Progress at our new office in Parkhurst is slow but steady and, with the onset of spring, we are looking forward to developing and using our new garden. Marloes Reinink tells us more.

With the third wave of COVID raging through Gauteng, it feels as if going back to the office is never going to happen. This has had an impact on our office culture as we were so used to communicating face to face. And working as a team from our office was always great as we had such a nice space to work from. But now the number of office parties is down, Friday afternoon drinks no longer exist, and we miss the coffee chats. We stay in touch with weekly WUDDLES (Work Huddles), but these are nothing like catching up at our Monday morning breakfasts.

Quite a lot has changed since our last update in May. We have installed glass window and door panes to reduce noise nuisance from the road, and to keep the winter chill out. The floor was also still unfinished and, as it was getting colder, we had to do something quickly as the concrete was not very comfortable. With tight budgets, we looked for options.

I had done some research into green flooring options and the ultimate green option would be linoleum (not to be confused with vinyl). Linoleum is made of linseed oil and is therefore a renewable material. This product has a bad branding as hospital flooring but a lot has changed over the years and there are some attractive linoleum products available on the market including a liquid version! However, we decided on a more budget-wise option with the intention of installing our linoleum floor sometime in the future.

We opted for a B-grade carpet option (a carpet which has some manufacturing faults and cannot be sold). We worked with the Belgotex Foundation to find a woman-owned business to install the carpet in our office, thus contributing to the development of a women entrepreneur. Theresa Noluthando of Tamto Dimazana Investments was great and it was a pleasure to work with her. We were obliged to work with the available faulty carpet, but are now happy with our new black, red and blue flooring tiles. Something different from our standard approach to green. 🙂

The large sliding doors on the office’s north side open onto a sizeable garden area, and this really does make a huge difference. There is one big evergreen tree which gives shade throughout the year – great in summer! And a porch that receives the winter sun and warms you up in between meetings. We are working on a WIFI extender, which will allow us to take conference calls in the garden, as it is usually so much nicer to sit outside. In the medium- to long-term, we will need to think of a heating solution in the office for winter. Although, at the moment, it’s not an issue as there are not many people in the office at any given time and we have placed desks next to the windows – the sun is the greenest heater.

We are currently working on making the garden “spring” ready by getting rid of building rubble that had mixed with the soil, and enhancing the soil with compost. We are creating a summer hangout spot and a winter sunspot, so we can move through the garden as the seasons change. Obviously, there is going to be a veggie patch and some fruit trees. We discovered a beautiful orange tree in the garden. However, the tree did not get enough sunlight to produce sweet oranges but, by trimming the larger tree, we created more sunlight for it.

I cannot wait till spring comes and life becomes a bit more green again!

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