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As 2021 is now well underway, I want to express my gratitude to all KOFISI Staff, our Centre Teams and Members who have shown amazing reliance in continuing their operations during an extremely challenging year.
When news of the pandemic surfaced at the beginning of 2020, commentators were hugely pessimistic about the impact it would have on developing countries. We waited to see how badly the Continent would be affected and what the knock-on effect would be for our clients and our Centres across the five countries in which we operate. From a distance we witnessed the impact on workspace providers in the US and Europe as millions of people were forced to stay away from their offices. Every day brought with it more unnerving news.
KOFISI AND COVID
As a company we were forced to think about how we would survive in a worst-case scenario and we applied daily and detailed thinking to every situation that came about. We are lucky so far in that our Centres, with the exception of Johannesburg, have remained open, yet we saw a few of our multinational clients call some staff members back ‘home’, consolidating their space and leaving a skeleton team. Our flexibility was tested to the core.
As a business based in Africa, we are, however, well versed in facing adversity. The path for enterprise growth here can often be set with obstacles. Companies who operate here, do so with resolve, aware of the vast commercial opportunities that present themselves across the Continent but which is matched with an unpredictability that needs the will, determination and strength to weather some tricky conditions.
Throughout 2020, the immediate impact of Covid-19 had a devastating impact on business growth. The Continent relies heavily on the buoyancy of developed markets to mobilise its companies and investments abroad. The pandemic hit Africa’s markets hard and investment stalled. There’s little doubt 2021 will continue to be a period of stagnation regarding investment, until the world fully recovers.
With regards to KOFISI, our own plans for expansion were put on hold, but in turn that gave us the time and space to identify and improve elements within the business that our Members and Stakeholders said mattered most. By focusing on our operations for that period, our business is stronger, our brand is more visible and we remain the pan-African market leader in flexible workspace, delivering the most engaging work environments on the continent, for both multinational and local businesses.
I am hugely proud of the innovation, dedication and resilience we have shown throughout.
And we are now very confident about our future.
One of the most significant impacts of the pandemic was a huge ‘work experiment’ was forced to play out, with millions of employees working from home.
Business globally realized it could realistically offer a hybrid working model to employees, facilitating remote working whilst also allowing access to necessary office and collaboration space, without impacting employee productivity. During their cost saving exercises, enterprise saw the inefficiencies of some of the additional facilities associated with their existing leases, and spaces that simply weren’t being used enough to justify their presence on the balance sheet.
The flexible, shorter term licences presented a more attractive option – allowing business to upscale, or downscale responding to market pressures, without tying them down to costly, inflexible and sometimes punitive traditional leases. Ancillary rooms could be used as and when required – on flexible terms.
The result is that more and more companies are looking towards an agile work environment as their office of the future. The demand for flexible workspace is on the rise.
In Africa it is no different. By leveraging infrastructure and technology adoption in all our city centre locations, KOFISI continues to improve the standards of office space on the Continent. Business here now appreciates there’s a new type of work environment that offers enterprise grade office facilities supported by great service and integrated technology.
And as more multinational companies arrive to establish themselves over the coming years to enter, explore and engage with Africa’s opportunities, they will need the services of productive spaces to launch from, and evolve as they succeed.
In our spaces our Members are investing in their employees, positively impacting their workspace experience allowing them to attract and retain top talent and to focus on growth.
OUR GROWTH AMBITIONS
Africa still remains the most underserved continent in the supply of quality flexible workspaces, despite the economic commentary on GDP growth rates outlining this to be the highest in the world.
KOFISI has a mission to provide a solution to this by delivering our product to all major gateway cities on the Continent. We have an unwavering ambition to improve workspaces everywhere and to deliver productivity for companies in all sectors.
The cost efficiencies of a flexible work environment have been well documented and what is now exciting is that we have a receptive audience in more corporations who want to understand about how they can benefit by making the change to flex.
We therefore see this as an exciting moment for the industry, and we are looking forward to an exciting period of growth with more Centres opening in more locations in the near future.
We look forward to supporting all business in 2021 and beyond.
Stay safe, stay productive.