I guess I’m spoiled for choice. When I go back to work on 27th December, I can choose to go to a First Actuarial office, work in an IOD workspace, check in with Regus or use one of the two WeWork offices I have a card for.
Which will I choose? WeWork has commissioned an independent piece of research on the economic impact it has had. These are my personal thoughts which happen to coincide with the conclusions of the research.
WeWork is making a difference to the way I work and the way my businesses work.
On grounds of convenience – WeWork, situated adjacent to Boris Bike stands within 5 minutes cycle of home and 2 minutes from the gym, WeWork Moorgate and Devonshire Square do the trick
On grounds of cost – WeWork – I am currently paying around £450 pm to host meetings – get high-speed broadband and have a desk in the heart of a city. The comparable costs of setting up my own office or renting workspace from Regus are off the scale.
On grounds of service – people who arrive to meet me at WeWorks inevitably have a smile on their face, that is because WeWork staff treat me and my guests as VIPs – and they do that to all the 300 or so companies with whom I share space.
On grounds of fun – the people I work with are hugely productive. We are a boot-strapping start up and we live in WeWork not just during the day, but well into the evening and early in the morning, that’s because it’s more fun to be at work than be at home. Oh and we work week-ends to – because we can!
On grounds of pets – WeWork encourages people to bring (well-behaved) animals to work. I bring my son. Many people bring dogs, cats – tortoises and rabbits. Why not?
WeWork is an experience like no other. It allows me to share my skills with thousands of people who need to get to know AE and pensions, I get help from other start ups and a few established companies about GDPR, wrapping Christmas presents and raising money. I go to talks in the evening and lunchtime, I have breakfast with people I don’t know and I drink beer with them when I know them.
This immersive experience does not restrict me wearing a suit to work when I need to, nor doses it stop turning up in my gym kit (before not after).
I just read this article that suggests WeWork is over valued compared to other property companies (like Regus). I can’t comment on the numbers, but I have this to say. The valuations of organisations like WeWork are ultimately driven by customer experience. My experience of WeWork is good, better than Regus – much better than IOD – much much better than sitting in an old school single office environment.
On the 7th Floor of WeWork Moorgate (where I work) is Citibank. If I move to the new WeWork offices in Wilson Street , I will work alongside Microsoft developers. These large organisations see that they can attract and keep brilliant graduates by offering them a workspace that works for them.
We Work differently these days, we work from laptops and phones with data that sits not on physical servers but in the cloud. We meet people for coffee or drink beer with them.
We want to enjoy our work and feel good about our workspaces. The people I work with do just that – but they do it much more easily at WeWorks than elsewhere.
I think the valuation of WeWorks is based on people like me turning away from traditional workplaces and for replications of those workplaces (as Regus offers). People like me – and there are many 50+ workers in both our City offices – are voting with their feet.