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Rapid technological advancements have given people the ability to redefine their work lives. With the concept of the nine-to-five working week slowly fading, many professionals around the world are now untethered from their desks and able to work remotely from anywhere and at any time thanks to Wi-Fi, smartphones and a host of other tech-savvy tools.

This method of work has been lauded for increasing employees’ productivity and happiness. While it seems traditional work hours may have left the building, companies and employees are still in need of future-forward spaces to connect, collaborate and share ideas.

As a result, many office developments are responding to this need by providing considered work environments that reinforce openness, transcend the idea of the daily grind and encourage a healthy work-life balance in campus-style and community-orientated spaces.

In a 2017 article for Director, Monica Parker, a behaviourist and founder of organisational change consultancy Hatch, whose clients include Microsoft, Deloitte and the BBC, says: “People always need a place to come together, and while coffee shops are great, people still like to have a place they can call a work home. I don’t think work has left the building – there is still that communal driver.”

Today, companies are coming to understand the importance of nurturing productivity through the significant benefits of open and flexible office environments, which include creativity, knowledge sharing, teamwork and coordination. While Google, Apple and various other tech-advanced companies have been operating like this for decades already, South Africa is just beginning to ride the crest of the flexible and open work wave.

Cue Park Square, Nedbank’s iconic R1-billion mixed-use office and retail development located in uMhlanga’s New Town Centre and thriving commercial hub. Bordering the popular CJ Saunders Park and featuring innovative commercial and retail offerings, Park Square, with its curated selection of restaurants, shops and coffee bars, will offer a connected work culture incorporating a unique leisure offering linked to a vibrant and open urban square.

The four-star Green Star-rated building, due for completion in October this year, includes 36,000m² of commercial space, 4,000m² of retail and an impressive 3,500m² public piazza. It’s easily accessible to pedestrians, offers abundant parking and is close to a GO!Durban Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network stop.

Ken Reynolds, Nedbank Property Finance Divisional executive, property expert and director of Nedport Developments, a subsidiary of Nedbank and Park Square’s developers, says: “Projects like Park Square are effectively turning the South African urban planning paradigm around. This innovative and connected space encourages people to think beyond the boardroom and take time to unplug and to connect with one another. By similarly drawing the surrounding communities for shopping and relaxing, the overall effect is a sociable, communal space that emphasises a convenient and balanced work-life experience.”

Pic: SUPPLIED
Pic: SUPPLIED

Park Square has already secured high-profile tenants including Nedbank, Spar and the IBV International Vaults. Spar marketing manager Travis Anderson says: “Customers no longer want to shop in large centres. They want the convenience of parking, walking straight into the building, doing their shop and walking straight out.

“We love Park Square because of its convenient location in a fast-developing area and its proximity to CJ Saunders Park, which will allow us extra exposure as we piggyback off activities held there.”

Reynolds adds: “If you can imagine your day like this – arrive at work with your barista-made coffee in hand, in a reusable mug, of course; use the morning for planning and responding to emails followed by a quick jog around the park at lunch; tuck into an artisanal deluxe sandwich bought from Spar; then attend afternoon meetings and drinks in the square with your new client – then you have imagined a day at Park Square.”

Not forgetting profitability, a positive work environment increases productivity and in turn can have a significant impact on a company’s success. Having amenities within walking distance of employees’ desks reduces staff downtime, stress and the lunch-hour rush, as staff do not need to leave the campus for their various requirements – from healthcare to lunch and even a spot of recreational shopping.

“Park Square offers mutual benefits for the employer and the employees with its unique commercial and lifestyle aspects. This world-class destination offers a win-win situation for both, where staff benefit by working in an open, future-forward environment and companies reap the rewards on their bottom line,” says Reynolds.

Visit the website for more information or email parksquare@nedbank.co.za

This article was paid for by Nedport.