Shared workspaces like WeWork can provide avenues for inter-industry networking
Shared workspaces are all the rage now and many companies, even large companies such as the likes of Facebook and Salesforce, have shifted some or all their employees to shared workspaces.
Just on first impressions alone, it is not difficult to see why they have become a hit with workers, especially younger millennials and tech and creative firms. Walk into one like those operated by shared workspace giant WeWork and you would most likely see charming aesthetics that elevates the vibe of a fast-moving, forward thinking, dynamic environment.
Most, if not all shared workspaces feature large sprawls of open desks, giving people the flexibility to jam away at their excel sheets or wordpress at any part of the office. Then there are other perks such as snacks and boutique coffee (a must) and community events that allow people to network.
For companies, operating out of a shared workspace allows them to save time and resources on having to maintain their own office, and through the shared workspaces’ extensive business networks, find opportunities for potential collaborations with other firms that may even lead to business deals.
e27 spoke to 5 companies — investment platform StashAway; coaching company Charisma Academy; travel platform Seek Sophie; events curation firm Tabularasa; startup incubator Antler — who operate out of WeWork to find out why they moved to a shared workspace and what benefits they have gained as a result of their new environment. Here are their thoughts:
We originally decided to move to a shared workspace for economic and flexibility reasons. In the early days of StashAway, it was difficult to predict how much space we would need in 6, 12, or 24 months, and we wanted to have a space that could adapt to our needs. Moreover, with 1,000 things to take care of and a small team doing all of them, we thought that outsourcing all the headaches of setting up and managing an office was a good idea. So we decided to stay in a collaborative space — WeWork –for economic and flexibility reasons, plus the ability to collaborate with the coworking space itself on market outreach.
By being part of the WeWork community, we were able to reach a significant number of potential customers. We also benefited from the nicely designed offices that helped us attract more qualified candidates and ultimately build a better team.
We also collaborated with the WeWork community to organise finance-focused and entrepreneurship-focused events and seminars several times per month. We think that this is a key advantage of being in such a collaborative space, and we bring to the table StashAway’s investment and financial expertise.
Antler’s main vision is to turn the world’s top talent into great founders of great companies and its great to be able to work alongside some great minds and startups within the space. We get to connect with them and learn from their experiences, and they can learn more from our program.
We also try to establish ourselves as a knowledge platform and community builder for startups in the region, and we frequently host thematic discussions and networking events around various topics. It helps that WeWork offers a great space to host these meetings and allows us to tap into the WeWork community to share these events
In addition, having access to shared services allows us to focus better on building the core of our business. The overall positive and cheery vibes reflected from the community managers down to the members and overall aesthetics of the space, definitely help in motivating our team, when the going gets tough. Moreover, countless reports and studies have shown the benefits of productivity in a warmer, brighter working environment, and WeWork certainly has that aesthetic worked out.
One key selling point was the fact that WeWork had a strong and fast growing International network. Antler is scaling fast, we just set up offices in the nordics and have plans for more locations globally. Through this, WeWork has proven to be an unrivalled expansion partner.
Having a traditional office meant that we at Charisma Academy had more personal space and bigger desks, but it almost meant we had to manage our IT infrastructure, cleaning, logistics, utilises and that required an office manager to do that. We rather allocate resources to focus on building more programs, getting more trainers and providing engagement to clients.
From a talent attraction and sustainability standpoint, since we moved to a shared workspace, it has become a talent magnet, while we already have a pretty good attraction strategy in terms of attracting talent online — that needs to be continued into space where we work at which is at WeWork.
So I find that my pool of candidates that i have been meeting in the last 6 months have improved in terms of quality as well as quantity. Just by moving shared workspace makes us look more hip and forward thinking.
From a trainer and client attraction strategy, I think that has helped to provide a more positive and exciting engagement level with our trainers and clients when they know we are based in a fast growing environment. When clients visit us here, they are attracted to the community space that we are in — whether it be a meeting area, lounge area or just an open working space. I think it creates a less official or bureaucratic vibe.
Being in the same location with other startups also allows us to be more creative. We get to network, meet new people and bounce ideas off them.
Our company’s mission is to make inspirational journeys more accessible to travellers everywhere. As part of our work, we speak to our customers every week – people who are adventurous and who seek to get out of their comfort zone when they travel.
We have found that many of these types of travellers are also entrepreneurs, creatives, thinkers and dreamers – the very same type of people we find at shared workspaces like WeWork. So being at a shared workspace like WeWork means that we’re actually surrounded by, and having impromptu conversations with, our target customers on a daily basis. These conversations help us to understand our customers better and build a better product for them.
Being surrounded by a community of such like-minded people also definitely helps us think bigger, think more creatively and keeps our spirits up when we’re having a bad day. There is a sense being at a shared workspace that we’re all in this together and we can help each other change the world together. It’s a lot more inspiring than working at home or a café for sure!
Additionally, we found that WeWork’s values (with their commitment to minimise their impact on the environment, etc) are very in line with ours, and that inspires us to be part of their movement.
A shared workspace gives us both a conducive working environment but also a open space for networking and getting to know other startups. As an events agency, our industry is as traditional as it comes but we wanted to run Tabula Rasa with a startup culture, and being in a shared workspace gives us that.
We’ve met so many passionate innovative people who truly hustle, on days we work late, we’re seldom alone. Being among other companies who work just as much and as hard, it continues to motivate us. At the same time, it also gives us the room to build new relationships and be a part of a larger community. We’ve also met many potential new clients, partners, and collaborators.
We especially like the easy-going vibe that WeWork has, the facilities are new and it doesn’t hurt that there’s always beer on tap.
Disclosure: This article is produced by e27 content marketing team, sponsored by WeWork
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