Working from The Bureaux – Shared Work Habitats

by Karisa

So last week, I forced myself to get out of my PJs for one day to go and work from The Bureaux at the Woodstock Exchange (66 Albert Rd).  Shared working spaces are quite the trend all over the world at the moment and here in Cape Town I’ve heard of a few that’s popped up.

The Bureaux specifically got my attention because I love how Woodstock has become this huge hub of creativity and excitement, and I’m already a big fan of The Woodstock Exchange.  The idea of working alongside so many other creatives and small business owners is also definitely a big draw card for me.  I mean think about it… You need some printing done?  There’s likely someone right there who can help you.  Need a designer?  He/she is probably just down the passage.  What could be easier than that?

Now the main goal of The Bureaux is to provide anyone from freelancers to start ups and SMEs with flexible working space options to suit their specific needs.  In essence you could possibly start as a one man (or woman) show, just needing a desk of your own.  Then as your business grows, you start hiring some people to form part of your team and you book out a few extra desks next to each other in a corner somewhere.  With even more growth, you might start thinking that it’s time for your very own office space, and then you can simply upgrade to a private office suite.  It really is that simple, no upfront expensive commitments, as you grow your space can grow with you.

I don’t know about you guys, but I really love that idea.

Then there are also lots of cost savings.  Firstly with their month-to-month contact options, you don’t have to commit to a big lease agreement upfront with the risk of your situation perhaps changing and then being stuck with the monthly rental payments until the lease is up.  They also provide desks, lighting, power supply, internet (Wifi), kitchen facilities, bathroom facilities, and access to meeting room facilities.  The only extra costs are the following:

  • If you’re a higher-than-usual internet bandwidth user, then you might have to pay a little extra for top up data packages once you reach your limit which is set at 5GB of high speed (30-40Mib/sec) per desk and
    20GB per private office suite.
  • And then parking:  Parking  is available at 80 Albert Road in an open parking lot with security from 8am-5pm, and after hour parking is available from 5pm underground on the Bureaux premises.  Parking costs start from R300 p/m.

So, with that all out of the way, let’s look at some pictures.  Curator and owner Greg Beadle was kind enough to give me the grand tour:

I was situated in The Gallery which is a sharing space for artists, accountants, authors and the likes.

The Corner Office (top & bottom left) – another shared space next to The Gallery; And then The Showroom (bottom right) is where wholesalers/sales reps/distributors can show their goods. It’s currently being used by a fashion buyer.

The Back Office – a specialised space for design & production-focused companies

Now as far as pricing goes, the cheapest option is a floating desk at around R750 per month.  That means you don’t get a dedicated desk, you’re just planning on popping in a couple of times a week and you’re not too fussed about sitting in the same spot each time, but you’ll still get access to all shared facilities and the Wifi of course.  Then if you do want your very own desk, those options start from R1500 per month.  They supply the desk, the Wifi, the cleaning, electricity, etc and you simply need to bring your own chair of choice and whatever other office supplies you need to personalise your space.  Each office space also comes with it’s own little kitchen area and there are bathrooms and meeting rooms on each floor.

Then we headed upstairs to The Observatory.  These are the penthouse suites baby – ideal for SMEs requiring an office suite that is both private & lockable.  On this floor all offices also have access to shared kitchen facilities as well as boardrooms which can be booked out for presentations, meetings, etc.  These office suites come with great views and range between around R6500 and R8500 per month.  Considering that it’s an all inclusive price which covers the space, electricity, water, security & cleaning, I really thought it’s a good deal.  Also, you have the freedom to fill out your space any which way you please.  You’ll see a few example of what people have done below:

As you head back downstairs and more towards the back of the Exchange, there’s a few more shared spaces.  What I really liked about these were that they were a bit more hidden, which meant they were quieter in general.  Where I was sitting in The Gallery you’re above the hub of the Exchange, so you do get some noise filtering in.  I like complete peace & quiet when I work.  But I do understand that other people like the background noise and being closer to the action.  It’s gonna come down to what your personal preference is really.  For me, I quite liked these spaces:

The Project Room

The Engine Room – which comes with it’s own awesome lounge & chill out space….

And then this is a new space called Tailor-Made  in the vicinity of The Engine Room… the exciting thing is that owner Greg is always on the lookout for new spaces he can convert. So if you spot a nicer area, you can simply asked to be moved over.

 For more info on the different spaces do click on over here

I loved that the spaces all had a really nice modern feel to them.  All the areas get lots of natural light coming in, it’s tastefully decorated, and it’s a serious working space without being too serious (if you know what I mean).  I also checked out one of the bathrooms which was probably one of my highlights of the day:

Somebody’s watching you…

I ended up having a quick lunch at one of my favourite spots, Superrette – that’s another plus about working in the hood.  You have so many eateries right there or just down the road…

Now, let’s recap shall we:

  • Pricing structure:
    – Allocated personal workspace on a monthly basis: from R1 500 per month
    – Private office suites: from R6 500 per month
    – No complicated, lengthy lease agreements, flexible options suitable for those who need short term spaces or who travel, etc.  You can choose to rent on a month-to-month basis, a short term or longer term.
    – For the shared spaces, you pay one months deposit together with your first months rent. This deposit becomes your last months rent once you give notice to leave.  For the private office suites there is a 3 month notice period.
  • Rental includes:
    – Access to shared meeting, training and focus rooms
    – Electricity, water, cleaning, security and super-fast Internet services
  • Other bonus points?
    – Discounted coffees from Rosetta Roastery
    – Close proximity to various design shops, creatives and more.
    – Close proximity to eateries & cafes like Superette, Ocean Jewels Seafood & The Field Office
    – And with so many other businesses under one roof, the networking and trade exchange opportunities are endless.  Check out the impressive list of companies that have already found their home at The Bureaux over here.

Now to get in touch and maybe get a little tour for yourself if you’re interested in renting a space, either complete the contact form over here OR contact Greg Beadle on +27833253322

I really love this concept, it’s something I’d personally consider, and I’m sure they’re just going to just keep growing and growing.  Thanks for the tour Greg & for having me invade your space for the day.




Ronald Aug 13, 2014 - 1:13 pm

I’ve also been looking at shared spaces seeing as I also work from home. Found a funky place here in Brisbane as well ->
Will see what happens when their other place opens. Will be nice to meet other people

Karisa Aug 13, 2014 - 3:20 pm

Very cool 🙂 It’s the way of the future, for sure.

Gugu_A1 Aug 16, 2014 - 6:26 pm

This is great for people who want to start up or who just wanna save up on costs, I love this.

Karisa Aug 17, 2014 - 10:02 am

Yeah, agreed. Such a great concept.


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