When you live in a tiny apartment with four roommates, and every coffee shop on the block is either at capacity or doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, it’s impossible to do your best work. Or even get any work done, as you’re spending your time hopping from one place to the next in search of that one precious outlet. What makes a big difference is a place that you can call your home away from home: a place that puts you at ease and allows you to get in the zone. We spoke with a dozen WeWork members about how they ended up choosing to work in a collaborative space.
Question: Why did you choose a coworking space over working from home or a coffee shop?
To push my business to the next level
I’m an introvert, and I honestly wasn’t sold on coworking when I started out. I’m the type of designer that has her best ideas in a quiet space with zero distractions. I still love my alone time, but my business wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for coworking. I have my dedicated desk where you’ll usually find me busy working, distraction-free, with my headphones on. When I need a break, you will find me in the common areas where I have the opportunity to meet other members whose experiences, successes, and setbacks show me I’m not alone.
So I can recruit the best staff
Economically, it was the cheapest way for our brand to establish a presence, conduct business, and scale. It’s also exciting to work alongside other entrepreneurs grinding away into the wee hours of the morning. Last, but not least, we’re looking for a diverse talented talent pool. It's just easier to recruit when you have a physical address and a support staff that rocks.
To be as productive as possible
I find myself being more productive when I'm around productive people. At home, I can't reach that creative and focused mindset that I need to be in because there are too many distractions, and coffee shops are great until you need to take a break. You are kind of bound to staying where your computer is because you don't want to leave your belongings out in the open. A coworking space gives you the freedom to take healthy breaks in between work sessions and come back recharged and refocused.
Because I want to stay motivated
I need an office to keep me motivated. Working from home means I’m going to have a lot of days where I’m sitting around in my underwear, and I don’t shower until 12 PM. I signed up for a one-person office because WeWork Meatpacking is the perfect location for my business, and I wanted to have first dibs on the bigger offices when I’m expanding, but I also signed up for it because I wouldn’t work very hard without one.
To accomplish more in less time
I estimate I get 25 to 50 percent more work done at WeWork than I would at a coffee shop or from home. A coffee shop would be too distracting, and I wouldn’t last more than a day in the solitude of a home office. The combination of private offices and common areas means WeWork offers the best of both worlds: privacy for when you need to focus and opportunities to socialize for when you feel like being with others. Plus, there is something motivational about not being the only one in the building on a Sunday at 4 PM.
To meet clients in a professional setting
I need to meet clients in person and be professional in doing this. I like the buzz of a coffee shop, but the music is too loud, and it doesn’t seem professional enough.
Because I fell in love with the energy
I'm the only U.S.-based employee of a software company based in New Zealand and therefore don't have coworkers closer than a few thousand miles away. I could have chosen to get an office by myself or work from home, but I fell in love with the energy and hum created by the conversations of so many bright and interesting people working on such a wide variety of projects and ideas. I can't imagine how oppressive the silence of working alone must be.
I needed to feel connected to a community
When I first started East Coast Product, I worked from home. Although my workload was about the same, I never felt as productive. Even in my home office, I felt disconnected from my work, and it never felt quite right. Having a space where you are surrounded by pure productivity does wonders for morale and your own productivity. Even if your neighbor works in a completely different industry, it’s incredibly helpful to be in proximity of some like-minded hustlers.
To offer others my expertise
At home, there are 100 distractions. Working at WeWork removes the distractions, and you get to meet lots of individuals working towards a similar goal: launching and running a successful business. Also, from a business perspective, there are multiple opportunities to help others in the WeWork network with what I do—strategy and social media—so that's a big benefit as well.
To support a growing team
We actually worked out of my apartment for our first year of business, but it eventually got to the point where we just didn't have enough room. (Surprisingly, it's pretty hard to fit 10 plus desks and people into a one-bedroom apartment.) It's motivating seeing all the companies grinding every day.
So I could grow my business
Beyond the couch and coffee shop being terribly lonely? WeWork for us was a no-brainer when we received our first operating grant. Over the past year, we have set up WeWork offices in Chicago, D.C., and Philadelphia. Because the accounting systems and processes are all synced, it has been virtually seamless for us as we expand and grow.
To be exposed to new ideas
When we launched The Spitfire Group, a client offered us space in his office, which was very kind. However, we discovered we were not being exposed to new thinking and ideas, which is so important in a startup. Also, the chance to share your experiences with other entrepreneurs on similar journeys is very affirming. And we want work to be fun.