The ways we work have fundamentally changed. People no longer seek just 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.
When Brooke Naylor moved to New York City after college, she had a romanticized view of the daily grind of working in her favorite metropolis. “I wanted to wake up early, be a little bit tired because I’m rushing, put on an outfit, and get on the subway holding my coffee,” she says.
Unfortunately, it was the fall of 2021 and most people were still working from home. Brooke’s new role as a growth marketing and operations associate was with Creatively, a job platform for creatives—and a fully remote company.
“All I ever wanted was to live and work in New York, and I didn’t feel like I was living and working in New York,” she says of being in her apartment all the time.
Her older sister, Katherine Naylor—senior creative partnerships manager at Cameo, a marketplace connecting the world’s talent with fans and brands—had moved to New York earlier in the pandemic but lived in a different neighborhood. She was also finding it hard to work at a desk next to her bed.
160 Varick really did become a special place for us.Brooke Naylor, Growth Marketing and Operations Associate at Creatively
Katherine was determined that they create a new work routine that involved leaving their apartments. “If you’re in your mid-to-late 20s, you should be out and about,” says Katherine, who is in her late 20s. So the sisters decided to sign up for WeWork All Access together to find a better place to work.
For a few months, the sisters went to WeWork locations all over Manhattan, texting each other every morning to choose a destination and negotiating based on weather and distance. (Brooke was always up for a subway ride.)
When they walked into WeWork 160 Varick St., it was clear that this would become their place. There was space for them to sit next to each other and also take calls. They loved the front desk people, and there was continuous programming that built community. The public table in the front was their go-to spot. Plus, the perks made it feel like a real office experience, with Wine Wednesdays, bagel days, and little wellness gifts for members.
“That type of stuff mimicked what I imagined an office to be like,” says Brooke, who had never before worked in an office after graduating from college during the pandemic.
Aside from the workspace advantages the sisters were enjoying, they were also forming a stronger bond now that they were coworkers. Before Brooke moved to New York, they hadn’t lived in the same city for eight years. Now they were eating lunch together every day and talking about their personal lives like best friends do. They were also helping each other navigate the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. “Even though things had changed and people were vaccinated, there were new stressors,” says Katherine.
The daily routine and newfound closeness with Katherine gave Brooke the stability she needed as she adjusted to life after graduation. “No one really talks about how hard the transition from college to real life is, and being able to see Katherine every day while going through it made such a huge difference,” she says. At the end of each workday, the sisters parted ways, saying, “Love you, see you tomorrow.”
They also had fun together, taking Snapchat videos at the office and becoming friendly with the other regulars at WeWork 160 Varick St. A few months into working there, they laughed when they found out that what they thought of as their “tiny, niche” WeWork had a huge room with lots of desks for All Access members. So they did their Goldilocks routine again to figure out which spots were the best ones. “160 Varick really did become a special place for us,” says Brooke.
Spending so much time together meant discovering new things about each other. Katherine learned that Brooke “truly takes care of her people,” because on long days Brooke would always make sure her sister took a moment to eat. Brooke got to see her sister’s professional demeanor—which was surprising at first. “When I started listening to her on calls, it was so funny for me. I slowly got used to it,” Brooke says.
Unsurprisingly, their parents were thrilled that they were going to WeWork together. “They were so happy that we were really taking care of each other,” says Brooke. “We’d sometimes send them selfies when we got to the office,” like on the day they were each wearing one of their parents’ vintage sweaters.
For Katherine’s birthday in July, Brooke wanted to do something to commemorate the time they’d spent side by side working, chatting, and supporting each other. She bought her a gold bar bracelet with “160 Varick” engraved on it.
The sisters took a break from WeWork All Access earlier this year (although Katherine can often be found working at the Cameo offices at WeWork 130 Madison). But this past August, Brooke restarted her WeWork membership—she felt the urge to get back into a daily routine. “Of course, I went straight back to 160 Varick,” she says. “Hopefully I can convince Katherine to come with me every now and again as a guest.”
Lynette Chiu is a Brooklyn-based writer whose work has appeared in Guernica and Narratively.