From 6 Locations to 6 Floors: WorkBetter’s Case for Full-Building Coworking

10.14.2023
Written by

In the flexible office space industry, the goal for most coworking operators is to establish one location and then expand their portfolio to additional ones.

WorkBetter has become an anomaly, expanding from one location to six before consolidating our entire business into a six-story building.

When examining our business model, the questions we’re most commonly asked by our industry peers are:

  1. Why go from one location to six, then back to one?
  2. Why did it make sense to transform an entire Manhattan building into a coworking center?
  3. How has this pivot impacted your business?

In this article, we explore the history of our business, its trajectory over the past two decades, and why we’ve made these significant adjustments in the last few years.

Setting the Stage: The Evolution of WorkBetter

We have been in the coworking industry for more than twenty years.

Starting as Office Links in 2003, we helped pioneer a new way of working that catered to the dynamism and diversity of the city’s professional community. In the years that followed, we expanded to six locations offering team suites, private offices, coworking space, meeting rooms, and virtual offices throughout New York City.   

Then, in 2014, we rebranded as WorkBetter.

At that time, each WorkBetter location was tailored to serve the specific needs of the organizations in their respective market.

Between 2016 and 2019, we began examining our locations, analyzing their individual performance, and evaluating their impact on our business.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, we leaned into this data and made a monumental shift in our business—consolidating our entire portfolio into one single six-story building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

5 Catalysts for Consolidating WorkBetter Into One Single Building

There is no doubt that we took an unorthodox approach to the future of our business—one that our fellow coworking operators might find counterintuitive.

We understood that this pivot came with an element of risk—we stood to lose a lot, but we (and our members) also stood to gain a lot.

This decision came down to a few core factors.

1. Scalability 

With WorkBetter being spread across multiple locations, our product mix varied in each one.

Some locations skewed heavily toward private offices and team suites, while others comprised primarily coworking and meeting rooms.

When the pandemic hit, it shook up our entire industry. As it subsided, tenants were weary of taking on any workspace, whether coworking, team suites, or anything in between.

This was one of the foundational elements of our decision to consolidate all of our locations into one building.

Rather than having multiple locations, each with its own unique product mix, we knew WorkBetter could offer every imaginable coworking option, all under one roof.

Doing so would allow us to mitigate tenant hesitancy by providing them with scalability. They could join as coworking members and scale up to a private office membership should they need to—and vice versa. 

Our flexible terms, paired with the ability to scale in place, made the prospect of taking office space less daunting, especially at a time when global uncertainty meant unpredictability was the only thing businesses could rely on. 

2. Management Efficiency 

Another challenge we faced when we had multiple locations offering a varied product mix was effectively marketing, staffing, filling, and managing them all. We ran the risk of spreading our team too thin, in turn jeopardizing our business efficacy and member experience.

By bringing all six locations under one roof, we consolidated and streamlined our operations and product offering, allowing us to better manage every element of our space.

3. Profitability

Our founder had owned the building at 33 W 19th St in New York for decades. Prior to 2020, there had been large tenants in place. However, upon their departure, much of the building was left vacant.

So, once the decision was made to consolidate our WorkBetter locations into this building, profitability was the next element we needed to address. We had to decide whether to take just a few floors in the building or transform the entire commercial asset into a coworking facility.

Based on our data, we knew that two floors of private offices would not have been profitable.

Instead, we opted to take the full building and incorporate a comprehensive product mix into it.

Today, our WorkBetter building offers six full floors of:

  • Enterprise Offices and Full-Floor Offerings
  • Team Suites and Private Offices
  • Coworking and Dedicated Desks
  • Meeting and Conference Rooms
  • Virtual Office services
  • Event Spaces

It also boasts a rooftop in one of Manhattan’s most prestigious areas as well as a fitness center on the ground floor that generates profit beyond our coworking operations. 

4. Consolidation of Expertise 

In this article, we explore why WorkBetter consolidated its entire coworking portfolio into one single six-story building.

By consolidating our six locations into one building, we were also consolidating our expertise into one centralized hub.

We were able to encapsulate everything we’d learned from our 20+ years in the industry in one place.

Everything we knew about our members, our market, and our business is now housed at WorkBetter, and this is reflected in our operations.

5. Member Experience

Arguably the most important byproduct of consolidating our locations into one building was our ability to optimize our member experience.

Rather than managing multiple WorkBetter locations, we were able to focus our full attention—and all of our resources—on one building.

This allowed us to invest heavily in the amenities that matter most to our members, better control our brand experience, leverage a true hospitality-driven approach, and create greater value for our coworking users.

And, ultimately, ensuring our members are well taken care of is the key to building a more profitable business.

In the coworking world, WorkBetter’s approach is far from the norm. But with our decades of experience and expertise, we were able to reevaluate our business model, examine what our members want, and create massive improvements across WorkBetter by taking an unusual but highly strategic approach.

Despite these changes, we are lucky to have the same operations and finances team in one building, all equipped with experience from their long tenure with the business and in the industry—and our members feel the benefits of having this team in place as well.

Discover a Better Way to Work

If you are interested in learning more about Work Better or exploring our membership options, we invite you to book a tour of our space today

Book A Tour