How Office Space Enables Business Growth: A Q&A with Jaime Petkanics, VP of People, Brooklinen
Brooklinen, headquartered in WeWork DUMBO since 2014, is on a mission to bring luxury bedding direct-to-consumer. WeWork sat down with Jaime Petkanics, Brooklinen’s VP of people, to discuss the many ways in which the right space can support and enable business growth.
WeWork: Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Brooklinen?
Jaime Petkanics: I handle everything from hiring to learning and career development, to benefits and perks—anything that touches the employee experience once you're part of our company. Our business is growing, and we look to every single one of our team members to add value immediately and to have a proactive mindset. We’re solution-oriented and value the concept of creating efficiencies wherever we can—a value I think WeWork shares with us.
WW: How does Brooklinen’s workspace factor into the talent acquisition journey?
JP: As a locally grown company, we’re very fortunate that we have a product and mission that people are very excited about. When people are assessing job offers, they're not just looking at the offer that they get at the end, they're really thinking about the entire experience as a whole—and space is a major part of that decision-making process.
When someone comes to interview with us, they arrive in this great neighborhood and check in downstairs with a friendly community team before arriving in our private office area. As they look out the window of our beautiful city skyline view, we can offer them something to drink—fruit-infused water, microbrewed coffee or their choice of tea—and they immediately understand that this office, and company, is committed to making their experience a positive one. In this setting, the potential hire gets to meet our friendly, passionate, talented team, and learn more about the Brooklinen brand.
WW: Let’s talk now about your current employees—how do they feel about working in the space?
JP: Walking into work is always so inviting; the WeWork community team is so lovely. There’s fresh coffee waiting for you, and someone to greet you with a smile. It’s a great mix of professional and laid-back that makes it a very enjoyable place to be productive.
Our team certainly spreads out in the space, whether it's holding meetings in the common area on our floor, having lunch together, or getting some quiet time for heads-down work, and sometimes even spending some time on the shared rooftop deck. No matter what, it’s so nice to have options—to not be confined to just one space or to a single desk in a single area of the room. Being able to switch up where you're working brings new energy toward what you're working on—I think it makes the work day even more pleasant. Those nooks and crannies allow our employees to get things done when and where they need to, which is invaluable for us.
WW: How has WeWork’s operation of your office space impacted you and your team?
JP: Even the little things make a big difference. For example, let’s say there’s a light out in the conference room—the WeWork community team will fix it before you even notice it was out. No matter what room in the office, it’s functioning properly, and we have a team of people on hand to help us 24/7. When you own a building, you have to facilitate all of that. So the fact that all of these things can just get taken care of in the background, without needing to lend any mental energy to it, is really valuable for our business.
We also don't have construction experience—so any time we need to physically expand our four walls, we rely on WeWork’s expertise. We knocked down a wall to grow into our newly acquired space, and the WeWork team was super-helpful in setting up everything for us. By the time our employees walked in the office the next morning, everything was taken care of. We didn’t have to close up the business for even a day during that construction—that's pretty amazing!
WW: How does real estate factor into your decision-making as a growing business with new employees?
JP: I think the key aspect for us is that, because of WeWork, we don't have to spend too much time thinking about or planning out our real estate needs. Our team is busy hiring great people and creating a great employee experience—all that time, we know that WeWork is taking care of operating our physical office space. We can spend our energy and resources on we need to do as a team—continuing to grow our business.
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