My first impression of WeWork Aldwych House isn’t going to sound very flattering when read aloud, even if it was something I really loved about the place. As I coasted past the window-walls of the private office space and through the soft furnishings, tasting the tail ends of conversations and watching the humans inside gesticulate at one another I got the strong sense that I was in a zoo.
As a communal workspace for any company that wants it, WeWork is a cauldron of young professionals so the diversity there is fascinating to see. On my walk around there were algorithms inked onto glass, moodboards hanging from skylights and the ingredients to a romance novel sprinkled across a desk. Just as zoos have the lion enclosure, the aviary and the reptile house, WeWork have all workers from every industry filling their halls and lounges.
The quintessence of millennial workspaces was immediate. A casual working day seems encouraged but not at the expense of your productivity. In a workspace like this no one is cracking the whip as such, but to summarise the ethos as simply ‘happy workers make for good workers’ seems to be reductive and doesn’t do justice to the communal attitudes those employed by WeWork try to promote.
They understand that every business must start somewhere. The Job Auction started at a similar space at Google, before that the laptop jamboree was a dining room table! Spaces like this are important not only to give professionals a place to work in comfort and style but also to create a community spirit. No workforce are an island and being able to grab a fruit water with graphic designers, potters or accountants can match any official networking event for opportunities.
Often seen as the natural antagonist to the ordinary corporate office, spaces like WeWork are equal parts graft and gratification, perfectly suited to those who need fluidity in their working day.
Not that the stereotype of corporate offices are altogether a bad thing. Work cannot exist in a vacuum and needs a worker and an environment to exist. Maybe you wouldn’t feel comfortable writing code on a beanbag and you need a sharkskin suit and tie to properly get into the mood. It really isn’t about being better than more traditional office spaces, it’s simply different.
Although I must say I was swayed by the roof terrace of the Aldwych site. Westminster feels very cinematic. After 3pm the taps run gold with craft lager, take one up after a long day at the grindstone or whenever really. No one at WeWork will tell you how to handle your day, and therein lies its appeal.
Have a scroll through the rest of our pics/vids to see more…
Above, changing lights wall on the top floor.
Above, entering the roof terrace.
Below, the roof terrace views…