Back to our roots: why Datashift opened a new office in Leuven

28 June 2022
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Since its inception, Datashift has had an office in Mechelen. The company started out in the city’s co-working space Ondernemershuis and later moved to its own building — a former family house. Safe to say, Mechelen is Datashift’s first home. But the tech company is now expanding outside the city’s borders. To Leuven, to be precise. For a good reason. Three good reasons, actually.

Back to our roots

When Datashift first started, we settled in Mechelen’s Ondernemershuis, a co-working space for young companies. It was a small but charming building with lots of character. We quickly grew out of this office because our team kept getting bigger and bigger. But that was the fun of start-up life. The feeling of real entrepreneurship. Of growing fast and having to squeeze in an extra desk for a new employee. It was great.

We wanted to replicate that feeling in our new office in Leuven. This time too, we found a co-working space in an old yet characteristic building: Labora, a former abbey. It takes us back to our roots. We’re once again in a building with other companies, drinking bad coffee from your typical office coffee machine, making sure to book the meeting room in time, having enough space for now but not for long…. It’s the start-up life all over again, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Sure, we could’ve chosen a bigger office. A typical high-rise corporate building with enough space for our 50+ employees. If you ask us, these spaces lack charm and ambience, though. We prefer offices that radiate creativity and innovation.

Pro working remotely, but…

Speaking of our more than 50 employees: we love them, and we love to see them in our offices. Of course, we are all for working remotely, but we are against working from home 100% of the time. We prefer a healthy mix of working from home, at Datashift or at a client’s offices. However, some of our employees have a long commute from their hometown to Mechelen. By installing an office in Leuven, we want to ensure they have a workspace closer to home.

Our office in Mechelen is still our headquarters. But with the addition of the Leuven co-working space, our employees have the opportunity to work alongside their colleagues without spending an hour or more in traffic. So far — we started working at Labora in May — employees have been very positive about the extra workspace. Their enthusiasm even has us looking for a third office in Ghent! That way, we can offer many more employees an office closer to home.

Enjoying family life

In the seven years of Datashift, many employees (and managers!) have had children. Watching the Datashift family grow is fun. However, deciding between dropping your kids off in daycare or getting to the office on time is not. Many of our employees have not been able to combine school drop-offs or pick-ups with their work, since their commute is often long.

I hope that by opening the Leuven office, more employees will be able to share that time with their kids in the morning without having to rush to work. Having two young children myself, I know how precious something simple as a school drop-off can be. Helping the kids get ready in the morning, waving goodbye at the school gate and even having enough time left to bike to work has made me a more relaxed person—definitely something I wish for every Datashifter.

Our new office is a gem; there’s no doubt about that. Although, my eldest daughter was less impressed with the renovated abbey. No elevator daddy? Peppa Pig’s dad has an office with an elevator! You can imagine how disappointed she was. We’re happy at Labora for now, but I guess we should start looking for an office with an elevator now? ;-)