Home » Insights » Interview with Yvan Maillard, CCO at The Great Room.

Interview with Yvan Maillard, CCO at The Great Room.

Yvan Maillard is the Chief Commercial Office at The Great Room, one of the most in-demand and luxurious coworking spaces in Singapore.

With 5 spaces in Singapore, one in Hong Kong and one in Thailand, The Great Room is a leader in the region and is setting the bar high in the context of hospitality-oriented coworking spaces.

If you want to know more about The Great Room, its origins, the inspiration and its mission, keep reading this exclusive interview Yvan gave to FLYDESK a few weeks ago. 

[FLYDESK] What inspired the founders to create this working space?


[YM] Everything started from a crazy idea of transforming the office routine into a great experience. It seemed completely illogical to lock ourselves 70% of our adults’ lifetime into glass boxes with aggressive white lights and corporate slogans on the wall that nobody identifies with.  

What made us start is also what still makes us push harder today. It is a sincere mission to change our relationship with the work environment, the physical one at least. In a world where so many things can be done faster and better online, we think it is crucial to provide the best environment and the best tools to support social interactions and teams’ collaborations.  


[FLYDESK] Where did you get the design inspiration?


[YM] Ritz-Carlton, Fours Seasons, St Regis… we were increasingly conducting business meetings from those hotel’s lobby just because it made us feel better. That’s when we realised there was no better benchmark than the hospitality industry to design open environments that would promote physical meetings. Hotels have always been in the business of making you feel safe and confident while you are away from home. Unlike hotels, offices have been this intimidating environment where the strongest thrives until she/he fails. This is a fierce environment which is not human centric. 

That’s why we decided to apply the hotel principles to the work environment. We want all office workers to be in optimal conditions for fulfillment. The pleasing aesthetic component is as important as the practical and functional elements of the design of our spaces. The goal is to influence the user’s emotions positively, always.   

[FLYDESK] What makes The Great Room unique?


[YM] It’s all work, it’s all play. I think this duality, this balance is the key. 

We design and operate spaces for professional performances. Those performances can only happen in an environment where opportunities arise. The space needs to be very open but it can’t compromise individual comfort and a certain sense of privacy. We spend more time and energy on the operational design than the aesthetics. All TGR sites offer sophisticated work activity based designs. From the accessibility and the proximity of the resources to the diversity of the meeting dynamics (collaborative, executive, corporate and entertaining), it is all about providing an uninterrupted flow of work.  

The atmosphere at TGR is warm and relaxing. This is only possible because our SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) are very robust.

I also think that we want it all at TGR. We want the most beautifully designed space, with the tightest SOPs and the most engaging environment. Having a strong community is the key. Without a community, we would only be office managers and managing offices is definitely not our business. 

A lot of flex space operators choose excellence in either community engagement or space management. We think it doesn’t have to be incompatible. 


[FLYDESK] Do you have a particular client profile you would like to host in your space?


[YM]  We offer workspace solutions for demanding professionals in terms of comfort and performance while giving them a strong sense of community and constant opportunities to open their company cultures to others. Most professionals understand that you need to expose your teams to various sectors, industries, cultures… A more open work environment is the key to build trust between organizations and people and our members use our solutions to show their teams that they trust the way they work. 


[FLYDESK] How do you help your members overcome their challenges?


[YM]  Our role is to offer guidance on how to redefine the use of the workspace. Our daily focus is to help our members to translate their company culture into their work environment. A company culture is totally intangible. It is made of a vision, a mission, values and beliefs. But I think a dynamic workspace can be the greatest tool to continuously redefine and express your company culture.   

Offering a richer environment with business learning, networking, wellness sessions… is the best way to demonstrate a holistic approach as the work environment is being revisited and rethought as an experiential space, not only a workspace. 


[FLYDESK] How do you envision the future of work, especially now under this pandemic situation?


[YM]  I don’t want to be too dogmatic here, it’s too early for that. But I can tell you what I would like as a professional who has dedicated his career to taking care of office workers’ comfort and wellbeing. 

I envision the future of workspace to be totally inspired by the sharing economy. Less permanent low quality corporate office in over priced premium real estate. More experiential work environment enabled by temporary access rights for a richer office experience. 

For MNCs and based on the level of confidentiality of their business they will have a core office that may be equal to 30% to 50% of your total workforce under a conventional office lease. Everything else will be offered to employees as access rights to flexible space as a service.

For SMEs in the service and knowledge industry, no conventional lease any more, only memberships to access a network of office, retail and F&B facilities.  

[FLYDESK] How would you describe the organization’s culture?


[YM]  We want to promote passion and ambition. Only one thing is non negotiable. Every TGR employee needs to like helping others. You can’t provide premium services to demanding professionals if you don’t take satisfaction and pride out of it.   

Once again, it’s all work, it’s all play. To us, only one thing is more important than excellence in services, and that’s people’s wellness. We don’t believe in performing under constant pressure.  

Our core ambition is to have happy members. This is only possible with happy team members. Simple daily acts of kindness and joy make a big difference. 


[FLYDESK] Do you have expansion plans in the coming months?


[YM] Yes, this is an important moment for coworking. We need to prove that we can deliver good office experiences without compromising on quality and flexibility. We are planning for expansion in Singapore and in the region too. 


[FLYDESK] A last message for our readers?


[YM] Now is a good time to shift our mindset and expect more from the office than just square footage. Please think twice before signing a long term lease agreement to accommodate your entire workforce. This is not cost effective, it comes with a lot of waste of space, energy and resources and most importantly, this is probably not what your people want. 

All TGR Sales teams are qualified to provide you with free workspace strategy consultation with the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality. So be in touch 🙂

The Great Room has just opened the 1st November 2021 their 5th space in Singapore at the Afro Asia building. If you want to know more about it, reach out to FLYDESK now!

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