ITA Spotlight: WeWork
Friday, October 26, 2018
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Ben Blair, Community Director, WeWork, @wework
Whether you need a desk, office suite, or entire HQ, we create environments that increase productivity, innovation, and collaboration.
In 25 words or less, what is WeWork all about?
● WeWork is a global network of workspaces where companies and people grow together. We transform buildings into dynamic environments for creativity, focus, and connection.
What problem do you solve and how do you solve it better than the competition?
● WeWork currently provides more than 265,000 members around the world with space, community, and services through both physical and digital offerings. We have solutions for companies of all sizes, from the solo-preneur to medium-sized companies to larger enterprise companies. Organizations find refreshingly designed collaborative space, private offices, and meeting rooms that energize their employees and their guests. Passionate staff handle amenities, events, and services—engaging teams and solving logistical headaches. Beyond those offerings, we have a global network of more than 285 locations. As a WeWork member, you have access to both our workspaces and member community through the WeWork app around the world.
How did you get started?
● When Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey started WeWork in 2010, they wanted to build more than beautiful, shared office spaces. They wanted to build a community. A place you join as an individual, ‘me’, but where you become part of a greater ‘we’. Since opening that one building eight years ago, we’ve grown to more 75 cities in more than 20 countries from Chicago to London to Bogota to Tel Aviv.
How has your company culture evolved as WeWork has grown?
● When I first started at WeWork in Chicago we had a small team, we only had two locations here, and everyone was pretty heavily involved in all aspects of the business. Over the past few years, as the company has seen tremendous expansion, and our teams are able to become functional rather than acting as generalists. We continue to keep up some of the same culture-building activities, like our TGIM meetings each Monday, which bring all of our Chicago employees together to go over the business and meet in person. It’s something we do across the company that’s a great way to ensure people across different functions and departments are able to connect.
Where do you see WeWork in two years? Five? Ten?
● We're bullish on the Chicago market and excited about our business here. We’re not only building out our WeWork locations, but we’re also building out dedicated real estate, design and construction teams in Chicago as well as marketing, sales and operations teams. We're going to continue to grow here.
What’s the No. 1 thing on your to-do list?
● At the top of my to-do list is to ensure that every one of our locations, from our original at 111 W. Illinois to the most recently opened, run consistently and at the same exceptional standard we hold ourselves to. In the end, we want every single WeWork member in Chicago to experience top-notch hospitality and office space that makes them feel that WeWork is the only home for their business and is crucial to their success.
What are the biggest challenges you face as you scale your business?
● Similar to many other businesses that are scaling rapidly, maintaining the great company culture that we’ve cultivated at WeWork can be a challenge, but it’s something we spend a lot of time thinking about and working on to make sure we get it right day in and day out.
This one is all you… anything else you want to tell us?
● One of the coolest parts about working at WeWork is seeing the growth of some of our members. We have companies that started with one hot desk and have grown their business to 10 to 50 to 100+ employees at WeWork. Seeing these members succeed and being a catalyst for their growth is n great to be a part of the job. I also love hearing the feedback about our Community teams and how our programming and networking events have helped them professionally and personally.