Just one year ago, after completing 5 years in my previous role at Starbucks, I walked into an incredible WeWork space on London’s Southbank and felt an undeniable amount of excitement about the decisions that brought me to this company. WeWork certainly stood out as a company that was entrepreneurial, in the midst of hyper growth and one that had talented people at it’s core. It had made some bold moves in the sustainability space and I was so excited to further this agenda across EMEA.
On day one, as I sat in my onboarding session, my phone began to buzz with news alerts, the company IPO had been shelved and just like that the $47B evaluation was scrapped and new leadership was announced. This was certainly an unusual start to my new chapter, but it didn’t put me off. I believed in the product, the way in which the company was going to be pivotal in changing the future of work and the flexibility its business model provided customers.
After spending a few days with the Community teams in buildings across London, I was convinced more than ever that this was the company for me, despite what the media were reporting.
The company was relatively new and had grown so fast that it was clear there were efficiencies to be embedded. The path to profitability was paramount to regain public belief in the company once again and so the journey began. They say each week spent as a WeWorker is worth a year in any organisation (due to the sheer pace at which they execute). Reflecting on my first year, I look back on the key lessons I have learnt in the job.
- Change is the only constant
Change is inevitable, especially in big corporate organisations. Whether it’s leadership change, culture changes or objective changes; how you navigate yourself through these will determine your success. This past year has been full to the brim with unprecedented change, the kind that the faint hearted could really fall victim to. Shifting focus, embracing the changes and understanding that many of them will be out of your control will help you to capitalise on them.
- Do what you love
WeWorks philosophy is based around the concept of doing what you love, it’s what attracted me to the company initially. My first year at WeWork has taught me just how important this is. It’s so important to love not just your role, but also your place of work, the people you work alongside and the impact you are able to have in your job. Combining your passion and profession will help work to seem like play.
- Grow with your business
One of the biggest attractions of joining WeWork when I did, was the incredible growth the business was going through. Opening buildings in new markets across the world and acquiring companies left right and centre, the hyper growth of WeWork meant huge opportunities for the organisation itself as well as the individuals within it. When growth was curbed, It was important to ensure that my personal growth continued on the original trajectory. The beauty of working at WeWork is that there are so many people that champion you, believe in you, invest in you and want to help you soar! I’ve never felt so trusted, empowered and valued in a role.
- Truly flexible working
Prior to joining WeWork, I always felt I was in fairly flexible roles. But it was here that I realised the true concept of flexible working. Firstly from our products, offering businesses and entrepreneurs solutions that flex to their needs and secondly the technologies, culture and workspaces for employees to be able to work effectively wherever they are and whenever they are able.
- Build your resilience
The past 6 months especially have tested the resilience of our business, customers and employees. External factors that we could never have imagined were thrusted upon us. A global pandemic, working remotely, changes in business direction and restructuring of the organisation meant building resilience in the face of adversity was key. Leaning on my incredible team and colleagues has allowed me to get through a particularly challenging few months, and I am truly thankful for them.
So as I look forward to my second year as a WeWorker, I can’t help but think what a different year it will be. Whilst much of it will be spent on maternity leave, I know I’ll go back to practice these learnings and acquire many more.