Today’s workers are moving to live close—really close—to their jobs

Here's how that decision is boosting their lifestyle—and improving their neighborhoods

WeWork’s 2019 Global Impact Report reveals how WeWork helps individuals and businesses thrive, energizes neighborhoods, and accelerates economic growth in 75 cities around the world. Here are some of our community’s stories.

When Karuna Consulting moved its headquarters from suburban Leawood, Kansas, to the sprawling WeWork Corrigan Station in Kansas City, Missouri, social-media and digital-marketing strategist Krstn Bennett didn’t just recalculate her commute—she packed up and followed.

She wasn’t the only one. Sixteen percent of members in Kansas City have moved closer to their WeWork location since joining, according to WeWork’s 2019 Global Impact Report. Worldwide, that figure is one in 10.

Gone are the days of commuting an hour to your office in the city from your home in the suburbs. Like Bennett, today’s workers want to live close to their jobs, and that decision is boosting their lifestyles—and improving their new neighborhoods.

Bennett’s decision to follow Karuna Consulting to Kansas City was practical and emotional.  “I obviously wanted to be closer, streetwise, but also to be in the Crossroads Arts District,” says Bennett of the vibrant neighborhood that’s home not only to WeWork Corrigan Station, but boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, as well as architectural and design firms. “It’s a thriving community,” she says, and one she couldn’t necessarily find in the suburbs.

Bennett speculates that the influx of residents in the Crossroads Arts District is because of a number of infrastructure investments in the city, both via city government and private industry. WeWork Corrigan Station is a prime example of the latter: The building was built in 1921 as a garment factory. WeWork transformed four of its 10 floors into private offices and co-working space.

Where WeWork goes, neighborhoods—and the people, businesses, and economic activity within them—thrive. Globally, 70 percent of WeWork members didn’t work in the neighborhood prior to joining their respective WeWork location. But since joining, 34 percent of those members visit local neighborhood cafés, restaurants, and businesses daily, bringing more activity and spending to local restaurants and shops.

Bennett’s commute to work isn’t just shorter now—it’s also more efficient. She no longer drives; instead, she sings the praises of WeWork Corrigan Station’s direct access to the Kansas City Streetcar system, with a northbound stop outside the building. The streetcar, which opened for service in May 2016, reflects a push for more sustainable modes of transportation in Kansas City and other cities.  

Electric-scooter rental service Bird, a WeWork member company with workspaces in eight cities worldwide, launched in 2017 to cater to that demand. While an executive at Lyft and Uber, Bird founder Travis VanderZanden discovered that most trips on both ride-sharing platforms were 3 miles or shorter. There had to be a more eco-friendly answer for quick trips, he thought. Enter Bird, which has since to more than 100 cities worldwide (including, yes, Kansas City).

“There’s an increased awareness of how, essentially, cars are killing people, our environment, and our time,” says Rebecca Hahn, Bird’s SVP of communications. “You no longer have to use a car because there are other choices out there.”

A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, but sustainable transportation alternatives like Bird are lessening our dependence on motor vehicles. WeWork members are on board: 76 percent of WeWork members globally use sustainable forms of public transportation, while 40 percent of WeWork members who used to drive by themselves to work have switched to using more sustainable forms of transit since joining.

“You don’t have to go all or nothing,” says Hahn, who is realistic about the need for cars on the road, especially in places outside of metropolitan areas. “If you replace half of your car trips that are 3 miles or less, you’re making a positive impact. That’s a good place to start.”

Bennett has found that the biggest perk of moving closer to her workplace is the community vibe. “I can walk down the street and I’ll see two people I know and can say hi to,” she says of the small-town feel of her urban neighborhood. “The community really does rally around each other, network with each other, and build each other up as much as possible.”

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