A major shift is happening in the American workforce. The rise of the independent worker is shaking up the way companies and individuals operate. By 2020, freelancers are expected to grow from 7 percent to 16 percent of the workforce. Now, new businesses are cropping up to meet the needs of these workers and help them continue to intentionally blur the lines between work, life, and play.
(Photo Credit: Payton Chung/Flickr)
Opening the doors to their first office in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood in 2010, WeWork is a commercial real estate startup that offers office alternatives to independent workers. In just five years, WeWork has grown into a $5 billion business with 29 locations across the U.S. and abroad. The demand for their services is high; the office in New York’s Meatpacking District even has a two-year wait list.
So, what are they offering? The main attraction is access to a workspace, complete with conference rooms, Wi-Fi, and a lot of perks. Next, the company highlights the community of creative professionals and networking opportunities made available to their members. And, finally, services — WeWork promises access to over 100 member-only discounts that are meant to make your life, and work, a little more pleasant.
Could WeWork — or another co-working option — work for you? Here are a few reasons it might.
1. The office spaces are really nice.
If you work from home, you might get a little sick of those same four walls day after day. After shuffling yourself and your work in and out of libraries, coffee shops, lunch joints, and bars, just to try to shake things up a little and keep your momentum flowing, you may find yourself occasionally yearning for the comfort of more traditional office surroundings. WeWork offers that for freelancers. The offices, community spaces, conference rooms, and kitchens are comfortable and clean, and might just be the thing you need to jumpstart your motivation and productivity.
2. The feel of a new, bright space could change your energy.
It might be more than productivity that changes as a result of becoming a WeWork member. Our surroundings often have a powerful impact on things like mood and creativity. If you’re coming up against an obstacle you can’t seem to power past, or you need to find new solutions to problems but can’t find that inspiration to innovate, changing your environment (especially in such a major way), could help you break out of that rut and find the creative energy to meet your goals.
3. Connecting with other independent workers is good.
WeWork co-founder and CCO Miguel McKelvey is keen to point out the network of creative professionals that their offices connect. He said:
“WeWork is a platform for creators. It’s a place where people who are trying to bring something to the world can come and find support. And hopefully, it makes it easy for them to follow their passions and their dreams.”
4. Fun services make everything better.
From free beer to waffle brunches, WeWork offices are chock full of fun services. The idea is that independent workers need a lot of services, because they work so hard. Toiling away doesn’t seem so bad when it’s done in a lounge chair, with massage breaks, and free sodas. The perks have been compared to those of Google offices, making the WeWork office a place you won’t mind spending a huge amount of time. (By the way, they’re open weekdays from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.).
5. It’s not that expensive.
Membership with WeWork is certainly a lot cheaper than leasing a commercial space. Considering everything that comes with it, the $229 a month membership is pretty impressive. Between the discounts, the services, and the networking opportunities they make available, your membership could end up paying for itself pretty quickly.
Of course, WeWork is far from the only coworking option available for freelancers, especially ones in major cities. If coffee shops and libraries are no longer meeting your needs, you can look for coworking options in your area with a quick Google. (Or, check out this list from Tech.co, rounding up the cheapest spaces in many cities.)
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