Why we bet on changing work culture

Martijn Roordink, CEO and co-founder of Spaces, discusses the future of work and how companies need to adapt if they want to succeed

Work should be fun, right? Certainly, productivity can prove elusive in a place where you feel uncomfortable and uninspired. A workspace needs to be fluid and buzzing with a collaborative, entrepreneurial spirit to foster success for an ever-changing workforce.

It’s this fundamental belief that is the cornerstone of Spaces and something that Martijn Roordink, CEO and co-founder, touched on in an interview with BNN Bloomberg last month. “I see the new worker as the consumer. The changing habits of workers are not about fixed contracts but flexibility, and we have to deliver them experiences,” Roordink told Canada’s Business News Network. “Experience is about growing as a person, becoming more social and giving people a platform to become more successful. I don’t say, ‘I will make you successful’, but, ‘You can become successful’.”

Since the brand’s inception in 2005, Roordink has been true to his word, delivering intuitive, co-working spaces in cities around the world for a dynamic community of open-minded business thinkers. “The change of work and the change of habits of cultures within work mean that you have to change the way you’re designing your office and the way you’re servicing your customers,” Roordink explained in the interview. “And every employee, in a way, is your customer.”

Cater to all

Spaces caters for every business need, but it is equally dedicated to creating environments that are full of flair and creativity, for those who want to work that little bit differently. “When you enter a Spaces, you come into a coffee bar and reception area with nice music, plants, art, colour schemes,” said Roordink. “It has to feel like home and, if it feels like home, you start to feel relaxed. Then you get into productivity modus.”
It’s a formula that is working. “Currently we have about 230 buildings, which is about one million square metres of office space,” he said. “So, we are really small compared to the full portfolio of offices worldwide, but we have a voice because we are changing the market.”

Going global

Many of the large corporates – the Microsofts and Ubers of this world – are sitting up and taking note: to attract talent and diversify, they need to accommodate the new work landscape. And fast. “Spaces is a global player, and we act locally,” Roordink said. “We can help the big companies because we’ve got 100 network development members looking for locations and doing good deals. But also, we can help by creating a great space with good content, hospitality and services.” And consistently maintaining that unique Spaces vibe is key: “We opened our first one in 2008 in Amsterdam and we’ve worked ten years to become a kind of franchise. We have all kinds of manuals, execution schemes and auditing to ensure we can deliver on brand,” said Roordink. “It’s about the first manoeuvre – if we’re entering a new country, we’ll take maybe some more time than to open the third one. For example, in Toronto we have two now – we are going to open five new ones.”

And, as with every Spaces location, they’ll be in tune with their locale. “I follow the Global Cities Index by AT Kearney, which compares 150 cities globally – how they act culturally, financial performance, the talent they’re attracting,” Roordink said. “I believe in city economies more than country economies. The new worker is acting global – they want to feel the local identity and we give it to them.”

Collision Canada

While in Canada, Roordink also attended Collision, where he was invited to sit on a panel. Now in its sixth year, it is the fastest-growing tech conference in North America with more than 25,000 attendees, including entrepreneurs, startups, media, corporates and decision makers. This year, Collision also ran a Corporate Innovation Summit – an invite-only series of workshops, discussions, roundtables and networking events to tackle the issues at the forefront of modern business, including the influence of technology and evolving employee demands.

The narrative of innovation and the future of work… it’s one Martijn Roordink is all too familiar with. So, what’s the secret to the Spaces success? “It is all about consistency, local balance, right location, right audience,” he told BNN Bloomberg.

Want to collide with Canada’s global players, local changemakers or international innovators? Find your place to work, from office or a coworking desk and join the Spaces community.



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