Coworking spaces are thought to be filled with plucky young independents, digital nomads, start uppers, and social entrepreneurs; who all reject the entire idea of working for “the man”.
These days, that’s not always the case.
Avery Harmans reports that Microsoft has install hundreds of its workers in WeWork coworking spaces in the US. These workers will presumably sit alongside freelancers, start uppers, and workers from other large companies who also use WeWork. (I can see why this might be more fun than being stuck inside a Microsoft campus….)
I can’t help but wonder how the freelancers feel about this. I mean, many of them specifically don’t want to work for Microsoft, or be surrounded by dozens of Microsofties. So how will they like WeWork with heavy MS.
In the case of Microsoft, the motives of the corporation seem to be complicated. The MS management may be hoping to attract and retain young workers, and they may hope for better creativity and productivity.
But they are also using this activity for marketing and market research.
Notably, the workers in NYC are reported to be from sales and marketing, not product development or testing. They are there not only to work but also to snuggle up to startups and other tech workers, pushing their latest products (donated to WeWork for use by all coworkers), and learning what everyone are up to. I won’t be surprised to hear about acquihires who are discovered while coworking.
Those sneaky so and sos!
This is certainly a brilliant opportunity for MS, and is yet another wrinkle in the examination of,“What is Cowrking?”
Personally, I think I would be extremely annoyed to pay for a work space and find myself “sold” as a research subject for large companies. Tsk.
- Avery Hartmans, (2016) Here’s why Microsoft is giving nearly a third of its New York employees memberships at WeWork. Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-new-york-workers-wework-2016-11
What is Coworking?
Note: please stay tuned for my new ebook, “What is Coworking”, coming early in 2017.