RESEARCH Surveys, one of South Africa’s leading market research in the listed Adcorp Group, is set to relocate its Cape Town head office after saving thousands of rand and hundreds of man-hours in a carefully planned selection process. Research Surveys will take 3 500m2 in Compustat House, a double-storey office block in Newlands.
“Research Surveys has grown rapidly over the past 20 years,” says CEO Henry Barenblatt. “The question was, what do you do when your company eventually spreads its offices over several different buildings, ranging from grand Victorian buildings to more modern cottages.? We felt we were losing potential synergies because of the dispersed nature of our staff and the lack of meeting around the mythical office water-cooler.”
Faced with a mix-and-match collection of premises in Kloof Street, Gardens and Claremont, and inundated by proposals from almost every property broker in the market to consolidate their premises, Research Surveys was faced with a dilemma – how to separate the apples from the lemons in a marketplace they didn’t deal with every day.
The company mandated the Corporate Real Estate Services (CRES) division of Old Mutual Properties to find new premises.
Viv Delbridge of CRES says the team first surveyed the needs of management and staff at Research Surveys, before embarking on and exhaustive analysis of more than 100 properties and developments that might suit the burgeoning needs of the company. A tight short-list of buildings was presented, and decision makers at Research Surveys then had only a small number of properties to view and review.
Although it’s an Old Mutual initiative, CRES does not bind itself to buildings managed by Old Mutual Properties.
“We seek the best solutions for the tenant, ” Delbridge says, “and if that solution happens to be in a building owned by another company, then so be it. CRES does what’s best for its client, the occupier. And the best building in this case required significant effort to nail down. We had to negotiate for an existing tenant to make way for Research Surveys and for significant remodelling to appropriately reflect their corporate image and provide the type of space that would best suit a team-based means of operating.”
Barenblatt agrees that the space a business occupies has an important impact on productivity.
“Having all of our departments under one roof will improve communication, cross-functional productivity and shared learning immensely. That’s worth an enormous amount in an idea-intensive industry like the research field.”
Wall and Smith Property Consultants were able, with the brief from Viv Delbridge, to find a building that satisfied the client needs. Keeping knowledge workers happy can be trying, but the premises Research Surveys are moving into has staff amenities like banks, doctors, convenience retail and public transport all within easy walking distance.
ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN SEPTEMBER 2001 | CAPE TIMES