WeWork is there for companies, not for people.

Gregor Gimmy, managing director of the Munich management consultancy 27pilots, gave a rare insight into the customer experience at WeWork in a blog post on LinkedIn this weekend. Gimmy and his team were members of a WeWork in Munich for four months before they quit and moved into their own offices. They probably avoided being thrown out, as Justin Zhen experienced after criticizing WeWork in 2016.

Gimmys criticism of WeWork can be summarized in three points:

  1. The team units at WeWork are tiny and very expensive.
  2. WeWork doesn’t give you space or service for your money.
  3. What WeWork promises its customers, the company does not keep.

His criticism ends with a hypothesis from him that I think is correct:

They [WeWork] cater to the needs of large corporates and their CFOs/COOs, and not to those of the office worker (and certainly not to the needs of startups). In our WeWork we had corporates such as AWS, Condé Nast, Bosch, BSH Hausgeräte, Siemens, Uber and SAP/Qualtrics. I can’t image the CEO of any of these tenants to move into WeWork.

Gregor Gimmy, 27pilots

WeWork is the easiest solution for companies.

WeWork is for companies, not people. That is not reprehensible in itself, but it prevents the urgently needed change in the working world. Going to WeWork as a company is easy. It doesn’t put your own corporate culture under pressure, the C-level doesn’t go with it and can continue as before. The employees, on the other hand, are not asked and now work out of the WeWork glass box instead of their own office.

The same thing happens when companies send their teams in coworking spaces. That is similar to digitization. “If they digitize a shit process, then they have a shit digital process,” explained the former CEO of Telefónica Deutschland AG, Thorsten Dirks, at the business summit of the Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2015. If they put a team in a team room instead of in an office, that doesn’t change anything — only the location of the team.

In my opinion, Gimmy made the same mistake. Rooms shape people, which is why teams, in particular, whether startups or companies, should pay much attention to the rooms in which they work. The solution of a shared workspace provider is not always the best one for the team. To find the best solution, you should ask the people in the group what they want. Moreover, give them the freedom to find out what they really want.

Header Image: swettysensor_666, CC0 1.0