Engaging Employees In Ways That Work: What To Learn From WeWork

by Dora Wang on Dec 23, 2014 7:30:00 AM

WeWork LogoIf you hadn’t heard of WeWork before, we bet you did after the four-year-old company was valued at $5 billion (and still looking to grow). The shared-office space provider is definitely a hit with workers—it boasts a membership of “16,000 and counting.” They’re clearly doing something right when it comes to employee engagement.

Built-In Brain Share

By the very nature of this work space industry, WeWork encourages collaboration. Multiple companies can be working in one shared office space. And since the majority of WeWork’s customers are start-ups, there’s a common entrepreneurial spirit that emphasizes creativity and growth.

Neighbors can network for each other’s expertise, while the company’s online community connects members across locations. WeWork also organizes events and actively encourages their clients to do the same, providing another forum for shared learning and inspiration. For employees who are fueled by the meeting of minds, this work format is a dream.

Working To Make A Life

Check out WeWork’s mission statement: “To create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living.” Their philosophy doesn’t look at a job as a 9-to-5 sphere that’s separate from the rest of an employee’s life.

To that end, their offices are outfitted with spaces for everything from meditation to bocce, plus perks like free beer and micro-roasted coffee. These may look like simple goodies that just provide a little welcome distraction, but together they point to an approach that treats work as a lifestyle, a place that engages all parts of an employee.

And outside of the office? WeWork encourages the inter-company relationships to continue with activities like regular happy hours.

Staying Up To Speed

WeWork’s style is also nimble enough to keep up with the pace of work. The office spaces are an all-in-one package that provides basic furniture, utilities, and more, all the way down to the details of Internet service and color printing. Month-to-month occupancy and all-hours access keep the service flexible for the unique and changing needs of individual companies.

Putting resources at the fingertips of employees turns their time and attention away from the mundane—which leaves more bandwidth for meaningful engagement.

Not every company needs a space like WeWork offers, and certainly not all can offer the specific qualities of the WeWork experience. But it’s worth taking a look at this successful company’s methods to see what resonates with employees, and which methods you might adopt for your own.

 

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This post was written by Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement researcher for TINYpulse and managing editor of TINYinstitute. Having grown up in Texas, she is now firmly settled in Seattle, where she spends her free time reading comic books, wrangling her three cats, and (of course) rooting for the Seahawks.

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