Microsoft already has one office in New York City, but beginning this month it’s going to have more than 30.
That’s because the corporation is securing WeWork memberships for about 70 percent of its international sales force based in the New York City area. That means that these 300 people will have access to all WeWork locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
The reason? Microsoft’s Matt Donovan says it’s all about making the workforce as flexible as possible. It cuts down on transit time for the sales team, giving them time to meet with more customers during the day.
“When someone on our sales team is down at the bottom of Manhattan meeting with someone in the finance sector, then they can just use WeWork Charging Bull,” he says. “In that space, they can have a meeting, have a coffee, relax, or whatever. Then when they have to meet with a customer uptown, they can switch to one of the other WeWork locations.”
When I think about us as a company, it’s interesting to reflect on the fact that we were once a startup as well,” says Microsoft’s Matt Donovan. “I think that Bill Gates and his team would have loved to have started out of a community like WeWork.
It’s not the only space that Microsoft is taking at WeWork. It’s also offering employees what it calls “touch down” spaces at two WeWork locations in New York, as well as two others in Philadelphia and Portland. These dedicated spaces will be reserved for Microsoft employees.
On top of that, Microsoft is moving its 37-member sales staff in Atlanta into WeWork Buckhead.
Donovan says the decision to move its sales team is the result of a longer collaboration with WeWork. A year ago, the corporation began offering Office 365 to members of WeWork.
“When we started working with WeWork, we looked at the new experience that they’ve created here,” he says. “We looked at it and thought, ‘Wow, that could be great for some of our teams. We need to get them in here.’”
He says the second benefit is exposing Microsoft employees to the vibe at WeWork.
“There’s so much energy, creativity, and passion around you at WeWork,” he says. “I think there’s going to be an extra benefit for them just from being part of the community.”
Because it’s constantly on the move, Donovan says the sales team was the first logical department to place in WeWork offices. And he envisions others moving into locations down the line.
Microsoft isn’t the first large corporation to take space in WeWork—GE, Dell, and Google are among the established companies.
Donovan notes that while WeWork has always been a great experience for startups, it’s now an ideal place for larger companies like Microsoft.
“When I think about us as a company, it’s interesting to reflect on the fact that we were once a startup as well,” says Donovan. “I think that Bill Gates and his team would have loved to have started out of a community like WeWork.”
Photos: Lauren Kallen