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On-Demand Company Spotlight: wework

You could probably come up with several on-demand service companies off the top of your head without hesitating; Uber, airbnb, Postmates… There are hundreds of companies founded on the idea that when consumers want something, they want it now. And in business, our expectations are no different. So, there is also a broad spectrum of companies that provide on-demand B2B services that enable businesses to quickly get what they need so they can pivot and shift with greater agility. They typically provide goods and services through online marketplaces that offer immediate access to outsourced services, repairs, materials, specialized labor, transportation, shipping (see our article from February 2016 on Cargomatic), warehousing and even office space.

Over the last couple of years, wework has become one of the most successful B2B on-demand solution providers. Wework manages millions of square feet of shared office space and provides small companies, teams and individuals with a highly effective alternative to long-term, excessive leases. The wework network includes dozens of locations smartly positioned in the hottest tech hubs across the country and around the world. Their online service connects companies with dynamic wework office space that suits their exact needs. They offer three different types of work space: Hot Desk, Dedicated Desk and Private Office. A Hot Desk is simply any open desk available on a given day. A Dedicated Desk is a specific desk space reserved for a specific worker/company. A Private Office is a fully furnished, secure room that can be reserved to accommodate from one to 100 people. Wework locations offer everything a standard office would typically require. Office furniture, filing cabinets, desk lamps, internet access, conference rooms, phone, printer, and 24/7 access are all included or optional, depending on the workspace type and arrangement. They also also offer networking opportunities and events, mail management and package handling services.

One of the key reasons wework has become so successful is that their model enables small, early-stage and growing companies to provide a comfortable work space for employees without having to commit to long term office leases that typically don’t suit the companies exact needs. Office leases can be very expensive, require long-term commitments and usually can’t be easily or affordably adjusted to accommodate the growth dynamics of the business. Wework provides just the workspace needed and usually on a month-to-month basis. By establishing locations all over the place, wework also enables geographically dispersed or forward-thinking companies to add workers wherever they want or need to, for as long as they’d like. That enables businesses to locate key people near certain vendors or customers, ramp up teams for big projects and build a productive network of workers wherever the best talent resides.

Our Spotlight series of articles is intended to highlight the growing value and adoption of the innovative ideas and technologies that are changing the course of business. We are particularly interested in wework because, much like FLEXE, it focuses on flexibility as a value proposition. Both organizations fundamentally turn fixed costs into variable costs by providing alternatives to long-term leases. Both even offer on-demand space that can easily expand beyond a single location. As a result, businesses can dynamically increase and decrease the amount of space they need in a warehouse (with FLEXE) or office (with wework) and also expand to additional warehouse or location offices as they grow while at the same time avoiding long-term, fixed costs.