Craft beer and cucumber water pours from kitchen taps…
“Nosedive”, Black Mirror, 2016
From The Atlantic:
In march 2017, the New York City–based editors and writers of The Atlantic moved to a WeWork office in Brooklyn. I remember our first morning vividly: It was like entering the Millennial id. Craft beer and cucumber water poured from kitchen taps. Laptoppers in jeans and toques clacked along to MGMT in the wood-paneled common area. A WeWork “community manager” showed us to a glass-walled office so small that my colleagues and I could clasp hands while seated. We sat. Had we arrived in the future of work?
From the start, WeWork offered a somewhat uneasy combination of its founders’ ambitions and co-working’s communal roots. Neumann describes WeWork as a “capitalist kibbutz.” Members are encouraged to mingle, network, and leverage one another’s talents, frequently under the auspices of a corporate sponsor: Witness taco pop-ups promoting internet phone service; talk-therapy circles sponsored by a women’s activewear brand; cocktails served up by the payroll-software giant ADP. Billed as community-building programming, the events can feel more like exercises in targeted advertising, with members as the marks. Genuine connections do occur—sometimes at happy hours and often through WeWork’s online member network, where people share marketing tips, sell furniture, organize cryptocurrency seminars. (The variety of requests never ceases to amaze. Quickly fulfilled: “Any WeWork salted cured meat companies?” Apparently unfulfilled: “Can anyone refer me to a good venture capitalist in the NYC area?”)
Despite the company’s occasional excesses, WeWork offices are more pleasant than many a soulless cubicle farm, according to people I spoke with at locations in New York; Washington, D.C.; Boston; and Los Angeles. “People are relaxed. No one’s watching the clock,” says Liz Granda, who works for Brooklyn Paws, a concierge service for pet owners, in a WeWork under the Manhattan Bridge. The relentlessly cheerful vibe encourages members to be social, or at least forces them to be nice.