"It is about how we make space an enabler of amazing things rather than just a place where you might do amazing things." —Wanda Lau, ARCHITECT
Sourcing content from several good articles, let's journey into the newest workspace trend: shared, flexible leased space, or “co-working” spaces.
At WeWork, our focus has always been on providing a workplace that helps people create a life, not just a living—one that improves productivity, encourages collaboration, and ultimately fosters an engaging environment that makes people excited to come to work each day.
“By offering such flexible, attractive, and affordable office spaces, WeWork has cornered the co-working market faster than anyone would have expected,” explains Murrye Bernard, American Institute of Architects. “Founded in 2010 with a single location in New York, the privately held company now boasts 600 locations in 100 cities and 25 countries. And counting.”
WeWork is now the largest office tenant in Manhattan with 50 locations in Manhattan. Now rebranded as The We Company, the SoftBank-backed co-working giant that was last valued at $47 billion. Its headcount is roughly 10,000, and it plans to bring on an 6,000 additional employees this year.
Bernard goes on to say, “WeWork’s growing its stake in large-scale workplace solutions—from office layouts and interior design to branding and signage—for desirable clients such as Spotify, Microsoft, Pinterest, Sprint, and Salesforce.”
“Technology is a fundamental tool that helps us optimize workplaces,” explains The We Company Team regarding their acquisition of leading spatial-analytics platform, Euclid. “With this addition to our offering, we will help enterprises better understand how their employees use workplaces, and create more productive, engaging spaces for their teams.”
GPS technology, which essentially is a location finding tool, is indispensable in most of our lives. That is, until we enter a building, where it is unreliable at best. Euclid is now changing that.
The We Company Team details the integrated vision:
“Since its founding, Euclid’s San Francisco-based team has built a proprietary analytic offering that uses WiFi signals to understand how space is used without the installation of any additional hardware. Through this deal, Euclid will become completely integrated within WeWork. Its team and capabilities will now focus on accelerating the development of a workplace-insights solution.
"Last fall, WeWork acquired Teem, a leading software and analytics provider. Teem’s space management technology provides insights to maximize employee success and fully optimize space for an enterprise’s entire real estate portfolio. With the insights from Teem’s platform, the solutions they develop with Euclid will provide leaders with real-time information around space utilization and aggregate data around workplace engagement.
"The result: a more productive, satisfying, and collaborative experience for the workforce."
Spatial analytics?? Huh??
Daniel Davis, Lead Researcher at WeWork, unpacks the multifaceted phrase:
“There are obviously many factors that determine the success of a workspace, some of them quantifiable, some of them not. Recently, WeWork has begun to assess buildings by starting to tease out these factors in a process termed Spatial Analytics.
"Despite being organized and designed differently at every location, each WeWork building contains similar elements: all have offices, lounges, and other components that are common to a WeWork space. These commonalities allow comparison to see whether those with large lounges foster better communities or whether buildings with more phone booths have fewer noise complaints.
"To give one example from this research, WeWork analyzed the size of meetings in the conference rooms. In other words, what is the average size of a meeting in a four-person conference room? In a six-person room? In a 12?
"Your intuition might be that a four-person room tends to have four people in it, and a 12-person room tends to have 12 people in it.
"The WeWork Research & Development (R&D) team found that the average meeting involves just two or three people—regardless of room capacity.”
WeWork also has a laboratory or “beta” space in one of its buildings in New York.
Wanda Lau describes the forward-thinking technology….
“A compact, wall-mounted green box is one of 10 environmental sensors tracking the interior temperature, humidity, air quality, barometric pressure, and ambient light levels. White, wall-mounted beacons, 20 in all, distributed across common spaces (open desk areas and meeting rooms) triangulate the indoor position of WeWork members. And an overhead sensor, one of four, uses computer vision to observe member occupancy.
"Further results are based on data gathered from overhead cameras on the beta floor: a “heat map” of the "hot desk" area (an area not assigned to any specific individual, where anyone can work), compiled using images showing which seats people claimed the most (spoiler alert: next to the windows). This computer-vision capability could someday be used as virtual turnstiles or to map foot-traffic patterns and optimize wayfinding.”
….but there is a catch.
“As GPS technology becomes increasingly personalized and integral to everyday tasks, everything from mobile devices to electronic keycards can be used to pinpoint one’s location,” continues Lau. “Privacy, in many cases, has been traded for convenience.”
Hmm.. Privacy traded for convenience? Hope it works out better in workspace that it did with Facebook.