The Gig Economy: Living the Suite Biz Life at WeWork

A wistful recollection of two days spent "coworking" in flexible, shared space in downtown San Diego

BEING IN A coworking space motivates Eyga Mojus.

“I can meet with people or I can be alone,” says Mojus, founder and CEO of San Diego Swim Week. “Either way, being here psyches me up to work more.”

With a Little Italy fashion show coming up on July 29, Mojus has plenty of details to attend to while she strategizes on her laptop in WeWork’s downtown San Diego office space on B Street.

A WeWork member since 2020, she says she’s here Monday through Friday most weeks. Mojus pays $299 per month for unlimited use of the “Hot Desk” open area on the third floor.

Nate Smith (pictured, above) has been a WeWork member for about a year. He pays $800 a month for an office with two desks. An entrepreneur who works in the financial services and insurance industry, he occasionally strolls out to the building’s third-floor patio to take phone calls.

“I travel for work and besides San Diego, I’ve used WeWork in places like Irvine and Las Vegas,” he says. “I like the flexibility of the space. This office is helping me grow my company, as well as recruit people to help me expand.”

WeWork Area Director Lexey Radcliff says clients are seeking a mix of workspace needs.

“Our members are looking for flexibility,” she says. “They might be small business entrepreneurs or remote employees from larger organizations working in satellite offices.”

Radcliff points out that post-COVID, the workforce demand for in-person collaboration is back.

“We’re seeing member companies from all different industries coming together intentionally to work in-person, as opposed to work independently at a computer,” she says.

Becoming a WeWorker

San Diego Swim Week CEO Eyga Mojus at WeWork.

The WeWork B Street building is two blocks from my East Village home. Even with that proximity, I don’t make it into the office for start of my two-day scheduled visit until after 10 a.m., later than planned.

No worries. In this gig economy I’m my own boss and can set my own hours.

For years, I’d been curious about what it’s like to co-work (share an office space with lots of unaffiliated people).

I did get a glimpse of WeWork’s layout when I recently wrote an unrelated story about Sofar Sounds. Sofar organizes semi-secret underground music concerts in residential and commercial locations. WeWork hosted one of these shows on April 28.

Now, along with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, WeWork is also hosting a free, open-house Block Party on June 23 (details here).

I decide this Block Party will be my hook to set up a desk in WeWork and discover first-hand what it’s like to be a coworker.

WeWork History & Numbers

The entrance to WeWork B Street in downtown San Diego.

Founded in 2010, WeWork has a colorful history. The rise and fall of the company has been widely chronicled.

A miniseries called WeCrashed is currently streaming on Apple TV+. In it, the brashness of dream-weaving founder Adam Neumann is portrayed by Jared Leto. Neumann’s wife, Rebekah, is played by Anne Hathaway.

Today, WeWork is less drama-focused and the company is on solid footing as a leading flexible-space provider on a global scale.

As of March 31, 2022, the company’s investor report states that WeWork’s real estate portfolio consists of 765 locations in 38 countries. That includes 746,000 workstations and half a million memberships.

The B Street office is one of two San Diego locations (the other is in La Jolla). WeWork B Street opened in December 2016. It takes up six floors (roughly 85,000 square feet) in the 24-story San Diego Union-Tribune building.

MeWork at WeWork

My conference room for a day at WeWork.

The gracious community team at WeWork B Street gives me a complimentary conference room to get a feel for one of the layout options here.

Conference Room E on the third floor has a glass door and a floor-to-ceiling glass wall separating it from a hallway. A wooden conference table with eight brown rolling chairs takes up most of the room.

There’s a 3.5-by-7-foot whiteboard and a 66-inch TV screen on the wall. I can connect my computer screen to the wall-mounted flatscreen by using the Solstice app.

My digs include a skinny, silver trash can and a white, knee-high set of drawers. Inside the drawers I find a surge-protector extension cord and various USB cables.

It’s quiet in this out-of-the-way corner of the floor. I could definitely get San Diego Sun work done here. However, my reason for being here is to report on the reason for being here.

I give up my conference-room real estate and head out to the buzzy, open-floor-plan area. Dozens of people are engaged in varying levels of project work as well as some good-old-fashioned office bantering.

WeWork Common Space

The common space/lounge area at WeWork.

In the Hot Desk area where Eyga Mojus is planning her fashion show, she’s joined by a pair of associates. They collab quietly, laughing every now and then.

Nearby, other long tables are scattered with people’s laptops, coffee mugs, oversized water bottles and backpacks.

I’ve moved to a cafeteria-style table in between the Hot Desks and the Common Area/Lounge setting. From here, I can see the comfy gray couches in the common area. A chessboard is set up. There’s also a pristine, yellow Ping Pong table.

A pantry/kitchenette offers free drip coffee and espresso, kombucha, cold brew and seltzer on tap. There’s a shared fridge that members can use to keep their own food cold.

The lounge has glass garage doors that open up to a sizeable patio. A steady breeze cools people working outside on dark-wood tables and chairs. (This patio is where the aforementioned Sofar Sounds concert was held.)

The vibe throughout these common areas is collegial. I could squint back through time and imagine being inside a college Student Union.

People are working. Taking breaks. Eating pizza. It’s all relatively ordinary and somewhat conventional–but post-pandemic I’d label this return to normalcy…kinda glorious.

Some folks here have All Access monthly memberships. Others are On Demand members (paying $29 per day). A variety of packages are available.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back at work two blocks away in my home office. It’s got everything I need to get the job done. Sigh. Everything except all the cool amenities, perks and ambiance of which I’ve just gotten an enticing taste. SDSun


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