WeWork is most known for offering flexible workspace solutions, but that flexibility extends to many more services as well. Members can enhance and personalize their office space with technology services that suit their distinct needs. These services are offered in bundles that can be tailored to different workspace types. The bundles include things like dedicated internet bandwidth, enterprise direct connect VPN, private Wi-Fi (SSID), private VLAN, on-site colocation, firewall-as-a-service (FWaas), and private videoconferencing rooms.
Ultimately, WeWork’s tech services offer members the network performance, speed, security, and reliability to work efficiently with the security of an exclusive, password-protected environment. Now more than ever, businesses are relying on solutions like these to better serve their customers. While additional costs apply for these services, hardware, installation, and product support are included.
We had a conversation with four employees on the team that designed and built these services to learn more about how they’re impacting businesses of all kinds.
WeWork: Why is technology, and the tech services WeWork offers, so valuable to businesses?
Charif Downes, global enterprise account director in New York City: Whenever someone is taking an office, there is always some customization, but IT is always consistent. Sometimes there are structural or furniture or branding changes [they request], but IT is always something that is considered. Before our tech services were rolled out, it was a bit daunting to think of every requirement you needed to rescope for every new company that came in. Now it’s pretty easy to say, “We have this menu of options. What do you need? We can get you up and running very quickly.”
I’ve worked closely on one client who uses us as a full service. They trust our space, IT infrastructure, networks, and ability to upgrade. They trust us to deploy a site and get them up and running in new markets pretty quickly, and still have the same IT integrity they have at their headquarters.
Fred Kim, senior project executive in San Ramon, CA: I would even take that further, Charif. IT is a nonnegotiable. A business’s network is a nonnegotiable. They can live without furniture, but IT, infosec, and security are nonnegotiables.
Andrew Newman, global enterprise account director in New York City: To add to that, I think in the past we had good tech products. This packaging of tech services takes it to another level. It’s taking what we’ve seen our members consistently need, and packages those things up.
What business challenges and member requests led to the creation of these tech solutions?
Alex Fox, senior solutions architect in New York City: WeWork used to have a function called Powered by We, a team consisting of architects, project managers, MEP engineers, and interior designers. This team would tailor solutions to members’ needs. When members would want a different office layout, a different number of conference rooms, more pantries, or different technical requirements, we would build these custom projects.
From then, it became a common theme. In 2018, we brought in a lot of top tech talent. That’s when we came up with dedicated bandwidth and got leadership’s support to launch these new offerings.
Kim: We saw what services enterprise companies needed and streamlined the ability for WeWork to meet their demands.
I can tell you that one particular member has consistently used our tech services product and has given us glowing reviews. They recently told us WeWork is a critical component of their global growth strategy. They said without our tech services, they would not have the success they do. Some of their specific uses are dedicated bandwidth, public IPs, service set identifiers (SSIDs)—those are all offerings they use pretty regularly.
How have members responded to the tech service offerings?
Newman: Just to add onto Fred, a client I’m working with is one of his client’s biggest competitors and they have the same process.
Think of it like this: They have traders who are sitting in our space. Those traders can’t risk having downtime, because the minute their internet is not able to provide what they need, they lose millions of dollars because they can’t trade. The dedicated bandwidth product, whether it’s for a four- or a 10-person office, or a 250-person or 500-person office, is fundamental to their strategy.
When two competitors use a product for the same reason and have the same real estate strategy, that shows proof of value.
Kim: A lot of enterprise companies like to operate on their own network, bring their own gear, bring their own security system. One benefit WeWork provides is the ability for them to start operating sooner, rather than the typical lead time of 90 days for them to get up and running. If they say, “I want an office in Warsaw, and I want to be able to operate by next week,” they can do that with WeWork. They can’t do that with a direct lease opportunity. This is our true value proposition for our tech services: It’s speed, ease, and convenience.
How has the pandemic changed companies’ approach to technology?
Kim: In the COVID-19 environment, a lot of companies were unsure of their return-to-work strategies. With real estate, you’re looking at 12–18 months minimum for planning and providing a workplace environment for employees. In the U.S., we’re looking at coming back to a normalcy where companies are now scrambling to find real estate solutions for their employees to come back to. Many companies want to be able to have spaces by July 1, and the only way they can accomplish that is through WeWork or a tech provider. Our tech services enable that quick move-in.
What does success look like now with these new offerings?
Fox: I think success would be increasing NPS with our customer base, and creating stickiness so that they renew at the end of their lease. Ultimately, we want to solve for our members’ needs.
Delesia Watson is a New York City–based writer. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Business Insider, Fodor’s Travel, and more. Away from her laptop, Watson enjoys DIY home projects, vintage shopping, and watching cheesy movies. Say firstname.lastname@example.org.