Breeze your way through the trendy interiors of Cube Workspace’s new, dynamic office spaces with MD Wayne Windell as he tells us how came back to South Africa with incredible international experience and is now building a business with serious intentions of going global
For a ‘now or never’ offshore experience, at 26 Wayne Windell packed his bags as a junior partner at PKF and left South Africa with his wife. Thriving on the travel element, he spent seven fast-paced and exciting years working abroad in various strategic roles in cities such as Sydney, Calgary and London and gained extensive international experience with the opportunity of interacting with many high-calibre professionals from various countries and cultures.
His last role in the corporate world was as Global Financial Controller for Worley Parsons in Sydney, and then he decided it was time to take his young family back to Cape Town to be closer to family. He made a conscious decision to land his next career leap in a growing company where he could grow with the company and take it to the next level.
At the same time, interior designer and serial entrepreneur Anthony Manas also happened to be searching for someone to fit the role of managing director for his new, budding company called Cube Workspace. Through his CA(SA) designation and international exposure, Wayne Windell effortlessly ticked all the boxes.
‘When Anthony brought me on board the reason why he wanted someone like me was because he wanted Cube to be scalable. He wanted us to be able to replicate what we are doing and to be able to take it offshore and to grow our dominant presence in South Africa. Being a CA(SA) with a corporate background I am able to do just that,’ says Wayne.
‘We just saw eye to eye right from the start. As an interior designer, he excels in what he enjoys doing in terms of the design, and the look and feel of all our workspaces. Once the fit out is done and it’s ready to be filled with potential clients is when I come on board and build the teams, the operations, and run with it. So it works very well.’
Right from the start Anthony told Wayne it’s crucial for them both to look at the long-term objectives of Cube Workspace and actually agree on them, and then break it down to the short term. If not, there would be constant arguments and misalignment because one would home in on the petty and lose focus of the big picture. And more importantly, it will adversely affect the way employees perform because they will sense the negativity.
‘And if you lose your good people, the people who are supporting you in achieving your goals,’ says Wayne, ‘you’re not going to succeed. So it’s incredibly important that we agree on the big picture vision of the organisation.’
Having been a successful interior designer for 20 years in Jo’burg, Anthony Manas launched his first serviced office space in Kyalami just three years ago. Since Wayne Windell has come on board, they have already gone on to launch their fifth Cube Workspace. Already engaging with potential investors, they have their eyes fixed on Mauritius for the next and first international launch in 2017.
Wayne has stepped into exactly where he was wanted because the serviced office industry is a dynamic and fast-growing industry, not only in South Africa but internationally. And from his energy, you can tell he thoroughly loves what he is doing.
WHERE WORKSTYLE MEETS LIFESTYLE
Trendy, creative and full of inspiration are features that bring to life the modern working interiors of Cube Workspace.
‘It’s dressed so that you don’t need to do anything to the office space. It’s literally just coming to work and plugging in your desktop or laptop,’ says Wayne.
Wayne prides himself on being able to offer their clients the superior levels of service with the ease of literally coming into an office fully furnished with desks, Internet, IT support, telephone lines, and even a receptionist. They even go so far as to offer the occasional networking event with for their clients, and they are asking for more.
Cube Workspace’s mantra ‘Where workstyle meets lifestyle’ promotes a healthy work-life balance. ‘We understand that you are coming to work because you have to,’ explains Wayne. ‘But what we want to incorporate is the lifestyle element. All our workspaces have health-conscious cafés where you can sit down and have a cup of coffee served by our in-house barista, and can engage and network with other people. At our Kyalami workspace we have a gym and our Bryanston workspace has a flat top roof where you can socialise.’
Another of Cube’s differentiators is their flexibility. A client may love the space but if they look at it and they envisage something a little bit different, Wayne will work at it so they get their perfect office layout.
‘If someone comes in and says can you give me an office in that corner and can I have a little boardroom over here or can I have a tea and coffee station over there, we will create that for them. We are flexible because we have a construction team ready to put up dry walling and glass petitioning so it’s not necessarily what you see is what you get.’
Wayne says even big businesses are nowadays looking for the option of not having to be tied to a five-year lease with your traditional landlord. Cube Workspace boasts a broad spectrum of clients, from start-up entrepreneurs to big international corporates.
Even globally this is still a fairly new market. Recently Wayne and his partner, Anthony, were in the UK for a co-working and serviced office space conference and they were ecstatic to realise that what they are doing here is definitely on par with what is being done globally, and possibly there are things they are doing better.
Two major challenges Wayne has experienced are cash flow and human resources. He says: ‘At Cube Workspace, which has grown rapidly over the last three years, we have injected all our spare cash into growth, which impacts our bottom line and our ability to obtain funding from financial institutions. Even though our growth has resulted in a larger geographical footprint and increased revenue, the bottom-line profit seems to be what financial institutions are most concerned with. Therefore a bank manager that understands your specific industry and buys into the growth strategy and vision for the company is paramount to managing cash flow, especially if you plan on continued growth.’
Says Wayne: ‘Human resources is another major challenge in that as an SME you often can’t afford large salaries and therefore have to try to attract good people to your organisation in another way. We have chosen to do so through building a brand which potential employees are excited by and want to be a part of.’
ON A MORE PERSONAL NOTE
Wayne is married to Natalie, who is also a CA(SA), and whom Wayne describes as a fantastic and incredibly supportive wife and partner. They have two children: a son Kai, who is 5 years old and whom Wayne loves watching as he matures and grows every day, and his daughter Emily, 3, whom he describes as a whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm.
‘With your dreams, visions and belief in a brand and of being successful professionally, it is very easy to lose sight of your personal success. With a corporate job you have the structure, therefore you know you need to work from 8 am to 5 pm and may have to work overtime. It makes it easier to structure your private life within those confines. With an entrepreneurial-type company, however, it takes a lot more of your time and energy and you don’t have that structure necessarily in place. So it becomes a lot more challenging to focus on your private space,’ says Wayne.
‘What I’ve realised is that as an entrepreneur you never really take off that business hat, so you need to make time for things that are important to you whether it’s family, a regime of running, or a hobby. But it’s incredibly important that you do make time for that.’
Author: Lynn Grala