Founded in 2010, WeWork has sure come a long way. With a global presence of 399 office locations in 78 cities (and growing exponentially as we read!), WeWork is revolutionizing the coworking industry. It was started by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in New York. WeWork is the biggest global coworking chain. Coworking globally is mostly run by individual spaces but some global ones are Regus, Impact Hub, Industrious, etc. but none of them match up to WeWork in terms of the scale, infrastructure, financial backing and the number of members they have. By 2018, WeWork is valued at US$20 billion.
You can check if a WeWork office exists in your city and additionally also use a 15% discount on any of the locations. In this article, we will be reviewing WeWork and whether it is a right fit for you.
WeWork and current scenario of coworking
WeWork’s aggressive expansion is a very important proof of concept that coworking can be a profitable business for owners of spaces. Opening and running a coworking space is never easy. The coworking trend started with local initiatives and there were local spaces that entrepreneurs used. After the success story of WeWork, not only have the number of local coworking spaces increased but also the national ones. There are several national coworking chains that exist in many countries like United States, India, China, UK, etc. And apart from the typical big-named startup investors, even the real estate investors are taking keen interest in coworking spaces and chains.
Currently, Coworker, a coworking space directory lists out 9000+ coworking spaces with friendly communities in 160 countries. This implies that the competition among coworking chains is high and giants like WeWowork need to stay dynamic to attract the coworking population.
Coming back to WeWork, they are expanding not just as a coworking space but also into various other related models like WeWork Labs which is a community program for promising early stage startups, Powered by We which is the contracting-designing services WeWork offers to entreprises, WeLive which are co-living spaces and Rise By We which is their fitness arm. Most other coworking spaces are also offering more than just coworking. WeWork has shaped the coworking industry into thinking out of the box. But all is not rosy-glory with WeWork. Apart from the controversies they have run into till date, most coworkers agree that WeWork is probably one of the more expensive coworking spaces to use. Let’s dive into their strengths and weaknesses.
What’s great about WeWork
Networking, events and activities
The best known benefit of working at WeWork is the numerous networking opportunities presented to you. The core concept of WeWork has been to bring people together in our highly fragmented society currently. The way the whole workspace has been organized and built, you can easily bump into people all the time while at the same time maintaining privacy. WeWork also helps in organizing various events. Often there are events like Wine tasting, new product demo, etc. scheduled to bring all members together. Many of these events are sponsored by startups wishing to raise awareness about their products. This gives a great platform to enhance business opportunities.
WeWork is for serious business, trying to build something big. It has projected itself for people in networking mode who may look out for future partnerships. Apart from events, there are other ways in which WeWork facilitates networking like –
- Members can update the entire WeWork community regarding any new business announcements
- Job boards are present in which all members can post jobs
Apart from these, many WeWork spaces have gyms, fitness centres, bars, spas, etc. which encourage and reinforce their core philosophy of bringing people together. They emphasize to create an organic community of ‘WeWorkers’ who network both inside and outside WeWork offices.
Getting best of talent quickly and form partnerships
You may sometimes require adhoc designers or developers or financial advisors, etc. If you are working at a WeWork location, there are chances you might find the right talent just across the room. With so many talented freelancers flocking to and working out of WeWork, it can turn out to be super easy for you to find the next team member or a consultant quickly. You can also find potential investors, clients and even cofounders at WeWork and form long term work partnerships. Since WeWork is expensive, by picking places like it, there is a natural filter on members at WeWork. Such people would be at a more mature state of their business and hence better to network with.
Experts at running a space and beautiful offices
WeWork has the know-how of having successful coworking spaces in several countries globally, They are already aware of what works and what doesn’t. Also they are raising a lot of money. Because of having such high budgets, all WeWork office spaces are beautifully designed and comfort is the top-notch priority. They also hire the best of staff that’s super friendly and try to make your stay pleasant. Right from ergonomically designed seating types to the presence of all office amenities, you can find everything at WeWork. They also have separate phone booths, conference rooms, meditation areas etc. Many have a variety of healthy food options to choose from for light workday meals and their fruit water is refreshing.
Smooth onboarding and processes
By selecting WeWork, there is the assurance of a certain level of service that you can expect at such spaces. There are lesser uncertainties and shocks awaiting you. They have smooth onboarding and other established process flows for reducing time waste, etc. In case you wish to transfer to another location, the entire process is very seamless. This also helps in networking with global or international diaspora.
Before any new WeWork office space opens up, their real estate team does a lot of digging around to select the best areas in a city. These could be those where their is a high density of coffee shops, restaurants, fitness centres, etc., things that provide convenience while working. Because of this, most WeWork locations have easy access through public transport and if not already then quickly become hotbed of startup activity. Places that are restaurant rich for example are great for client meetings. Similarly those that have fitness centres and gyms around can be very useful to visit during the day. By selecting a WeWork office, you can be rest assured, the area will be convenient and very conducive to office environments.
Discounts and offers for other products and tools
WeWork also ties up with many online stores and if you are a member, you can get great discounts for various office supplies, productivity tools, laptops, etc. Tools like Slack, AWS, etc. and other brands like Equinox, Dell, ticketmaster, etc. offer benefits if you are a WeWork member. WeWork itself frequently publishes discounts to join their spaces, and here you can access an up to 15% discount.
Where WeWork needs to buckle up
Not your neighbourhood coworking spaces
At times working at WeWork may feel impersonal. Most of their locations though beautifully designed, start feeling similar and monotonous. Contrastingly, joining a local space has its unique vibes and interaction with owners of all types but at WeWork it’s hard to really meet the owners who may actually not even be sitting in your city. Also, with well defined processes and way of onboarding, they may be less flexible to customize things to your needs at times.
Prices vary between spaces and cities, however generally Wework is more expensive than most other coworking spaces. With the quality, amenities and great location comes a price tag that might be higher than the average local coworking space.
Lack of privacy and noisy surroundings
If you are availing a hot desk or flexible seating at WeWork, it can sometimes feel like a lack of privacy since the WeWork offices are huge with many members working together. You may feel also get easily distracted by the noisy work surroundings at times. So many events happen regularly at WeWork offices that it does get loud and noisy at times. Since the core of WeWork is networking, it may generally be noisier than other spaces.
Selecting any coworking space has more to do with the kind of need you have rather than which is the best coworking space in town. If your business is at a phase when you are just starting out and are at a very initial phase, any of the local coworking chains may fit your profile best. But if you are at a phase when you need to network to grow your business, WeWork coworking spaces can be great. If you are a high growth business wanting to work out of a WeWork location, you can use 15% discount at any WeWork location. Register here.