand how you use your time.” With various procedures implemented by companies, employees are provided with acceptable time guidelines and “no meeting” zones times offering a balance at home. Lebogang also explains that “these tools and analytics provide unique data to help employers understand and improve processes for employee wellness.”
Landlords are adapting
The last 18 months have seen changes in workspaces especially from a landlord perspective. Paul Kollenberg, head of Asset Management at Growthpoint Properties explains, “the nature of the office will change and there will always be some element of remote working while infrastructure in the office will need to accommodate employees coming into the office to collaborate, especially with the change of office layouts and the innovation of changing the landscape of parking requirements.” These innovations will inevitably benefit the employer and employees in the long run.
The new office space requirements
While many businesses have adjusted to a blend of work-from-home and office rotation, there is still the question of the changing requirements of office spaces in corporate environments. According to Justin Blend, the Director at Africrest Properties, business owners are encouraged to have employees return to the office to work optimally, and he is seeing most of these companies renewing their leases for the same amount of space they’re in.
Home office ergonomics
Since the implementation of lockdown levels in March 2020, companies have encouraged employees to stay at home and have provided the tools required to fulfil their tasks. Linda Trim, Director at FutureSpace suggests there is an impact on employee physical and mental wellness and that there have been challenges leading back to productivity at home.
With different dynamics in various workspaces, our panel of experts suggest that the future of the office space looks positive as businesses continue to modify and innovate their procedures and environments. To gain more insight, you can watch our full webinar here.