With South Africa’s lockdown finally approaching its lowest level, companies across the country are gearing up to do business at full capacity – but will the commercial property landscape ever look quite the same?

As company workers and management weigh up the benefits of working in crowded city centres, the prospect of decentralised commercial space is looking increasingly good. 

This is excellent news for commercial property owners whose buildings are located in suburban areas and for prospective tenants who are seeking an office space close to home and away from the crowds.

What are the advantages of decentralised commercial space?

This year has seen the world’s traditional way of life and work turned on its head as businesses adapt to a world of pandemics, social distancing and a sudden surge in work-from-home arrangements. 

Going forward, many companies are opting to allow a certain number of remote working days per week, while in rare cases like that of the social media company, Twitter, the entire workforce has been permitted to work from home indefinitely. 

South Africa’s collaborative business culture is unlikely to embrace extreme measures like these, but with a certain number of employees working from home in the short to medium term, there are several advantages to renting or buying a decentralised office unit.

  • Population density. Office buildings at the edge of an urban area will be located in a less dense environment. This is safer from an infection point of view and also means less congestion during a potential lockdown. 
  • Competitive pricing. Modern buildings in CBDs have traditionally attracted the highest per metre valuations and they remain relatively expensive even in the current market. Office units in suburban areas offer excellent value for money at this time. 
  • A good future growth outlook. The management trend toward decentralisation has been growing steadily over the past decade and has been firmly established as a viable option during the pandemic. This means strong demand for remote premises should continue for years to come. 

Rethinking the value of location

If this trend for office spaces located in less busy areas takes hold in Cape Town as it has in other cities around the world, there may be a rush to buy and rent properties in areas not traditionally associated with big business. 

  • Historically, the CBD – and more recently, Century City – have been the strongest contenders in the Cape Town commercial property sector and still have an excellent reputation. However, several other areas may offer a viable alternative for decentralised companies. 
  • The Southern Suburbs – including the already popular Claremont area – and the Northern Seaboard are both home to a variety of premium office units that are located near popular residential areas. 
  • As prospective tenants consider the benefits of proximity to their homes as well as the possibility of another lockdown, these areas may win out over the city’s traditional business districts with some companies. 

We’d love to help you decentralise

If you’re keen to explore the option of decentralised office space, our team is ready to assist. Contact us today to set up a meeting or brief us on your specific requirements.