July 6, 2020

What's Next for the Office with Kieron van Rooyen

What's Next for the Office with Kieron van Rooyen

In this episode, we discuss how work boundaries are blurring, real estate impacts of Covid-19, and how the office may change forever.

This episode features Kieron van Rooyen, Managing Director and Property Strategist at Turnkies. Kieron has extensive knowledge and experience in property strategy. Using property science, analytics and market research, Kieron has assisted clients from listed property funds, to emerging retailers with building effective property strategies. During his involvement with the Gauteng Chapter of the South African Council of Shopping Centres, Kieron lead the team responsible for creating a leasing standard document for the industry. He also spent a number of years overseeing teams responsible for the design and building of retail outlets.

Our conversation focuses on the short and long-term impacts of Covid-19 on office real estate. We talk about how employers can make working from home more comfortable, how the office will change once employees can return, and the potential to shift to different office models such as co-working spaces.

We also spend time reflecting on how the present moment will reshape employee expectations. “We’re putting trust at the forefront of what you should expect from your employer when you return to work,” said Kieron.

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Click here for the episode transcript

Webinar: Workspace: Where are the boundaries now?

Webinar: The Aliens are coming

Kieron's KFC Ad


Ryan Purvis  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines. The problems they face, how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took, they'll help you to get to the scripts for the digital Express inner workings.

Kieron van Rooyen  0:32  
I'm Kieron van Rooyen I'm the managing director of a company called turnkeys. And we're a property strategy company in South Africa that

we deal mostly with retailers and have for a long time but we also do property strategy for end users and and, and sort of owners and occupiers so everything from I guess a retailer rolling out a new bunch of stores. To a property owner, maybe looking at the purchase options or sale options, or best use of the spaces, that's the best use of the buildings or whatever the case may be. And so it's quite broad, but all in the property space and been doing it for the last 1012 years, I guess. them ended up the way them my acting career wasn't good. Well, kids defeat and that sort of thing. And it just stem just default today. So yeah, that's my last 12 years.

Ryan Purvis  1:36  
Yeah, remember that KFC with the Julian curry, which used to say, to the bone meal, what would it be? Can you use to say, Yeah,

Kieron van Rooyen  1:46  
my Park was the nice but not as nicely close. Look, KFC add that. Strangely, you can do as much theater and TV as you want. And they've been and as in a couple other things as well. But the thing that I'm most remembered for is one silicosis.

Ryan Purvis  2:03  
If that's on YouTube or something

Kieron van Rooyen  2:06  
it is. We'll have to find that. Some of even

it won't take you long. It comes up with a couple of days ago with my


Ryan Purvis  2:23  
How you did a webinar recently, what was the what was the sense for that or the sentiment around the new world?

Kieron van Rooyen  2:29  
Yeah, it was, I tell you what, it was a hell of a lot more productive than I thought it was going to be. We weren't certain that enough people wanted to listen to us. But you know, we ended up I think we've had 125 people viewed so far. We had 89 live on the day, from 11 different countries, which was, you know, quite nice to know that people around the world actually wanted to listen to what we have to say. So the, you know, the crux of our conversation there was basically what are the new work boundaries So not just your physical boundaries. So I mean, if you take it these days, your workplace is no longer just, it's no longer just your physical office space, it's not the address that's given to your office. It's actually any place that you can do your work. And, and, you know, and, and these changes have become quite big. I know you've been doing this for years. I mean, I think when we were in varsity, you were doing this already working from coffee shops and little robot remote locations here and there. But that's, that's kind of what's happening. So there's a lot of allowances been made. And and we've been, these have been long conversations for us. We've encouraged the truck lines for quite some time. Now, obviously, with COVID it's just become a become a thing. Everybody has to do it. Everybody has to figure out how they're going to do it. And the most the most interesting things which is not really from that webinar, the things that I've seen coming up since because we're hosting another one next week. And the things that I've seen coming up is and sort of M fatigue from from video. calls. And it's been quite interesting just the way people are. And, you know, we're used to getting social cues and sort of body language stuff and whatnot. Now brains are working overtime to try and try and figure that out. So people are getting fatigued, trying to stay in these meetings. The other big thing has really been been your focus working or your deep working stuff that is becoming a bit of a task for people in the military at home, you can't switch into deep work mode, it's actually, neurologically it's not possible. And because you've got too many other things, so you're more likely to get into a deep workspace in a coffee shop where actually nobody's strangely as much as these people around you, nobody's really there to come and talk to you. So now people are battling with deep work stuff in their in their houses, because, you know, you could washing looming or dishes or a kid or a dog or any mother lawn or whatever it might be so people are really backing to deep work. So it's actually having a big mental effect. on people, and the was


