When you think about a shared workspace, what are some things that come to mind? For me, I think about a bunch of people crammed into a room with not enough space to work. That’s my assumption of what a company like WeWork would provide for startups that are looking for a small office space but don’t want to commit to a traditional lease.
Management at my current company of employment decided to change office space locations and took advantage of WeWork’s services. This excited me as I could experience firsthand what the hype around shared workspaces was all about.
After spending one week working out of a WeWork location, here are some of my thoughts.
Pro: Cozy up with a nice cup of coffee (and other amenities) while you work.
When I work, I need to have two things: a decent cup of coffee to stay focused and water to stay refreshed. Thankfully, the WeWork space I’m located at provides both of these, and more!
Located on each floor (there are multiple WeWork floors at my location) is a refreshment station. At these refreshment stations, you’ll find anything and everything you need to stay focused and hydrated: hot coffee, fruit-infused water, and flavored tea bags. Mugs and insulated cups are provided so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own. Once you’re finished with your beverage of choice, you can drop your cup off at a bussing station.
If you don’t think it could get any better, you might find beer, wine, and cold brew on tap in certain WeWork spaces. Don’t be surprised if you come across a barista coffee machine as well! You can be sure that I’m taking advantage of these perks every time I’m here!
The only downside is that certain amenities, like the drinks on tap, are only available during business hours (9am-6pm). If you want a cold brew or a beer, you’d have to grab one between those hours because the taps are locked during non-business hours. Small downside for such a great perk, I’d say!
Pro: Community events make going into work more exciting.
From coffee-tasting to massages, there seems to be something happening almost every day. These events provide a much-needed break from work when things get a little stressful. No travel is needed either because everything happens within the WeWork space.
The staffers at WeWork do an awesome job of informing people of events as well. During the morning of an event, a notification will go out via the WeWork app to inform the members. A reminder will be sent out shortly before the event starts in case people forget. They really want people to attend these events!
Pro: Open spaces are provided for a relaxed work environment or hangout spot.
Work doesn’t always have to be a cookie-cutter environment, and WeWork knows that. There are open areas for people that want to get out of their office spaces and have a change of scenery. Want a relaxing work spot? Take a seat on one of the soft couches. Need a place to have a casual group chat? Sit around a round table. No matter where you choose to situate yourself, you’ll always get that relaxing coffee house vibe.
Con: Good luck being productive if you require peace and quiet to work.
These shared workspaces seem to provide everything you need for work except for the one thing most offices should already have: a quiet work environment.
Depending on what you do for work, you might run into trouble finding a place to have a private conversation with a customer or some peace and quiet to hear yourself think.
The office spaces are separated by glass windows and thin walls so there isn’t much soundproofing. If someone in an adjacent office is having a conference call or is talking louder than a normal inside voice, expect to hear every word they say even with the doors closed.
The worst is if noise is coming from inside your office. Noise reflects pretty easily in these areas so if any of your colleagues are talking with one another or is on a conference call, it’s going to be distracting.
WeWork does provide conference rooms that you can book for a fee. I’m not sure how soundproof these conference rooms are, but if they’re built similarly to the regular office rooms, the problems would persist even in conference rooms.
Con: Only a desk and chair are provided. If you need anything else, bring it yourself.
The basic workspace required for most office workers is a desk and a chair, which is provided by WeWork. However, if you need anything else, you’d have to (understandably) supply it yourself. This would include essential equipment that some roles would require, like an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. There are some non-essential items as well that would be nice if WeWork provided them, like power strips and whiteboards.
Obviously, startups and other companies should already have most of these things, but it’d be nice if there was a way people could purchase or rent them if one were to forget to bring anything.
Would you work in a shared workspace?
If you’ve worked in a shared workspace, your experience may or may not be the same as mine depending on where you’ve worked. As for my past experience at WeWork, I would say it’s a positive one. With so many options of where to sit and all the perks I get to take advantage of, who wouldn’t get excited about going into the “office?”