Noelle Moonsamy is a Quantity Surveyor working across several countries in Africa. She believes it is important for workplace design trends to be sustainable, and not simply a reactive layout to the current pandemic. Noelle would like to see more personalization in the workplace so that employees are keen to return to a workplace that will allow flexibility and choices.
How did you start your career in the property industry?
I started in a property development residential company in 2011, taking on both the consulting and construction components of Quantity Surveying.
What does your role at Profica entail?
I focus on Cost Execution and Cost Management of the design and build projects in the Occupier Services region for South Africa and certain countries in Africa.
What are the workplace solutions trends you’re seeing in your region?
Working with remote teams has become the new normal. We are changing the purpose of office spaces around socialization, and seeing more flexibility with regards to working hours and more understanding towards specific needs of employees. There is more focus on employee health and wellbeing, and more personalization in the workplace so that employees are keen to return to the workplace that will allow flexibility and choices.
Practically, we are using far more touchless technology, such as touchless screening or touchless entrance into buildings. Workplace design trends must be sustainable, and not simply reactive layout to the current pandemic.
We’re seeing a move to more collaboration between different organizational departments to try and synchronize digitally on a single platform. There is also a prioritization of privacy data as we become more digital.
What, in your view, is critical advice you would share for a client wanting to optimise their workplace?
It’s important to personalise the space – work is a home away from home and employees want to feel connected. Find ways to encourage safe socialising, so that teams are not divided into silos.
Plants, open windows, and good ventilation create a positive environment.
Brightness and the clever use of lighting can also create a more relaxed environment.
How would you like to see the industry change in the next ten years?
I would love to see all built environments collaborating on one single platform to increase the workflow information between different stakeholders. A great example is BIM 360 and BIM Collaborate. BIM Collaborate is cloud-based design collaboration and co-ordination software that connects AEC teams, helping you to execute on design intent and deliver high-quality constructible models on a single platform.
What are your comments on women working in our industry?
As more and more women join the construction industry things are certainly changing – from adjusted PPE wear tailored for women, to creating mother rooms in office spaces. We do not just wear our construction hats, but also many other hats, such as wife and mum, and we learn to work around the complexity of different daily tasks. Working in the construction industry makes you feel valuable as we are changing people’s quality of life through the spaces that we design and build. We are creating positive atmospheres which is a very rewarding profession.
What are your observations on growing local talent?
South Africa has a wealth of growing talent. I do believe we have the best quality when it comes to specialist joinery items, flooring products and wall finishes. My absolute favourite thing about local talent is the amazing fabrics, beadwork and crafted items that bring so much local flavour to any space when incorporated into design.
What is your favourite part of working at Profica?
The beating of the Profica drums! We have a ritual to beat the drums whenever we have new wins, practical completions on projects and for birthdays. Beating the Profica drums displays our moment of victory.
What really motivates and inspires you?
Finding creative ideas to work smarter instead of harder enables me to enjoy the task at hand.
What do you believe you think you’re good at, outside of work?
I love fashion and follow the latest fashion trends – if I was not a Quantity Surveyor, I’d be a fashion designer!