Why I Don’t Believe in WeWork

Does the future of work have to look so much like the past?

Look at that rug.

I recently sat in an aged leather chair, my feet dangling over top of a very expensive Persian rug. I was waiting for a chance to speak to someone from WeWork at a Montreal conference I attended where the company had secured a lion’s share of the expo space to create a co-working space that mirrored what you’d expect to find in a typical WeWork space.

If you’ve never been in a typical WeWork space, I encourage you to go. Their co-working areas are made to feel homely, furnished with antique furniture, house plants, and a fully-equipped bar. The only downside is that to visit the space, you’d have to be living in a major metropolis. Sorry suburbians, no aged leather for you.

Finally my name was called and I was brought to sit on a couch — aged leather again, this time green and with many more authentic cracks — to meet with a representative. She pulled her Macbook off the steam trunk that doubled as a side table and began telling me about the wonders of WeWork, a co-operative working space that sought to bring entrepreneurs closer together by putting them all in the same room and encouraging collaboration.

For anyone that’s followed Cerri you’ll know that I love collaboration. In fact, it’s what the system is built around! But throughout the pitch I couldn’t help but wonder if WeWork wasn’t swimming upstream against the current of time.

The future of work isn’t having everyone commute into major metropolises so they can find someone who can help contribute to their idea. That’s the past! The future is online. The future is Fiverr and Upwork, it’s InVision and Cerri. It’s about decentralization, not antique desk space beside another person working on another idea.

You should be able to work on your projects on your time. You shouldn’t feel rushed to leave by 6 P.M. because a meet-up is going to be happening three desks down from where you sit.

Cerri was built for the future. For the fact that people all over the world can collaborate on a single project and stay organized enough to make sure deadlines are met. Sharing files should be done through a central repository, not through handing someone a USB key on your way to the bathroom.

Large cities don’t spawn ideas. The best designer in the world could currently be working in the middle of Fly-Over Country, USA. The world has gotten smaller and smaller thanks to the internet, it doesn’t need to become a microcosm within a large city in order to reach peak efficiency.

At the end of the presentation I shook the representative’s hand and thanked her for her time. I walked off that antique rug and made my way through the rest of the trade show. At the other end, tucked away in a back corner, was a 3D printing company that worked with architectural firms to create 3D blueprints. They told me that while most of their team was in Montreal, they relied heavily on a satellite office in Israel. They collaborated with them at odd hours, juggling a mix of applications to stay on the same page.

It was then, meeting that team, that I finally understood the future of how we will work.