It’s official – Capetonians are heading back to the office, according to traffic data and company leaders who say "it’s time to get back to work".
Towards the end of last year, traffic into town on the N2 highway increased for four consecutive months, according to i-TRAFFIC, a traveller information service provided by the South African National Roads Agency.
Records of morning traffic from 06h00 to 09h00 show that the number of vehicles increased by almost 13 % between August and November 2021, with 285 551 cars entering town during August and peaking at 434 573 in November, according to the I-Traffic Transport Management Centre.
Boxwood Properties has encouraged 98 % of its staff to be vaccinated.
WORKERS RETURN TO THEIR DESKS
Investec Private Bank has encouraged its workforce to return to their desks, with a hybrid working policy of “two days at home, three in the office,” said Investec Director Julian Leibman. Investec SA employees need to be vaccinated or present a recent negative Covid-19 test to access premises or interact with clients.
Grant Elliot, COO of Thibault Investments said he supported the fact that 100 % of the company’s staff were back in the office.
“It is time for workers to get back to work,” said Michael Bauer, Managing Director of SAProperty.com. “All our staff are back full-time.”
Samantha Lambert, Redefine Properties’ General Manager: Coastal said teams were back in the office, “in line with our remote working policy”.
Rob Kane, chairperson of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District and CEO of Boxwood Property Fund, which owns seven buildings in the CBD, said it was apparent that office workers were returning to their desks.
He attributed this to higher vaccination rates and staff wanting to feel like a valued part of an organisation.
An atrium in The Felix, a Boxwood Property Fund development, allows office workers to spend time in a relaxed environment.
“Boxwood has been able to encourage 98 % of our 100 staff and more than 400 contractors to get vaccinated, and this ‘Covid barrier’ is indeed a boon to people feeling safer in the office environment,” Kane said.
Boxwood’s tenant office workers and contractors who are double-vaccinated are entered into a monthly draw to stand a chance of winning R10 000.
“Internationally, companies are recording record numbers of resignations after staff said they experienced mental health issues and burn-out. Returning to the office and being in a healthier work environment will ensure that this trend remains low in South Africa,” Kane said.
Open-air dining in Bree Street, an initiative of business owners to reinvigorate the CBD economy.
REINVIGORATE THE CBD ECONOMY
Several initiatives are underway to continue revitalising the CBD and bringing business back, such as the successful open street, open-air dining experiences in Long and Bree streets, held by the City of Cape Town in partnership with restaurants.
“Not only are these outdoor, pavement dinners safer during the pandemic, but they are playing a role in encouraging economic recovery and greater footfall in the CBD,” Kane said.
IMAGES: CCID, Boxwood Property Fund