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Oracle's new Joburg office ready for workforce of the future

Lauren Kate Rawlins
By Lauren Kate Rawlins, ITWeb digital and innovation contributor.
Johannesburg, 15 Apr 2019
The new Oracle building in Woodmead, Johannesburg.
The new Oracle building in Woodmead, Johannesburg.

Enterprise software company Oracle has opened a new building in South Africa that has been designed to accommodate the demands of the workforce of the future.

The building is in Woodmead, Johannesburg, close to its old offices, and the entire Oracle workforce will move across to the new premises this month.

Derek Bose, Oracle country manager for applications in SA and SADC, says one of the driving motivators for the new building was creating a space to retain and attract talent.

"We want to attract the best talent in the country, and the best talent demands a workspace that talks to them. We also see a huge shift to mobile working, and this building is bespoke and custom-designed to allow for that kind of fluid, mobile working environment.

"The work areas are designed to entice employees when they come in when they need to, have the type of interactions they need, do the work they need to do, but also feel comfortable.

"These are things we hear when we interview new candidates or talk to existing employees."

Bose says the building was also built to enhance collaboration.

"This is an investment in the future of our employees, customers and partners. We see this as the inflection of the next phase of Oracle in SA. We have been here for almost two decades, and on the continent three decades.

"We see this as raising the bar in terms of everything we do, and we want to use it as that."

Around 200 staff members come into the building daily, but this can increase to over 300 as some are based remotely and come in irregularly, and others travel regularly to clients.

Employees were involved from the beginning, being asked what they wanted and needed from their new office space. All feedback was considered; everything from the amount of writing space on walls to brainstorm, to the ergonomics of furniture that encourages collaboration.

"The buildings we worked in 10 or 20 years ago don't have that type of appeal. I really believe customers will love the experiences in this building. I think they will really feel not only the modern view but also see the local connection, and that we are an inclusive workspace where everybody feels comfortable," says Bose.

The building has a wellness room where staff can go when they need to take time out, and an interfaith prayer room. The basement has parking bays for electric vehicles and racks for bicycles. There is also a gym that all employees can take advantage of at any time during the day.

Artwork from local young artists adorns the walls and celebrates Johannesburg and SA.

The new Oracle building can house more than 300 employees, customers and partners.
The new Oracle building can house more than 300 employees, customers and partners.

Going green

The new office has a four-star green rating, and the firm hopes to change that to a five-star rating soon. This means it has been designed to efficiently conserve energy and massively reduce waste.

The working areas do not have bins; there are instead waste separation containers on every floor.

The canteen kitchen works on gas only; the water is heated through a hot water pump not a geyser. The canteen will not use plastic cutlery or straws.

The building has double-glazed windows and a slightly higher ceiling on the second floor in order to manage the heat inside and minimise the use of the aircon and HVAC systems.

There is a movement sensor on all the floors, which only switches on the lights in occupied areas.

Solar panels on the roof help reduce dependence on Eskom and an attenuation pond catches rain water for use in landscaping.

The company would not say how much the new building cost but notes it is part of a global standardisation of offices by Oracle.

It says the new space shows its continued investment in SA and commitment to the African continent.

Oracle hopes the new SA headquarters will become the flagship building in the EMEA region.