really stand corrected on the dates on this. And but after the SARS outbreak, I think like 2020 odd percent of the people returning to work had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And then I think we're going to see the same thing coming out of this, which is going to be interesting. I'll see that it's going to be

Ryan Purvis  5:26  
this couple things. I want to pick this so that I've been able to work anyway. I think you're right in the sense that if you go sit in a coffee shop, it's wise to do it because I didn't like working with music on. But I like the background noise of people talking and stuff, which is almost like a white noise that helps you to focus. And then the other thing that you mentioned around deep work. I mean, personally, I think many people have found this again, earlier, to be forever and also as a way to do those one in one or two hours worth of work before the distractions start. It's a no Such as distractions from your family. But it's also, it was an hour's talk to you because he's awake at 7am. And you know, he's got an idea and he wants to chat. And he knows you're not commuting. So you'll just start a conversation with you. Because he sees that you're online. And then that that makes your day really long, because you've probably got other meetings that are booked in and

Kieron van Rooyen  6:18  
so couple of things on there at first, not all people work. And in the morning, some work well in. So for example, we've picked 11 o'clock as our time to host all our webinars because from a neurological point of view, that's the best time may your morning workers and afternoon workers are kind of, you know, they both sort of engaged. You know, it's it's the optimum time to the audience. Loads of people work better at night, and I'm better at 19 and my wife at the moment, getting up at sort of early hours to get work done. My father always did. I mean, he was always up. It's so stupid hours at three, four o'clock in the morning to get work done. So there's definitely merit in that. In in sort of getting that stuff done before they're all the distractions, but the reality is not everybody does it same way. Another interesting thing is suggested that you leave the TV on in the if you're working at home because you better off with with some sort of background noise. Yeah. Nice.

Unknown Speaker  7:20  

Ryan Purvis  7:21  
And then what do you do for getting distraction free work though?

Heather Bicknell  7:25  
Um, well, I guess for me, thankfully, I don't have too many distractions, just my cats. So I will shut them out, which I usually have to do a few times today. And I'm someone I don't think I could do the TV thing. So, Karen, I don't know if we gave you any any background on me, but I do Product Marketing. So I do a lot of writing. And for me, I need total total silence. So I have some noise cancelling headphones I can throw on. There's a loud woodpecker outside or something but it's actually been really nice working from home for that. Being able to control volume.

Kieron van Rooyen  8:04  
Yeah, I think that, you know, everything sort of that I've mentioned is really a largely generalizations. Look, the neuroscience is not necessarily generalizations that's that is what it is but like some people do better you might be less distracted by your home environment in the next person. And it might be an I find it because I'm used to working at home that for me it's not an issue and it's really not a problem because I'm used to it I've been doing it sort of on and off for 10 years. And so for me it's for me it's fine it's the people who aren't used to it it's a people who are used to people who are very routine based I'm going to be routine kind of person I don't like things to remain the same I kind of like disruption and things constantly changing and and and that sort of thing. And so for me, I don't want to be like I get up at this time and do my washing then and and and and so the disruption for me it's fun and hit I don't know enough about you to know whether that's the same but it might just be because you comfortable working at home and have been so used to it over time that it's it's not a you know, it's not a big change. It's actually just it's not a new normal. It's the old normal.

