Six ways enterprises are leveraging WeWork’s agile real estate

From company headquarters to innovation spaces, here’s how flexible real estate allows corporations to reach their business goals

Enterprise companies are not all built the same. There are myriad differences between a global tech giant and an investment bank, a high-end retailer and a car manufacturer. But every enterprise company can benefit from increased agility. 

The ability to work fast, pivot, and respond to challenges as they happen can be a business’s greatest asset. Agility means quickly reaching customers in new markets, offering prospective employees the opportunity to work on groundbreaking projects, investing in the latest technology, and innovating a product offering to respond to market demand. It’s no wonder that 70 percent of agile organizations rank in the top quarter of organizational health—the strongest indicator of positive long-term performance, according to McKinsey.

Real estate, too, can be agile, by allowing companies to adapt their portfolio as needed for the health and growth of their business, while decreasing up-front capital investment and reducing risk. 

Today, more than one-third of the Fortune 500 are leveraging WeWork’s agile real estate solutions to achieve their business goals. Take a look at how.

1. Company headquarters: Oscar Health

Rapid growth had poised tech-driven insurer Oscar Health to successfully scale, but in 2018, their existing New York headquarters could no longer hold all their talent. As a solution, Oscar Health identified WeWork to source, design, and build out a new space. 

In May 2019, Oscar moved more than 500 employees into their new headquarters at One Hudson Square in downtown Manhattan. The office reflects their brand and encompasses every feature on their wish list: The open floor plan has a variety of functional workspaces, ranging from individual booths to open lounges, to complement different work styles.

By partnering with WeWork, Oscar was able to save time and money. “Working with WeWork for cost savings, time efficiency, and streamlining the overall process was a win on all three counts,” says Charlie Mirisola, workplace operations manager at Oscar.

2. Regional headquarters: Slack

Slack, the workplace communication tool, provides a digital platform for the free flow of relevant information between employees. The company is headquartered in the heart of San Francisco and has offices in 10 cities around the world, from Vancouver to Tokyo. Yet Slack ensures that each of those regional offices meets their unique requirements and feels like extensions of the headquarters.

When evaluating real estate partners to further expand their footprint, Slack considered only those whose values and approach aligned with their own. They were also looking for flexible real estate solutions that wouldn’t tie up their funds in a 10- to 15-year traditional lease. 

“For any company, expenditures on capital is a dollar that we didn’t spend on R&D, it’s a dollar that we didn’t spend on marketing, it’s a dollar that we didn’t spend on headcount,” says Deano Roberts, Slack’s vice president of global workplace and real estate.

That’s why, when it came time to build out a regional headquarters in New York, Slack turned to WeWork.

Slack’s New York team now resides in a private, personalized WeWork space in a prime neighborhood. The workspace is warm, inviting, and outfitted with Slack’s branding and custom artwork. 

“When I look at the most meaningful and impactful workplaces, I think there’s a deep alignment between tools, culture, and spaces,” says Roberts. “Slack is a collaboration hub where people can come together to do the best work of their lives. And WeWork is a physical manifestation of that.”

3. Innovation hub: Standard Chartered

In 2018, Standard Chartered, a multinational financial services company, launched SC Ventures. This business unit was charged with driving digital innovation, investing in fin-tech and startups, and piloting new business models—all with the goal of improving the customer banking experience. The company had space on the ninth floor of their Standard Chartered Tower in Hong Kong, but it needed a complete overhaul to inspire the SC Ventures team to do cutting-edge work.

Standard Chartered decided to partner with WeWork to transform that floor into a collaborative workspace, fit for innovation, dubbed the “eXellerator Lab.” 

Dr. Michael Gorriz, group chief information officer at Standard Chartered, explains, “The word ‘eXellerator’ stems from two words: ‘acceleration’ in change and ‘excellence’ in client service.” The eXellerator Lab includes flexible classrooms, different types of meeting rooms, and even a large lounge to accommodate a wide range of events and day-to-day workshops. 

“The eXellerator in Hong Kong lets us bring ideas, skills, and, importantly, individuals—clients, fintech entrepreneurs, colleagues from the bank—together to enable innovation,” says Alex Manson, global head of SC Ventures, Standard Chartered.

4. Satellite office: Nio

Nio, a Chinese electric car company with global ambitions, has grown rapidly over the past four years. With 12 offices around the world (and counting), the company is home to a wide breadth of talent, including design, research and development, manufacturing, and customer care experts.

With the large amount of specialized teams, Nio saw that employees from different offices needed to come together and collaborate. In addition, with their aggressive innovation goals and the ever-changing nature of the electric automobile industry, Nio employees needed to constantly test and learn from new ideas. The company sought one central space for cross-functional teamwork.

For this innovative transformation, Nio turned to WeWork. Together, they identified WeWork One ITC, in the heart of Shanghai, as the ideal location. WeWork then developed a private floor as a satellite office.

“The new space is great for internal collaboration and creates a perfect balance between individual and team work,” says Jili Liu, head of Nio Life. “WeWork redefined our office space by building a unique community for us.”

5. Touchdown space for traveling teams: Microsoft

Microsoft’s New York City–based sales team had been working out of the company’s headquarters: a WeWork location in Times Square. Each day, hundreds of team members fanned out across the New York region on sales meetings. Yet, all that travel time caused them to lose valuable working hours as they went back and forth between meetings and their headquarters.

WeWork proposed a solution: WeWork access, which would give 300 employees the ability to work from any WeWork location in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens

“We started to think of the benefit to our teams, which is what drives us as a company,” says Matt Donovan, general manager at Microsoft.

The ability to work from any WeWork completely transformed the employee experience for the tech giant. In fact, 92 percent of Microsoft employees surveyed were satisfied with the WeWork locations they visited; 84 percent of those surveyed believe access to WeWork locations makes them more productive; and 74 percent say WeWork access allows them to get close to customers.

6. Business development opportunities: Royal Bank of Canada

RBC at WeWork 1 University Ave in Toronto. Photograph by The We Company

While leveraging WeWork locations to quickly scale up agile project teams in key cities around the world, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) saw an opportunity to fully use these assets: WeWork’s community of more than 400,000 members—ranging from entrepreneurs to global enterprises—could all benefit from RBC’s financial and business expertise.

In September 2017, RBC launched advice hubs in Toronto and Montreal WeWork locations. From those hubs, RBC employees could provide support for WeWork members, whether they needed help applying for a loan, optimizing their capital structure, or growing their headcount.

This partnership has been a win-win. WeWork members get valuable financial advice at no cost, and working alongside their clients allows RBC employees “to understand our clients’ business and financial needs on a deeper level,” says Niranjan Vivekanandan, vice president, strategy, commercial banking at RBC.

For all these reasons and more, WeWork’s agile real estate solutions can support your business goals. Let’s talk about how we can build the future of work, together.

Marnie Williams is a global content marketing manager at WeWork. She writes about the intersection of business and real estate. Previously, she created data-driven editorial and video at Oracle.

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