My review of WeWork

WeWork — San Diego

As some of you probably know, I recently moved to San Diego from Prague and so naturally, one of my first goals in the new city was to find an office space that would allow me to focus on my work and also help me meet some interesting, local people from a tech industry. After visiting a few coworking campuses around and thinking about pros and cons of each of them, I decided to set-up my office in WeWork — San Diego. Here is my authentic review, where I try to summarize my experience, positives and negatives included.

For those who haven’t heard about WeWork, WeWork is one of the tech unicorns (I believe currently valued at $20 billion) providing private offices and coworking spaces to freelancers, creatives, startups and small-to-medium companies. Currently, WeWork has over 110 campuses in U.S, Europe, Australia and Asia, in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, London, Sydney, Berlin, Shanghai, Seoul, Hong Kong etc.

Why WeWork

I feel that WeWork offers a good combination of mostly everything I need. If you are an introvert and you enjoy your privacy, just pay WeWork private office membership (in San Diego it is $630 dollars/mo for private office or $450 for a dedicated desk), if you don’t mind noise, just prepay WeWork hotdesk/coworking membership ($300 dollars/month).

Terrace

Positives

  1. WeWork campuses are mostly located in lively city neighborhoods and not in the boring suburbs. It means there is a good commute, nice restaurants and bars around, basically all surrounding areas are very active (even though I have to admit San Diego’s downtown cannot be compared to downtowns of cities such as New York, Chicago, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague etc). I think it is pretty clear what WeWork is doing here as they have been trying to aim at millennials generation, who as we all know prefer to live exactly this way.

2. you can move there right away. You don’t have to deal with furniture, wifi costs, and other fees, as everything is included. You just go to WeWork, talk with a community manager, pay some deposit, and here you go. You have your office almost right away and you can cancel your membership anytime.

3. cafeteria, terrace, relax rooms, ping-pong tables. I really enjoy all these amenities as they allow you to slow-down when you need it and not to be permanently focus on your work and get burned-out after a while. If you feel tired, you just head to WeWork bar, get a free coffee/beer or buy something at the WeWork market by using your WeWork mobile app.

4. WeWork membership. WeWork has its own social network, which I would describe as Facebook meets LinkedIn. Looking for a programmer, graphic designer or cofounder? I think that currently, WeWork has over 85 000 members worldwide, so there is a high-chance you will find somebody. If you think about the number of people using it, it is also a pretty good marketing tool.

Breakout space

5. You can use WeWork globally — I feel this is one of the biggest benefits of WeWork, especially if you travel a lot. WeWork membership allows you to visit each of WeWork’s campuses and simply work there. For example, you know that next week you will be in New York and don’t want to spend your working hours in coffee shops drinking expensive flat whites. Nothing easier than going to one of New York’s WeWork campuses, pay a daily fee and that is it. When entering you just use your black WeWork card.

6. WeWork service store — WeWork has recently launched its service store, offering discounts for software and services such as Zendesk, Zipcar, UpWork etc (haven’t tried this yet)

7. interior design — most of the campuses just look very good—WeWork cooperates with some really big architecture and design firms, and it is really evident when you look at some of their campuses. I think that nobody really wants to work in a cave these days with no windows and more and more companies realise this. If you really think about that, you spend a big portion of your day in your job and so naturally you want to feel good there.

For example look at this WeWork campus in Shanghai. So cool right?

WeWork in Shanghai / photo by Lauren Kallen

8. it is opened 24/7

9. professional and friendly stuff. Basically, nothing was a problem. As I said though, my experience is based only on WeWork in San Diego, so this is very subjective and I also heard about some negative experiences from other people.

10. availability of parking

11. no extra fees and charges, you can quit anytime, just like that

Lobby

negatives

  1. too much hype — for me this is the biggest disadvantage of coworking spaces in general. If you don’t like constant chit-chat talks, events, meetings and “when you work, then you really work”, it is possible that you might get into uncomfortable situations. In every coworking space I visited I almost always came across people who mostly like to talk about a work (not actually do it) or themselves, and their main goal was to just show off with their brand new Macbook Pro with emoji keyboard.

I think this is the current problem in tech in general. Because you know, 15 years ago working in a tech meant you were probably labeled as an outsider, or almost autistic, while today it has that cool startup aura and it seems like everybody wants to be in. This, unfortunately, attracts many people who only care about trends and in reality don’t have any real skills. I believe though, that once this tech hype slow-down a little bit it will get back to the more normal state. At this moment, we can definitely see some bullshi* around. We have all these tech conferences where people boost their egos and actually don’t say anything valuable, some con-artist mentors trying to give tips even though they have never built a successful business, etc. but as I said, I believe it is not permanent.

2. pricing — for some people, the pricing model might be a bit steep. This, of course, varies ineach city. In San Diego,the hotdesk starts at $300/mo. Private office starts at $630/mo. In New York it is few hundred dollars more.

So that is it. Next time I would like to try and then review Alley coworking, Projective Coworking, and The Farm coworking (all located in NYC).