What it does: Spaces was founded ten years ago: the idea was to create something that didn’t really exist yet – the need to work in a place that is stimulating, inspiring and fun
Founder/s: Martijn Roordink
Size of team: 75
1. What was your eureka moment for starting Spaces, a co-working model, in Amsterdam?
The idea was to create something that didn’t really exist yet. Our inspiration came when I was working in a great place along the canals. There was a good vibe and people were constantly asking whether they could rent a desk or stay for lunch. From that came the idea that work could be a lot more fun, efficient, inspiring and productive when you share it with likeminded people. And that was the start of Spaces: our eureka moment! Spaces was founded in 2008 from that need to work in a place that is stimulating, inspiring and fun.
2. You spoke about ‘reinventing the office space’ globally. How does Spaces plan to do that in Britain?
With Spaces, we’ve changed the feeling of ‘going to the office’, and plan to continue doing this across the country. ‘Going to the office’ should feel inspiring. We believe that every big city in the world needs a Spaces – and why we are so happy with the beautiful locations we have across the UK.
Our locations are designed around a social heart and we cherish our community of creators and big thinkers. Spaces offers both a functional and inviting interior, with high-end design furniture, customer-built work solutions and a warm colour palette. We believe that our beautiful workspaces support and stimulate and inspire by creating new ways to work, create and collaborate.
What we wanted when we thought about the idea of Spaces, is to have a place to work where the magic happens on the ground floor; that’s where you can plug into the buzz and feel the energy. That’s where our lovely receptionist team is based, your community manager and where you can get the best coffee from our baristas. On the upper floors, we have offices for companies of all sizes. But it’s the ground floor where companies of all sizes coming together, share drinks, thoughts and inspire new ideas.
3. You also spoke about how the ‘Netherlands is a world champion in part-time working’. Do you see this model going global and why?
What I mean with this, is that in the Netherlands people value the switch between private time and work time. That’s why they choose to work part-time, there are a lot of men and women who choose to work a day less when there are children involved. Also, whilst we wouldn’t necessarily call it ‘part-time working’, what we have seen is that, globally, there has been a shift towards allowing employees to work flexibly.
Ultimately, digitalisation and new technologies have changed how people work. But it’s important to remember that there are personal and economic benefits to flexible working: people want the personal benefits of flexible working and businesses want the financial and strategic benefits of it too.
4. You said your target audience is NOT the start-ups. Then who are you aiming for and what infrastructure facilities do you offer?
Our Spaces locations are tailored towards businesses of all sizes, but specifically SMEs. These are the scale-
ups that are working on a global level or aim to do so. These fit Spaces well and make use of locations all over the world.
5. What is your strategy to beat big sharks like WeWork in London? Or were you there in the market first? What’s the real story.
We operate in a buoyant, fast-growing market which is bound to attract different players, ideas and investment. However, we believe that healthy competition helps build category understanding and can drive the behaviour that will accelerate the growth in our industry. What really makes Spaces unique is the community we’ve worked hard to cultivate – full of forward thinkers, innovators and game changers who love what they do.
6. What brands have been your biggest clients so far?
We are extremely proud of our client portfolio, with partners including Uber, Spotify and Microsoft, all of whom we love working with to create the perfect work environment.
7. What is on the horizon for your industry in the next 5 years?
I believe that the flexible workspace industry is going mainstream, and one consequence of that is the increasing number of players. Like any industry, especially during an accelerated growth phase, some players will consolidate, some may go out of business, but the industry will remain, driven by the underlying fundamentals of the market. The future of the flexible workspace revolution is certainly exciting!
8. Do you allow ‘take your kid to work, every day’ policy?
As our business clubs are professional environments, we don’t encourage bringing children into work, as to not disturb other members. We do of course host the celebrations during the festive season, giving members the opportunity to invite their families to the location.