6 of SA’s coolest offices
When one thinks of ‘the office’, it’s easy to imagine the all-enticing cube farm featuring 1980s f luorescent lights, drab walls and dated technology with spaghetti cables. With the average South African worker spending more than 2 000 hours in the office every year, local companies are beginning to take cognisance of the fact that a better workplace affects productivity.
As a way of securing the best and brightest, companies are now paying more attention to the environment creat- ed by their workspaces. There are many different ways to make an off ice cater to its workers. Some off ices feature athletic equipment that helps workers reduce stress and get their blood pumping. Others feature lounges where workers can relax and feel at home. In some way or another, offices should be designed to encourage workers to think more creatively and playfully.
Here are six inspirational, well designed and entertaining off ices that add a touch of colour and fun to the South African workspace:
Red Bull gives their employees wings by providing more than 1 600m2 space right at the harbour’s edge in Cape Town’s Waterfront. The walls are decorated with surfboards, pictures of the brand’s sporting adventures and memorabilia, and a ‘wall of fame’. Red Bull is provided on tap, there are private war rooms to break free and strategise in, and there is an arcade games room for staff to enjoy. The high-end space is characterised by a fun industrial look with no ceilings, while being acoustically sound-proof. The space features amazing views and the natural lighting stimulates staff creativity. Populated over two floors, the office encourages staff to move around freely while eliminating hierarchical structures.
The brand provides a space that is modern and clean, and has a white clinical look and feel to represent the medical field. The workplace features two state-of-the-art Simulation Labs that allow medical professionals from around the world to observe the latest in medical technology, stepped auditoriums and several meeting rooms with state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment. Unique telephone rooms allow for private calls or quiet working areas, and a modern community café that features high-bench working areas with connectivity, allowing staff to break free and work in a more informal environment. The office area incorporates ‘bright zones’, which include different options of shared spaces to collaborate. The simplistic, well-planned layout provides a great education centre for staff which makes learning fun, while further promoting efficiency and productivity in the workforce.
The massive corporate space brings a taste of fun and flavour starting with a VIP McCafé on the ground floor. Highlights include cash-free facilities, product taste testing and open days for the neighbouring corporates in the CBD once a week. State- of-the-art training facilities are provided and technology is integrated throughout, including in the meeting rooms and top-class boardrooms, which have their own private bar area and electronic screens and blinds. There are 360° views of the Sandton skyline, which allow for natural light and stimulate creativity among the workforce. Décor includes vibrant colours with murals, art and funky wallpaper. Recycling bins are used to promote sustainability and openplan devices such as the ‘phone booth’ allow staff to take private calls in a temperature-controlled booth with builtin lighting. The iconic McDonald’s golden arches are used throughout on door frames and in entrance areas. There are also green planter boxes at each desk, to add a touch of greenery and privacy. An open-plan staircase in the middle of the office, trendy open-plan furniture and informal breakaway areas further promote collaboration among workers.
This company paints the town red with its colourproductive showroom offices. Guided by the colour trend forecast, the office interior is creatively used as a canvass to illustrate the brand’s product range. Key furniture items can be easily updated and changed according to the season’s colour pantones. Each boardroom is used to display the different products’ colours, while educating staff about the brand offering. The area features openplan work environments, as well as shared spaces, such as the canteen area, where colours are strategically used to promote both interaction and relaxation. The company cleverly uses the office space to educate its employees, while creating a fun, bright and bold environment to enjoy.
The investment management firm created a fun, fresh contemporary office with emphasis on providing a state-of-the-art education centre for medical professionals and students. Key highlights include a number of different spaces for staff to enjoy; from showers, to lockers, bicycle hangers and even a children’s entertainment room. The office space can also be used for multiple purposes. The coffee station can convert into a staff canteen and entertainment bar; what is used as a play area for kids in the morning can easily convert into an employee relaxation space in the afternoons; the internal meeting areas can be used as project workstations and the main boardroom can be used as a formal dining area. Flexible staff areas are provided by using stackable doors to create open-plan spaces, encouraging further teamwork and cooperation throughout the company.
Toyota Africa took the initiative to place all its staff and employees in a green building filled with fun and games for all to enjoy. Fun office elements include popcorn machines and even a sweets area. Pause and break-away zones are also provided to allow staff members to relax and regain energy. Trendy modern furniture throughout and colourful workspaces incorporating natural African elements, such as waterfalls and natural wallpaper, provide a calming, stress-free environment that brings happy smiles to all. It’s evident that the future of the office is fun. Whether they are in a high-rise building or in a transformed garage, workplace environments matter. A creative, functional office can set the tone for everything a company does. When one looks at leading companies such as Google and Facebook, which require smart, creative and in-demand workers, fun and open-plan collaborative offices offer a competitive edge when trying to attract the cream of the crop. It makes sense since professionals spend more hours at the office each week than they do at home, and an office that provides space for group gatherings, brainstorming, relaxation, and collaboration boosts productivity and gives staff a fantastic reason to come to work each day.