Co-working spaces are not new in South Africa, with many existing in each of the major cities across the country.
The premise of a co-working space is simple, if you’re a new business, an entrepreneur or even a freelancer, looking for a professional space to work from but aren’t keen on paying the often exorbitant cost of renting an entire office, then you’re able to rent as much as space as you need from a co-working space. Usually you’re able to rent a desk, share an office or have entire office to yourself.
Costs vary depending on the city you’re in and the co-working space you’re renting from.
The benefits at each space vary but the common theme is that you have internet access, a shared kitchen, usually there’s a secretary on hand to assist with certain tasks and you have access to boardrooms for meetings as we all copiers and printers.
While Cape Town based Work & Co provides you with all the standard amenities mentioned above (including incredibly fast fibre internet), they go the extra mile with their personal touches and strong belief in what they’re working towards.
Kitchen and Lounge area on the 14th floor
Passageway on the 14th floor
Phonebooths are available on both the 11th and 14th floors of Work & Co…for when you need to take a private call.
View from the 14th floor of Work & Co
The Lego wall in Work & Co’s hot desking area on the 11th floor
Passageway on the 11th floor
Both Julien Verspieren (Founder) and Jolize Pienaar (Community Manager) spend time getting to know to each person working in their beautifully decorated space and do their best to help you with whatever you need assistance with in order to help your business grow or to just help you get through the project you’re currently working on.
During one of the days we spent at Work & Co, a freelancer arrived to try out the space and upon unpacking her bag; she realized that she had forgotten her laptop charger at home. Unfortunately none of us had the same type of laptop as her and therefore we couldn’t help her out. She went to Jolize who promptly hopped on Slack to ask the businesses and people using the space, whether or not someone had a laptop charger that could be used, within minutes a laptop charger had found its way to the woman in question and all was right with the world again.
This might not seem like a big deal but previous co-working spaces that I’ve used don’t have this same culture of people working together to help each other out, the predominant vibe is “this is my space, leave me alone”.
Work & Co is different thanks to its culture. Everyone speaks to everyone else and everyone is willing to lend a helping hand where they can. A sense of community is what they’re trying to build at Work & Co and so far, they’re succeeding.
While touring the 14th floor (Work & Co occupies the 11th and 14th floors of an office building in lower Bree street), Jolize mentioned that they were working on getting involved in the local startup scene and organising events and talks where people could be educated about the practical side of starting your own business and while as finding ways to set up support structures for startups.
This has been tried by other companies, especially in Cape Town, but none have been successful so far.
What makes Work & Co different? They intend to leverage the talent they already have in the building to help build this framework and support structure and when the names in the Work & Co space include the likes of Moët and Hennessy as well as local startup Yoco, they stand a very good chance of becoming a driving force in the startup arena.
Work & co also differs thanks to their use of technology throughout the space.
Access to offices and the shared hot desk area is controlled biometrically controlled, visitors to the space are requested to sign in on a tablet which immediately sends a notification to the person they’re visiting that they are there and when leaving the space, you simply wave your hand over a sensor to open the door. They also pride themselves on Slack integration throughout the space.
We spent a great few days in the Work & Co offices, so much so that you shouldn’t be surprised to see us there again in the very near future.
Work & Co can be found at 7 Bree Street in the Cape Town CBD.
If you’re interested in rates, using the venue for events or you’re wanting a tour of the space, head to their website for more info.