Technology businesses are some of the most successful of our age. They have created products and services that shape our lives and benefitted from the resulting business growth.

By Martijn Roordink, co-founder and chief executive of Spaces

Technology organisations have also created some of the most impressive headquarters in the world for their employees and are known for their exciting workspaces.

And yet, increasingly, they are also exploring ways to embrace flexible working and to partner with workspace organisations that can allow them to work in multiple locations and different communities that are not their own.


Why is this?

Beautifully designed offices are a thing, and state of the art, secure tech is a standard, but expected factor for a flexible working space. However, that is not a gamechanger for members.

Spaces opened 10 years ago in Amsterdam, moving into South Africa in 2017, Spaces is home to tech leaders of all sizes, from global companies to the next generation of innovators and everyone in between. We have found over the last 10 years that creative, tech businesses benefit from offering their employees flexibility.

Tech companies have for years been trying to establish a culture that works for their employees.

All the little factors, and many more besides, add up to creating a culture of collaboration and creativity that businesses find invaluable. To give just one example of how we do this – when you enter a Spaces, you will find we’ve hidden the lifts. Why? To stop people hurrying to their office space and encouraging them to pause and have a conversation.

You’ll also find that our café-delis are in just one central area in our buildings Why? To ensure that people have more opportunities to meet others when they are getting their coffee fix. Contact breeds collaboration, which leads to creativity.

The tech industry benefits enormously from this. Often, tech businesses can be quite introverted by nature. They have hugely smart people working super hard, and it can be a challenge to find the right mechanism to ensure people get away from their screens or R&D labs, speak to other people, interact face to face and have the sorts of conversations that can spark great ideas. Without these interactions, tech wouldn’t be able to continue innovating.

As Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, said: “The best ideas start as conversations.”

In a flexible workspace built on collaboration, this effect is amplified – because people are speaking to fellow creatives not simply from within their own business, but more widely. This is a key benefit recognised by tech businesses and one of the main reasons why they are exploring flexible workspace strategies.

One of our other partners in fact, Microsoft[1], has gone so far as to work with us on a special project to bring a collaborative, flexible workspace culture into the heart of their own office building. Microsoft and Spaces have partnered at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to create a new international hub for accelerating innovation within the areas of artificial intelligence and data analytics. By putting the best of the best in data and AI under the same roof, we’ve created a new breeding ground for innovation and creativity.

It means that Microsoft AI and data experts, along with their suppliers, potential customers and other innovators in the same fields will be able to network, collaborate and speak to each other in one place, in the same building as Microsoft houses its own teams. We believe this will drive the sort of conversations, innovation and creativity that tech companies need. It’s a hugely exciting project.

The final reason tech companies are embracing flexible workspaces is the war for talent. Some of the smartest minds in the world work for tech businesses. These are businesses that need specialists at different times and across different time zones. Flexible workspaces not only allow a business to put together an attractive package for a candidate but allow them to be agile and nimble in where they find that talent.

Spaces provides an environment of continuity, security, space and everything is clean and fresh, where employees can choose to be social or hide away a bit, giving companies the advantage for attracting the right talent.

Spaces is proud to partner with the most successful tech businesses on the planet, and those who will become the most successful in the future. Yet tech is an industry that often leads the way for other sectors. Their approach to workspaces is no different – and businesses both within and outside tech can take note of the benefits of the turn to flexible working. Different companies, different experiences, but a shared need. It’s a culture thing.