Bundling services adds value—there’s no doubt about that. In fact, you’ve probably been enjoying a bundled service withoutgiving the convenience a second thought, especially as a seamless consumer experience is now an expectation and not a perk. For example, do you use enterprise resource management (ERP) software from Oracle, SAP, or a similar provider? Do you leverage any of a suite of to streamline interoffice communication? Do you enjoy simpler couplings like Apple’s music and iCloud? Do you get your cable, internet, and phone through the same provider? These examples all have one thing in common: They represent companies not only prioritizing a better, more inclusive customer experience, but billing it as part of the package. We’re not talking about a small value-add, either—it’s a game changer. Co-working and bundled services are changing the game for the future of work, and one company in particular—WeWork—has taken this strategy to the next level. Let’s explore.
Why WeWork’s Strategy is Working
As I once covered in a post published in Digitalist Magazine, Millennials are swiftly changing the workforce landscape, often prioritizing flexibility and purpose over high paychecks and high-rise offices—and not hesitant to quit if they don’t get it. It’s not just Millennials, either. Entire industries are changing (like IT for, example), in an age where many jobs can be performed from anywhere as long as there’s a wifi connection. Where are these people going? And who is coming with them? From entrepreneurs to independent contractors to startups to entire offices, co-working spaces are all the rage. And co-working solutions are getting smarter and more robust all the time, moving from a model that provides simply a place to work or meet to a model that provides an entire suite of bundled services. Which is what brings me to WeWork, a major player in the co-working/bundled services space.
If you’re not familiar, WeWork is an office-leasing/coworking startup that provides individual members and entire teams more than just hip desks and speedy wifi—you’ll also find refreshments, happy hours, private phone booths, soundproof rooms, all the office equipment you could need, on-site support staff, networking events, holiday parties, lunch and learns, and more. WeWork’s 175,000-plus members frequent offices in more than 20 countries. Membership covers a diverse range of professions, and WeWorkers often find themselves collaborating on projects and forming connections that go well beyond simply a shared workspace. This is a brilliant strategy.
WeWork is not only bundling when it comes to functional office space, craft beer, collaborative opportunities, and community events: Fortune reports that, under leadership from a recently hired ex-Amazon exec, WeWork now has its sights set on an Amazonian-sized reinvention that could include not only leasing to larger companies but also taking over their online services. Plus, it just acquired Conductor, a marketing and SEO company, and bought Flatiron last October, a coding and education platform, indicating new bundle additions are on the horizon. Also brilliant.
Some in the real estate business have questioned the longevity of WeWork’s long-term lease model, and there may be merit there if the market shifts dramatically. Then again, maybe not, especially given the recent acquisitions and Amazon-style move—i.e., delving into enterprise real estate operations, not just locations. Whatever the future holds, mentions of the brilliance of WeWork’s strategy and value-add have graced digital pages in the likes of Wired and Fortune, and even print pages in as it relates to the future of work.
The kicker? WeWork’s estimated value is a whopping $20 billion. Some experts have balked, saying that valuation is too high—but that’s not the point here. Even they’re right, we’d be foolish to ignore the underlying message of the company’s bold strategy: Bundling pays.
What role do you think bundling will play, or already is playing, in the future of work? Do you use or offer bundled services in your organization? What do you think of WeWork’s strategy? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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This article was first published at Future of Work.
Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”