Heather Bicknell  9:10  
Yeah, actually, you know, my company doesn't have a huge work from home culture. So this is a pretty new experience. The irony of that? Oh, yeah, I know. But it's actually I mean, it's been I think it's been fairly easy for the whole company. I haven't really heard of anyone having a hard time. So seems to be working pretty well. Should we should probably carry most you guys live

Ryan Purvis  9:35  
very close to work. I mean, you're talking fun astrov. So sort of be in the office is is probably the most frictionless experience that you could find. Via that office. Yeah,

Heather Bicknell  9:49  
yeah. At least in the US. I know our London office might have a different experience.

Ryan Purvis  9:55  
Yeah, they have I mean, one guy drives two and a half hours to get the the In just three to four hours to get home that night because of the traffic moment, but traffic back then

Heather Bicknell  10:06  
I could not I could not imagine I could not do that.

Kieron van Rooyen  10:09  
That's crazy. Okay, and that's it, that's a big thing that company is going to have to look out for because we've all now experienced what it's like not having to sit in traffic. So, you know, attracting employees going forward is going to be very much about that what is your work life balance is going to look like? Can you go and sit and watch your son play soccer or cricket or rugby or tennis or the door to do ballet or the other way around? I guess. You know, will the companies allow that? Will it will it stop looking at at outcomes based, you know, results driven workforce rather than a time based workforce.

Ryan Purvis  10:44  
And I think there's it's a given take away there's gonna be days where you can't go watch the football game because you're, you're gonna meet him with that you have to be in a quiet place. We have to take notes, etc. But there are lots of meetings that are just you know, status updates or quick calls or catch ups with which you can You can do while you're watching your kid play, you know, whatever it is, whatever the sport is. But there's there's also this, I mean, that's integrated working, which, you know, almost allows a parent to go and spend three hours with his son or daughter on a sunny day. But then knowing that they'll work that night, because that's what suits them. And they can go in, they may need, you know, half an hour, not three hours to do the work. But because they've had a space with a child they in a better place to do the work more efficiently, more effectively. I don't know how you would measure that, which I think is half the problem. For a lot of the sort of old school mentioned types you are looking for the Apostle Paul Drucker, Peter Drucker, if you don't manage it, you can't measure it. Mine says,

Kieron van Rooyen  11:44  
you know, it's it's quite funny the one of the biggest buildings in Germany at the moment was designed specifically purpose built for a historical sort of an old departed company and and today, they Trying to sort of build this space that was very much against an internet very much sort of embodied what the news and work world looks like with consolidation spaces and networking spaces and you know, not just an office, they came in from seated offices into the actors open plan environment, and which is not great open plan is horrible. What these guys did was they put the they put the entire open plan facing the the managers office so each line manager could see this stuff. So they all they did was retain this mentality that if I couldn't see you, you obviously weren't working. So now they've got all these consolidations spaces and all collaborative spaces rather. And that don't get used because you know, the manager is still going on. I didn't see you You couldn't have been working. So now has gone back. Everything's only formal, we can only have a formal meeting because the manager knows it's in my calendar. So you know, the chance encounters and sort of just bumping into a person and having a conversation and sort of collaborate collaborating that way has died. They've grown in that business start off with.

Ryan Purvis  13:03  
Yeah, and that brings a big thing into which is trust. Because your best best ricardio people when they know that they're trusted, and they're trusted to make their own decisions, they enabled it say to make their own decisions and make mistakes and, and all the rest of it, rather than be manhandled or driven by the boss's desires on everything, so they'd become just a PowerPoint monkey. Yeah, you know,

Kieron van Rooyen  13:30  
we've, we've put interest at the forefront of what you should be expecting out of your employer when you return to work. Because, you know, it used to be just that trust my employee, employer, trust me to do what I need to do in a day's work, and doesn't sort of micromanage me as a result. But you know, the shifts not the other way around, do I earn trust? Do I trust my employer to make sure that my work is sanitary, that my best interests are looked after and that sort of thing. So and, and it's not just got to do with COVID it's got to do with mental health as well. And, you know, I trust that you've got my best interests at heart, I trust that you that you've kept the place sanitary and, you know, that's going to be a big decision that I think that a big sort of choice that people are going to make when looking at employment going forward.

