by Rachel Smith
06 July 2018
Since starting out as a freelancer in 2001 (wow, don’t I feel old), I’ve worked from cafes, from home, from libraries… and now, I’m trying some co-working spaces. WeWork Pyrmont is the first I’ve taken for a test drive. If I’m honest, it was for nostalgia reasons: I used to work in the building, I love the neighbourhood and I run screaming towards industrial chic and comfy sofas. It’s a former woolstore and absolutely beautiful inside. (The fact that it’s right next door to one of my biggest clients has also been a plus for meetings.)
But is it worth the bucks? Here’s what I think.
WeWork has 389 office locations in 72 cities around the world, with 8 in Australia: WeWork Pyrmont and four in Sydney’s CBD: York Street, Martin Place and two in George Street. There are two in Melbourne (Bourke St and Collins St) and one coming soon to Edward St, Brisbane. To try it, you can claim a free day pass trial or sign up for an OnDemand membership for US$45/month, which includes enough credits for 1 day’s work at the location of your choice (this is what I do). If you want to work more days there, you buy more credits. To use WeWork full-time costs from $450 a month for a hot desk in a dedicated location – and is upwards from there for a dedicated desk or private office with 24/7 access. At WeWork Pyrmont, the upper (and nicer) levels are reserved for those paying the big bucks.
It’s start-up central, so the atmosphere is buzzy and there’s background music. Definitely not the spot for you if you need absolute quiet. After working in libraries for so long, I was taken aback by all the long phone conversations going on around me in the hot desk area; many on speaker. I’m used to it now but if I’m next to someone particularly annoying, there are lots of areas to sit, from comfy couches / lounge areas, to various hot desks zones and four cosy booths (first come, best dressed). There are also about 10 private phone booths: cosy pods with a little couch, a desk with powerpoints and a bifold glass door you can close for privacy and soundproofing. If you need a meeting room, you need to buy extra credits ($25 each) to reserve the space.
There’s a big kitchen with tea of all kinds, coffee and fresh fruit water, replenished daily. Fridges for your food. A beer tap comes on at 2pm if you fancy a bevvie, or are entertaining clients (you can bring in guests for free). The printers are free and in a small office supply area with highlighters, stapler, paperclips etc. If you’re looking to meet people, there are often networking events, yoga, seminars or talks by start-ups. You can also advertise yourself on the WeWork network or apply for jobs that pop up – I’ve seen work come through for tech, graphic design, PR, some content writing work. Oh, and to really nail those networking events… the loos have all-important mouthwash dispensers with little cups. No kidding.
Firstly and most importantly, where is the biscuit tin!? Secondly, WeWork Pyrmont’s coverage for Telstra is not great so I’ve had to work around that to do interviews, using Wifi or Skype (on the plus side, their WIFI is really fast). Thirdly, the Divvy carpark on Harris Street next door is a rigmarole to set up. It’s CHEAP at $20/day for WeWorkers, but brace yourself: you need to download an app, enter your credit card, get WeWork to activate the Harris St carpark on the app, pre-book a car space AND get your WeWork keycard swiped by the guys at the Dexus desk, or you can’t get in the carpark at the end of the day. Overall, the annoyances don’t out-weigh the pluses so I think I’ll continue working here on and off for a nice change of scenery!
Are you a WeWorker? What’s your favourite location?