WHY CIRKLE’S NEW LONDON HOME AT ‘WEWORK’ WORKS
Last week Cirkle opened the doors to its London, Paddington office at WeWork. For those unfamiliar with WeWork (www.wework.com), the trendy office space provider valued at £14bn is redefining office culture by humanising how and where people work. This means the environment is more akin to an Urban Outfitters store but with the added bonus of free flowing Prosecco, craft beers, an endless supply of coffee shop quality coffee, posh teas and did I mention the biscuits? Yep they’ve got bourbons and custard creams
The company’s mission is to “create a world where people work to make a life not a living” so that a place of work becomes an extension of our lives, not somewhere we celebrate leaving on Fridays and dread returning to Mondays.
This may sound idyllic, and as I write those words the cynic in me rears its head, rolls its eyes and tuts, but I have to be honest, after breaking my WeWork cherry, I’m well and truly sold, WeWork, works and here’s why…
The practicalities of society’s dramatic changes over the last half century have heralded the workplace evolution driven by the following key factors:
- Creativity is the new economy, almost half the workforce today forms part of the creative class, which has considerably impacted the expectations we place on our work place environment. Uninspiring, drab, grey office spaces are a thing of the past, leaders in creative industries are now expected to inspire their workforce, engendering curiosity in their teams and instilling an appetite for being “in the know” and there is no question, workspace has a big role to play in motivating teams.
- Flexible working is also impacting ways of working, the freedom of near-ubiquitous wireless access and smart mobile devices means that work is morphing from a place into an activity; so much can be done without being tethered to a specific location. There is less rigidity in structure, workflow can be more natural and spontaneous and this changes the dynamics of how we use office space and there are time boundaries; smart devices carry instant social connections into work environments, it also brings continued connectivity to office work into home and leisure spaces beyond traditional office hours.
- “Always-on” working has also blurred the lines between personal time and work time; the Bleisure trend coined by the Future Laboratory sees employees tagging holidays onto business trips, recruitment, retention, innovation, and productivity now require not just coffee, but also yoga, not just printers, but also art installations.
WeWork was born out of an acceptance of these changes and the growing need to make the place you work a place you want to spend time in. Its founders; Miguel McKelvey, Adam Neumann and Rebekah Neumann, wanted to create beautiful shared offices where people feel part of a community, a place where success is measured in more than just the bottom line and where personal fulfilment and emotional wellbeing are equally important. This links to the companies values of being; TOGETHER, GRATEFUL, AUTHENTIC, TENACIOUS, ENTREPREUNERIAL and INSPIRED and is the heartbeat of the business. Even the building is architected to promote and support these values.
Each floor has a shared kitchen and communal space; the walls are not concrete but made of glass to promote light, a key factor in boosting workplace productivity. The transparency also has the effect of “breaking down walls” to instead promote familiarity. Corridors on each floor form a square around the building so you are encouraged to pass people and engage with the wider community and it’s this single corridor that leads to the shared spaces so you can’t avoid it.
All this and we haven’t even touched the detail placed on interior design, from the rugs, eclectic prints and mixed textured cushions, stylish seats you actually want to sit on and not just admire, adult swings in the meeting rooms, did I mention the flamingo wallpaper in the toilets? (my favourite place), every aspect of the space has been carefully and stylishly considered to create a home from home feel and support the scientifically credible notion that a pretty office makes for happier and harder working staff.
It doesn’t end there, on a daily basis, there is a host of networking events and reasons for the community to come together, whether it’s a meeting of minds for mindfulness & meditation, lunchtime running, sharing sushi & cocktails at happy hour or indulging in a little pampering with a massage or manicure. There is an opportunity to try something new and feel inspired every day and most important is the impact this has on our teams and ultimately that’s what it’s all about; making people feel happy and proud to get out of bed and go to work each day.
It’s only when things change that you realise the literal and metaphorical importance a ‘shake-up’ can have, the new office has given me a renewed sense of enthusiasm and purpose at work. In truth only time will tell but one thing is for sure, nothing sets us up for success better than this place and frankly that’s why WeWork, works.