Read the original version here on Emerce (Dutch).
Start-up localdesk launched a platform to make hybrid working more than just the choice between home and office. Five questions for Stephan Meijers, founder and CEO of localdesk.
Stephan, what exactly are you doing?
We support organizations and employees in realizing the true potential of hybrid working by giving access to an on-demand curated network of distributed workspaces, that we call ‘third workspaces’. We are a platform that connects organizations to existing office spaces that offer desks, offices for a day and meeting rooms. Employees can use our platform to book workspaces for a couple of hours or a day, all within the budgets and permissions set by their organization. All this is accessible on a pay-per-use basis, allowing organizations to provide their employees with the option of accessing a ‘third’ workspace whenever they want. At localdesk, we consider that this flexibility is an essential pillar to benefit from what hybrid working has to offer.
Where do you see its main application?
Hybrid working is often seen as a division of working time between the office and at home, or between the digital and face-to-face worlds. We feel that this focus misses the core of what hybrid working really offers: flexibility. Flexibility is all about personal choice in determining how, when, and where work gets done. Limiting that choice to simply choosing between the main office and working from home is constraining. Our market research shows that this doesn’t allow businesses to truly benefit from the benefits that hybrid work has to offer. Giving your employees a real choice of where they work empowers them to use their time efficiently and productively while staying motivated. Our platform offers this flexibility.
“At localdesk, we consider that flexibility is an essential pillar to benefit from what hybrid working has to offer.”
What is the impact of your business?
We promote social and environmental sustainability by increasing people’s autonomy and reducing their need to travel. If we want to work towards a future where long commutes (and infamous traffic jams) are something from the past, and the ’15-minute city’ becomes a reality, we need to radically transform the way we work. Our platform makes this transformation possible by putting the choice with employees. localdesk gives them the means to make sustainable decisions. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have access to a network of professional, inspiring, or creative work environments to your choosing, all within biking distance of your own home?
In addition, our platform allows connected organizations to reduce their own real estate footprints. Even before the coronavirus pandemic radically changed the way offices are used, leased out offices were only utilized for 44% on a day-to-day basis. Usually this was accompanied by large peaks on specific days, commonly Tuesday and Thursdays. Now, with remote working becoming more accepted and popular, the average utilization is decreasing, while the peak capacity needs on specific days aren’t being reduced. Having access to a fully flexible layer of available workspaces allows organizations to model their own real estate based on minimum capacity rather than maximum capacity.
“If we want to work towards a future where long commutes (and infamous traffic jams) are something from the past, and the ’15-minute city’ becomes a reality, we need to radically transform the way we work.”
Where do you stand right now?
We have launched our platform this fall – connecting more than 1500 workspaces in 36 locations with our customers. We are expanding our service to individual employees as well, as we are seeing that many businesses are choosing to leave the decision for using third workspaces in the hands of employees, rather than organizing access for everyone right away. We see that as a lower barrier for organizations to learn about the benefits that working from anywhere has to offer their businesses.
Who has invested in you and what kind of investors are you looking for?
We are a bootstrapped business. However, we foresee that localdesk will need funds to grow rapidly over the next years. We are looking for investors with experience in fast growing platform businesses so we can deliver on our vision of hybrid working with our customers.
Main photo: the localdesk team (from left to right): Stephan Meijers (Founder & CEO), Julieta Matos Castaño (Content Strategist), Elif Orhan (Marketeer) and Reinier Reijnhoudt (Founder & CGO). Foto by Maisy Baas.