Heather Bicknell  14:17  
Yeah, Karen, I know, I know, you touched on this in your during your webinar, but I think it'd be really interesting for our audience to hear kind of some of the things that in the property space, you know, might change. When offices do open up, I'd love to hear your perspective on, you know, whether your offices will open up to the same degree and then some of the changes that might be coming to our offices.

Kieron van Rooyen  14:41  
So I think I think some some offices will change some words, I think with some businesses where you actually just physically can't change the way you do business. So if you're a call center, the only thing you could possibly do is either have less people in your call center, or have a bigger call center right more space. So I think it will gradually that will go back to normal. I mean, they're limiting space at the moment. So they're saying we can only have X amount of people in a building, and that sort of thing, which is fine. My gut feel is that it will return to normal at some stage, but I think offices are going to have to look at and by normal, I mean, the normal that I expect it to be the normal, not necessarily the normal that everybody is implied. So things like like rotational workforces I think, are going to come become a thing. So people having to book their time in the office, so maybe reducing their space by 50%. And having 50% of the workforce constantly on rotation, you've got people that always have to be there. The receptionist can't answer the phone from home, it's just a thing. It's not possible. You know, your managing directors or CEO is always going to want to you know, need to be sort of protectable and things like that. But, um, you'll sell stuff. For example, if you've got 10 sales stuff, why do you need 10 desks, you maybe only need three or four, and it rotated them decide which days actually in the office Which days and not to move on from there. I think that and what something I'd like to see is a bigger usage of CO working spaces. So for example, you get a you get if you've got 10 people that live in the same area. So let's take, I have a company in Joburg and that maybe also does work in Cape Town, maybe all my cape town guys, and happened to live in C point, for example. So why can't they all be members of the same co working facility and C point where you give them a sort of a, you give them an allowance for a membership? And they sort of work from there instead of getting a formalized office. And they can then book their times around that and see clients in the instrument and that sort of thing. And, and also locally, like in Joburg. I mean, just because your offices on the west strand doesn't mean half your stuff live there. You know, they might be having horrible commutes to and from the office. So why can't they be somewhere in the east, for example, a complete opposite end of town. Why can't they be Members of CO working facility there. So, I think that sort of change will happen. I know recently here Standard Bank took a lot of space in a co working facility. So a coworking facility next to the main office, I stand corrected on the number but I think was 40 people that they had working in a co working facility. So for them, it's like going to the office anyways,

Ryan Purvis  17:20  
the same thing here when we, when we first first started with Harlow, we had a co working office and and it was tall floors dedicated to you know, large banks, loads, oil companies, etc. When they didn't have to worry about you know, fitting it out with the corporate stuff, they could just pay for the space for a year. They could have a desk and then once they got the salary and put the people they moved that office out and put them in a building that had been cleaned out. Now what's gonna happen now i don't know but that's what they would do. They used to have the flex. Yeah. Which was pretty good. The only thing that I found difficult with that co working piece had a really depends on which When you end up with is that if you are the king traveler, for example in Joburg, Cape Town, Moodle, what I used to do just to be Joburg to Dubai, you really wanted something that if you needed a meeting room or whatever it was like with with Regis, for example, you could have the gold card, and you could basically walk continually just center in the world, and you get one hour of each room 30 I think this body of membership is to have that little bit of flexibility to depending on what your needs are.

