How WeWork is Tapping into Construction
Originally founded as a shared workspace provider, WeWork has brought innovative construction management practices to the forefront of public consciousness. The successful company was among the first to recognize that modern office design prioritizes community and includes health, fitness, and entertainment amenities. As the popularity of WeWork's approach has grown, the company has also leveraged its design and construction expertise, customizing and reconfiguring workspaces to match habits and preferences.
Mapping Patterns of Behavior
Planning for a new office environment begins with gathering data about patterns of employee behavior. WeWork combines sensors, mobile messaging, and Bluetooth identification to map behaviors and trends. With this information in hand, WeWork configures spaces aligned to occupant behaviors as well as corporate needs. These methods influence a wide variety of decisions, including (but not limited to) conference room sizes, temperature controls, lighting distribution, and ergonomics. WeWork's research also relies on analytics to determine patterns related to external amenities, such as nearby restaurants and access to public transportation.
Along with gathering data about patterns of behavior, WeWork also evaluates facility structures and proposed designs by using Lidar 3D laser scanners and Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. By analyzing 3D scans of a building site, teams gain a greater understanding of building conditions, and BIM software allows multiple parties to access centrally-shared models and assess proposed designs, simulate the impact of those designs, and communicate the intent of a design or design change to project owners and team members with accompanying 3D visuals.
Evaluation includes using BIM software to monitor the progress of building construction at a highly detailed level; for example, BIM software allows construction engineers to obtain 3D views of rebar logic. WeWork uses the information gained from the 3D scans and BIM software to design methods for minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency.
Deploying Lean Construction
WeWork relies on lean construction methods to reduce overall costs and to efficiently appraise and use materials. Their methods emphasize predictability based on planning and data, prioritize increased communication between project leads and customers, and eliminate items that don't add value for those customers. Under the framework of lean construction, increasing the scope of planning around a strategic vision decreases the time needed for construction from start to finish and increases productivity throughout. Because all parties have a clear set of goals, objectives, and benchmarks, interaction within teams increases, allowing groups with different objectives to work more cohesively. Lean construction also sees improved results through an increase in worker focus, accountability, and understanding of the reasons behind different tasks. Productivity rises and costs fall through improved schedule reliability and predictability.
Meeting Deadlines with Pull Planning
WeWorks teams utilize pull planning techniques to establish common goals and milestones for completing construction projects on time. In pull planning processes, everyone functioning as a stakeholder in the project meets to establish a completion date and then works backward from that schedule to set milestones. With an emphasis on collaboration at all levels and a focus on scheduling, stakeholders can more efficiently plan projects. Pull planning produces tight, refined schedules based on milestones and points, ultimately reducing project costs and shortening timelines; risk and safety precautions are also taken into consideration.