Just over a year ago, I moved into WeWork Gas Tower in Downtown Los Angeles. WeWork, a Silicon Valley-based company with 140+ coworking workspaces across the globe, is well-known within the LA entrepreneur community as having the most “premium” office space experience compared to all the other options out there.
So what’s all the hubbub about and how does it stand up after a year?
Picking your membership type
Rather than signing a “lease” with WeWork, you sign up for a membership that grants you certain levels of access or a certain kind of workspace. The “hot desk” membership grants you 24/7 access to any of the open tables, a “dedicated desk” gives you exclusive access to a desk in a locked office that you share with a few other people, and a “private office membership” gets you your own enclosed workspace.
I started out with just a dedicated desk, but now I have a private office. While most people are respectful in the shared office environment, sometimes it gets bothersome when you’re stuck next to someone that has lots of phone calls at their desk or you wonder how someone gets any work done because they want to hold a conversation the entire workday.
Having a private office gives the flexibility to hide in my little corner when I want to focus and pack things out or I can go out and socialize outside whenever I need a break.
One of the tenets of WeWork is “transparency” – and all the glass walls are a great physical representation of that company value. Since there is frosted glass up at eye-level when sitting, there’s a good balance of privacy and transparency within the workspaces.
I don’t feel like everyone is staring at me while I’m working, but I also don’t feel like I’m alone in my office.
WeWork Gas Tower has 28 conference rooms, ranging in size from 4 seats to a boardroom that can fit over 25 people. Most of the rooms have a whiteboard and/or an HD monitor that you can use for presentations or collaborative work sessions.
I’ve never had an issue finding a conference room that’s open for use, but if you have a client meeting coming up that you want to make sure goes smoothly, you can use your credits to book one of the rooms.
There are also diner-style booths throughout the three floors that are conducive for more informal meetings.
The meeting spaces are definitely top class. They all have their own style or “feel” that can match the style of the meeting you’ll be having.
The view speaks for itself
Not much needs to be said here. You’re on floors 34/35/36 within Downtown LA, so you can see all the way down to Long Beach or up north to the Hollywood sign and beyond. Unbeatable.
Amenities (and some ‘hidden’ perks)
WeWork costs a good amount more than some of the coworking spaces around town, but they sure play up the amenities.
Besides the common amenities like daily in-office janitorial services, mail services, fridges, and printers, WeWork goes all out with some of their other perks.
The internet here is blazing fast. When I’m using wifi, I can get anywhere from 100mbps to 300mbps. Plenty fast for uploading/downloading HD videos or any other large content files. There are routers everywhere, so even the conference rooms are speedy.
Once a month, a masseuse comes by and offers 20 minute massages for $20. Keith is a standup guy and, honestly, this has to be one of my favorite amenities! This location used to offer the massages for free, so paying for them now is a bit disappointing, but it’s worth the convenience of not having to leave the office for a relaxing massage.
Visitors are always amazed by their first time at WeWork. “Welcome! While you wait, feel free to make your way over to the kitchen for some tea, coffee, infused water, or beer.”
That’s right, beer (and sometimes, my favorite, hard cider) is on tap during the workday. To me, it’s a perk that I rarely take advantage of, but just having it as an initial icebreaker and mood-setter for new visitors is awesome.
Now for a little secret perk that’s not advertised across WeWork’s marketing supplies. Turns out the front desk will help you out with office supplies or even batteries if you’re in a pinch. Before I brought my rechargeable batteries to the office, my mouse would die randomly and leave me in the dust! Being able to go to the front desk and get a couple (free) AA batteries was a life saver.
The amenity downers
While there’s definitely a huge number of perks at this workspace, there are a couple downers.
For one, I’ve had an issue with my mail for the past year. It seems like I’m the only one having an issue, but for some reason, some of my mail can take weeks or months to get to me. I’ve been able to narrow it down to an issue with USPS rather than WeWork, but it’s still a bummer and something that’s affected my business since I use the WeWork address as my main business address.
Some coworking spaces offer showers to help you freshen up (which would be great since I ride my bike to the office), but alas, WeWork Gas Tower does not have showers, changing rooms, or nap/quiet rooms.
The kitchens can also get quite crowded during lunchtime, which means that you might have to wait a few minutes to be able to use the microwave. With hundreds of people on each floor, it’s quite understandable, but it would be nice if there were more microwaves for the lunch rush.
The “co” part of coworking
Every week, there are multiple free events held within the conference rooms and open spaces. For example, during the summer, WeWork Gas Tower has “Frozen Fridays” which involves the staff members making fresh frozen drinks and some lively networking.
If you’re working from home or coffee shops, the networking and events aspect of a coworking space is what really seals the deal. Being able to have “water cooler conversations” and run into “coworkers” on the streets of downtown means you’re a part of a community. That socializing is invaluable.
It’s not just one office – it’s access to 140 workspaces
Earlier this year, I took a trip up to San Francisco to visit my friend for a week. While I was there, I worked during the day at a beautiful officespace — WeWork Transbay!
With your WeWork membership comes a certain number of credits that allow you 9-5 access to the other locations around the world.
Being able to work in a collaborative and trusting environment that has speedy internet makes it a lot easier to work remotely when I’m in a different city.
What really makes it stand out?
I’ve tried out tons of coworking spaces throughout LA and beyond in my time. Yet, month after month, I renew my WeWork membership without hesitation. There’s honestly not one major reason that keeps me, but it’s all the little things that add up. I recently visited the nearby Cross Campus workspace, and was disappointed by the lack of electrical plugs throughout the open space. I went to another space in the Wells Fargo Center and it felt like a bunch of cubicles in an uninspiring environment. WeWork’s focus on the details pays off, in the end.
Request a tour
So would I recommend the space? Definitely. You’re bound to find your productivity groove here and make some friends and colleagues while you’re at it.
And rather than committing yourself to a three-year office lease, you can join WeWork on a month-to-month basis to keep your business flexible.
Want to be my neighbor at the Gas Tower in Downtown LA? Or want to tour another WeWork location?
» Request a tour on the WeWork website «