Kieron van Rooyen  18:29  
Well, yeah, I think companies are gonna have to start adjusting their employees remuneration to reflect them on a scenario anyways. And the other thing that I think they're gonna have to do is they should be doing a bit of an analysis of the employees living spaces and saying, okay, you are an employee that can work it out. You know, there's a lot of people that can't that's, I mean, it may be different in London or New York or anywhere else. But you know, in South Africa, we've got we've got massive disparity in people's income and living situations. So you've got massive disparity as people earning the same salary don't necessarily have the same means. So, so I think employees certainly here would have to look at the employees living conditions and say, Okay, well, you are a person that can work at home or No, you're not. And the people that can work at home, let them get set up. So help them and give them an allowance to get them set up to be able to work at home. And, you know, set them up with a reasonable desk, we're looking at some options. You know, we've we've had a desk design, in fact, that folds up into a bookshelf. So it literally You know, you're, if you lived in an apartment, you could quite easily have a functional working space that blocks away at night, which also adds to the security because that is a big concern with people working at home is going to be the protection of private information. And, you know, if you're an estate agent, for example, you take a lot of people's ID documents and things like that to do a an application and estate agents are very busy working home now there's a big risk that they lose A lose something along the way, you know, paper falls out in a parking lot some way or, you know, a, somebody's visiting them at home and happens to see somebody else's personal information and, and steals it. I mean, there's a lot of there's a lot of risks, I think companies are gonna have to do a bit of investigation into that as well. How you protect people's information if people are going to be working remotely. And the same is 100% true if you putting them in a co working space, right you and I discussed it a couple of days ago as well, the Internet Security when you're working remotely, you logging on to secure servers at an office is one thing and if you constantly logging in at a coffee shop or whatever the case may be, it's you know, how safe is it?

Ryan Purvis  20:44  
Now, I was thinking about that again, as you were saying that because you know even even though the the people here may have the means, but a lot of guys live in small apartments, especially in London. I mean to buy a decent apartment you're looking over a million pounds which is not necessary. They're really attainable for most people. So they don't actually have a working space. So what they would end up with is sitting downstairs at the nearest Starbucks or whichever brand they prefer. And it's so easy to sit next to someone and just watch what they're doing. Because most people don't wear skin but the dumping screen protectors on their devices, and they sit on the public Wi Fi, they don't use a VPN. You know, it's a paradise for a hacker, but it's not exactly hard work some of the times. So the just going back to the allowance thing, have you ever had any sort of customers talking about you in the staff now?

Kieron van Rooyen  21:35  
And we haven't we actually have partnered with another business here, who does space planning and design and foot out of offices. And we're looking at soon, we're just trying to find the right angle at launching a product where we will go into businesses and do exactly that. I think any business that's not doing it will be foolish. I mean, I looked into it 20 years ago, I owned a property brokerage Laws of shareholder bought netta property brokerage. And at that time, which was probably six, seven years ago, somewhere around there, it cost us 10,000 Rand per employee per disk. So if you just take some simple math there, and for example of a co working facility per month in South Africa costs 3000 Rand a month, that's for pretty good sort of contracted co working facility. So if you take an employee just without getting into complicated math, but if we make that assumption, if we and each, each employee takes around 10 square meters of space, so between 10 and 20, depending on what your allowances are, so if you all of a sudden took 10 you know 10 to reduce your space by 10 square meters per employee sent an employee to a co working facility, you effectively saving 7000 rent, I mean, the math gets a lot more complicated because it's different per company. But that's the basic theory. That's a radio setting.

Ryan Purvis  23:03  
Yeah. What do you say to kind of power potentially cleaning staff? Or

Kieron van Rooyen  23:07  
is this was loadings that make a difference? Exactly. So it's rental, it's rental per square meter. It's the purchasing of that desk. It's the rental of the phone line. It's the teas and coffees, the cleaning staff that are needed to clean extra and you know, any just add it all together, and it costs about that. Obviously, it's different purposes, but that's what it cost us in that business. So if we employed the same theory and just said, Guys, why don't we just take the whole business to a co working facility, we save 7000 Rand per employee, that that kind of stuff makes sense to me.

Ryan Purvis  23:42  
When especially we do some sort of hot desking. I mean, it would we would be the top desk in here in the UK and in all the banks that I've worked with, and we're going to say you're looking at ratios of, you know, one to two people who desk initially unless there's three or four then in some cases, it's 10 to one you're Making sure savings in the workforce because you you push it in home which are going to need any allowance for the home that they need.

Kieron van Rooyen  24:08  
Yeah, absolutely. So the global allowance in a co working space is 1.2 members per seat. That's the global average. Okay, we've done it. We've done a lot of research on this because we busy working with them with quite a big sports club. The same one I bumped into your parents at all the time.

