The ways we work have fundamentally changed. People no longer seek just a work-life balance. They want the power to choose when, where and how they work. They want the freedom to create their own schedules, to do work they find meaningful, and to be in a space that suits their unique needs. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all nine-to-five. In All the Ways You Work, WeWork members share how they’re reimagining their professional lives and thriving in this new world of work.
After more than a year working from home due to the pandemic, Devin A. Brown was desperate for a change. He felt trapped working from his one-bedroom flat in downtown New York City. Brown’s dining room table became his office desk, and days passed without interaction with another person.
‘I had a very hard time working from home every day. Plus, there were all these distractions at home,’ he says. ‘I needed to go somewhere, to get out of the flat.’
A new job proved to be the answer: after a long stint at a major consulting company, in January, Brown made a move to a digital consulting company with a team of 20. His new position as head of marketing meant endless days of working from home would come to an end.
The company, which embraces a hybrid work model, provides its employees with WeWork All Access passes so they can use any qualifying WeWork location at any time. Brown suddenly had access to dozens of different work offices to explore – rather than choosing between his sofa or the dining room table.
On his first day at his new job, Brown was welcomed by the team at WeWork 368 9th Avenue. The team booked an office for Brown’s first week, which he found to be a helpful and productive way to onboard before diving into conducting meetings and working on projects remotely.
As it turns out, in-person working days weren’t limited to the first week. Often, New York City team members will chat on Slack to decide which location they’ll meet at to work for the day. ‘Every other day we go to a different office,’ he says. This has given him a chance to bond with his new team, getting to know his colleagues in a way that fully remote communication sometimes limits.
Discovering favourite work locations
Over time, Brown and the other local team members have developed preferences for a few WeWork locations around the city. WeWork 500 7th Avenue, a large, colourful WeWork location in the Garment District with several floors and plenty of natural light, is a top choice for team collaboration. ‘There’s just a lot of open space,’ he explains.
Brown also has a couple of personal favourites. WeWork 154 West 14th Street, in New York City’s West Village, tops his list. Brown touts the office’s floor-to-ceiling windows, ample desk space, and large, comfortable sofas to relax on during breaks – as well as side table nooks for when he wants to work more privately.
Every other day we go to a different office.Devin A. Brown, digital marketing consultant and strategist
Then there’s WeWork 199 Water Street, located in the Financial District. It’s Brown’s go-to on the days he’s not working with his team, as it’s a convenient walkable commute from his home. WeWork 199 Water has a large lounge area with plenty of plants that give the space an open and calm feeling, he says. And it doesn’t hurt that the desks and table nooks are positioned by the floor-to-ceiling windows, giving members a view of downtown Manhattan.
Just a month in, Brown has already established his preferred work routine. He gets to the office early to get his preferred seating – and today it’s a desk with a comfortable desk chair by a window at WeWork 199 Water Street.
During a normal working day, Brown might have a few calls and meetings that he’ll either take at his desk or in one of WeWork’s phone booths. If he’s leading a meeting, he’ll generally use the phone booth for more privacy.
For larger team group meetings and strategy work, the team will book a private conference room. WeWork’s flexible conference room policy allows teams to book these spaces on an as-needed basis.
Finding structure after WFH
Leaving home for an office gives Brown a structure to his day that he’d been missing. He enjoys the clear delineation of where work ends and his personal life begins.
Though he’s still settling into his new role, Brown has been excited to discover some of the added perks that come with being a WeWork member. He’s attended pop-up events hosted by WeWork’s community organisers, where members can meet the extended WeWork community over doughnuts, snacks or happy hour.
He especially enjoyed a succulent-themed pop-up event at WeWork 880 Third Avenue, where members were able to choose a succulent plant to take home, along with instructions on how to take care of it indoors. These days, Brown tends to work outside his flat four days a week, but on the day he stays at home, that touch of greenery is a welcome addition to his now-occasional WFH space.
Leeron Hoory is a writer based in New York City who covers property, politics and technology. Her work has appeared in Quartz, The Village Voice, Gothamist, Slate and Salon, among others.