They were busy looking at putting a co working facility in there with a

and extending the restaurant to be a little more sort of child friendly. And but we were looking at like a nearly 200 maybe co working facility, which will be based on lifestyle and all that something it's actually going to be exquisite if we ever get out of this lockdown and can build it, you know, in the club doesn't lose money over this period of time and can't afford it, which is the other problem. But in that research, that's what we found 1.2 members per seat. And sports club is amazing because they end up paying rental and that sort of thing.

Ryan Purvis  25:08  
And that'd be tied to major brands. So you feel these so if you were traveling you could use your,

Kieron van Rooyen  25:15  
your Well, I tell you whether I tell you what I would like to do you know, that particular Sports Club has got reciprocity all over the world. So what I would like to do is tie it to the sports clubs that they have reciprocity with, and this would be the first place we would test it, in which case if you were a member of the sports club anywhere in the world, you could go into there, we have considered tying it up. But the reality is the brand's Yeah, I mean, you've got your Aegis, which has kind of changed its name and our business connection or something like that. And you've got we work. And then and then for us, it's largely localized. So we've got one sets and workshops 17 for example, it has a number of them around South Africa with it's definitely an option, but I've been wanting to for some time potentially partner with a bank. Okay, yeah. And he says, You don't go to one of the banks and say, why don't you use this as a perk on your, on your better banking facilities, you know, you're just your, your entry level check card, don't worry about that. But your private, private clients, and why not offer them this sort of membership so that they can, you know, go and win it wherever and then open up your own one. So, like the slow lounge in the airports. And you know, and they had, I don't know if you ever went too slow in the city in Sandton, which is effectively the same thing. It was a business lounge. But in the middle of sentence, it's just outside the train station. And sentence consented. And for me, that's a that would be a great sort of offering for the bank to say, I mean, I don't know what the banks and the rest of the world are doing. But yeah, Surely it's certainly it's, it is sort of who can offer the best perks. There's no loyalty anymore. You know, your bank manager. So why stick with a bank, that's just because you were there first.

Ryan Purvis  26:58  
There's a very slow, I mean, you You do have a lot of competition, but there's not much movement. And I'm just thinking now if you have to have that, that secure conversation, and you can go into your bar, your bank over there, you walk in, and you can go sit in a private room for half an hour. That's part of your perks. I mean, I think that would be useful, because it's definitely enough buildings around the city that would help with that. That's often what you find that is your challenges. Sometimes the operating hours aren't going to be suit aren't going to be great. But you're gonna see what it will be potential.

Kieron van Rooyen  27:27  
Well imagine, imagine, you know, because now banking is becoming an internet sort of scenario, right? People aren't really going to the branch anymore. So what happens if now if Now guys, banks say we've got this huge commitment on physical real estate anyways, we've bought it. We can't just move out of these leases. If anybody can afford to pay the leases all the time. It's us as the bank you would assume, right? But nobody's coming into these branches, so they're not turning over. You know, they're not making any money anymore. So why don't we offer take these branches I'm basically in good good locations, good shopping centers, things like that. I mean, because I think that's the next best thing co working in shopping centers has got to be you know, there's so big Taylor's closing down at the moment. What are you going to do with those spaces there's no big retailers opening up. I had this conversation with one of the listed companies the other day. I said to them, you know, especially with restaurants at the moment, if you don't all take the take a bar here, all of you and I'm talking the restaurant and the owner if they don't both take a bath and not opening it opening up again. And I can tell you there's not restaurants waiting. I mean, you'd be a fool if you said straight off to COVID cheese, all I want to do is open a restaurant that that markets intimates not going to be great. She don't really you know, folks waiting in the wings to open them and the same is true for the big guys that are closing down. I can state you had Sears. I mean here we've had, we looks like a con word open up again. Those are big spaces. Those guys take up 5000 or squeeze at a time you know 12,000 at a time and you don't just have retail As lining up to folder spaces, what do you do with them? What to do something offices aren't aren't going to be sought after now either. So from a real estate point of view, what do you do? You've got to think creatively about your spaces, you're going to have to find best use scenarios you're going to have to be sitting going, how can we use these spaces better? What else can they be used for? What are they zoned for? Look into the zonings and see where you can change them. You know, does this remain an office or can it be turned into because I think the next big thing is going to be a co living scenario. Right where you kind of got like, almost like University dorms and you know where you just you rent a room and then all the rest of the facilities are shared. So there's big shared kitchens and and things like that. So you've got a room with a fridge and and you come out and cook and alarms that shared and maybe office spaces that you can book downstairs and that sort of thing. I think that's going to take off because space is going to be you know, we can't afford space in most of the big cities anyways, like you said, a million bucks for a million pounds for an apartment in London. That's unattainable for most wealthy people, huh?

Heather Bicknell  30:03  
Yeah, I guess I mean, I know you know another thing from the webinar that sort of caught my attention was this idea of digital togetherness. You can talk about the micromanagement component of wanting people to be in the office or like seeing work being done. But I think there's also this idea to that we kind of as a as a species have a need to connect in person and how the and only operating digitally doesn't satisfy that.

Kieron van Rooyen  30:31  
I think from a from a not that I'm a neuroscientist, I've mentioned a lot of neuroscience things. But you know, it's more from a, from a reading point of view than an actual sort of look at me, I know my stuff. But we do, we're a social, we're a social species. We need people we have to be within with people. I read a study the other day that showed that children that could have more, turn off more intelligent And we need that and I think it's got to do with not necessarily that it increases it brainpower but they're probably they're probably they're probably learned better. And because they nurtured and cared for and socialized and that sort of thing. So yeah, we definitely need people it's not we can't we can't go on just being a remote workforce that's never gonna. And you know, that's why I mentioned earlier doing a rotational stuff. And, you know, having staff up to when they come into the office and I've looked, there's some people who happily just lock themselves in their house and never see the people that work with, but they still going to want to see friends and family and things like add, I mean, we have to see people it's just that is a that is a non negotiable. And I mean, think about what is the biggest punishment that you can possibly get for anything you've done on this planet, you do something really horrible is to punishment that they consider terrible. The first one is death, which we don't really do in this. In most civilized world. We don't just put people to death. For transcriptions, but the next one is solitary confinement. Yeah, if you really want to punish a person, take them away from people. And then we close down the entire world and did that.

Ryan Purvis  32:12  
Yeah, your writing we had, we saw some friends over the weekend, give me the social distance. But it was just just having them physically there to talk to and catch up on. I mean, it's quite weird to see a mate that you don't get to hit, you know, shake your hand and give a hug to whatever it is. But that's that's the part that's missing. Right. And I think you're right, that's, that's on that you can find that feeling. It's not a good one. We need we need interactive situations. But I do wonder with this the shift working thing. I think someone else mentioned that as well. You know, you end up with with people already seeing the same people will talk to you. So you have to have some sort of randomization in there as well. So

Kieron van Rooyen  32:55  
yeah, I'm not suggesting that you tell people what this shift is. I'm suggesting you say to people, guys, when you come into the office, you're going to have to book a space. So plan your meetings and in and around, you know, seeing this person seeing that person when you need to be in the office book your space for the day. So it's going to self randomize and effect that people aren't just gonna always have the same meetings with the same person. So yeah, and I'm not suggesting say, okay, Bob, you and Sue can work from five till seven. Then from seven to eight, we kind of have Janine and Keith and you know, and that sort of thing i'm i'm suggesting saying guys, we don't have space in our office for 100% of you, only 50% of the company can be at a time so book your spaces accordingly. If we get to a point where that's not working and we need to take on more space then we will or we relook at how we do that and we relook at how meetings are had you know, maybe then we maybe then we say guys okay, certain meetings will only happen digitally but you know, cuz realistic The 20 seat of boardroom at the moment has become a 10 seater. So what do you do? If you need a 20 seat meeting for 20? People? Well, you've got no choice now you can't go sit in that room.

So it's interesting.

Ryan Purvis  34:14  
Yeah. I mean, we had a thing. We because we have to face for working, and you weren't supposed to serve the same desk every day. That was a theory, at least, although people do become quite territorial. Yeah. You come in and you book your desk, and then people know where you are based on that day, and they can sort of search you and then there's, there's a desktop notification that tells you their family for Ryan's desk. And so he's in building five today, for one desk, whatever it is. But I think he almost needs to get a little bit more mature to the point that says, everyone has the same app on their phone. So I need to go to the office this week is this base for that, and it's going to be real time because if there's a space opening up and they know they can go there It's fully booked and stuff. Yeah. But also I need to see, you know, Joe Schmo and whoever it is, are they going to be in the office? Because they almost plan, you know, is that network of all I need to see these guys? Are they in the office? Oh, they're there on Tuesday. Okay, I'll come in on Tuesday and get 50% of my face to face meetings done. I'll come back on Friday because that's the other 50% or, you know, very, very simplistic. But it's the same also going to the shops, you know, if I'm going to go past the local shops or supermarket I want to know if it's high empathy or food is because it's almost always for shopping.

Kieron van Rooyen  35:35  
Well, what could happen in retail, as they say, you only allowed X amount of people in a store at a time so now retailers might be forced to increase the size of their footprint. You know, if you only let X amount of people per square meter, you want to you want to achieve the same numbers, you're gonna have to increase your store sizes, and you can't afford to pay more rental because you're not making more income than you were before. So landlords gonna have to take a hit for the first time in history, I'd say property is not necessarily a great place to have your money.

Ryan Purvis  36:05  
No, but I think I think like you mentioned about humans needing humans, I think that's always going to drive it. And as much as as much as we found that working remotely works for most people, they still need to have face to face time. I still think people come in airplanes and go and see, you know, colleagues and other countries and they may do it less now because, you know, IT companies may not have the cash flow, or it's been proven you don't need to, but I still think you need that. If you haven't met someone before and you can you can you have the ability to go and see them face to face first. You can do all your other meetings over video and voice,

Kieron van Rooyen  36:40  
of course.

Ryan Purvis  36:42  
Is there any way that you want to be connected to LinkedIn or something like that, that people can follow up with you directly or would you like to come through us?

Kieron van Rooyen  36:49  
And I'm happy for people to come through you. It's not a not a train smash in my lap. I mean, you and I have known each other long enough,

Ryan Purvis  36:57  
fair enough. Thanks very much.

Kieron van Rooyen  37:01  
Yeah, but thank you. Thank you. Meet you, in this sort of very disjointed way. Actually, we're not what I've got is a screen that says HB.

Heather Bicknell  37:11  
Yeah. Just a set of initials. Yeah. And I'm in the US. So we're all spread out spread all over the globe.

Kieron van Rooyen  37:18  
Just pretty cool. Actual. Absolutely. I mean, that was one of the things I spoke about, right. The fact that our other boundaries in terms of who we can do business with is no longer no longer based on our physical geography, but more our time zones. Mm hmm. That's a whole nother conversation and a whole nother thing to be doing left on at some stage.

Ryan Purvis  37:37  

Kieron van Rooyen  37:38  
Super cool. All right. Well,

Ryan Purvis  37:41  
thank you, Jesse. I thank you for listening. Today's episode of The Big Nose our producer, editor. Thank you, Heather. for your hard work on this episode. Please subscribe to the series and ratings on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at WWE. Cast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website www digital workspace works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace works and subscribe to a newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues

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Kieron van RooyenProfile Photo

Kieron van Rooyen

Managing Director and Property Strategist at Turnkies

Kieron has extensive knowledge and experience in property strategy. Using property science, analytics and market research, Kieron has assisted clients from listed property funds, to emerging retailers with building effective property strategies. During his involvement with the Gauteng Chapter of the South African Council of Shopping Centres, Kieron lead the team responsible for creating a leasing standard document for the industry. He also spent a number of years overseeing teams responsible for the design and building of retail outlets.