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Reflecting on 5 years of WorkLodge

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  • Post last modified:June 25, 2020
  • Post category:Business
  • Reading time:9 mins read

As we celebrate our 5th birthday at WorkLodge this week (in a low key way thanks to the current health situation), I started to think about all the time I spent working from home, wondering why I couldn’t have access to the incredible corporate campus amenities that so many others do, just because they work at larger companies.

I had no idea then what that idea would become, I simply knew there had to be a better way to work and so we began the journey of building an incredible workspace, which we called WorkLodge.

We set out to build a space that people would look forward to working in.

As crazy as it sounds, we nailed it and then some. Almost every time I tour someone even today, I hear ‘ooohs and aaaahs’, ‘wows’ and it just never gets old. The feedback we hear continually tells us our interior design approach is inspiring, uplifting and energizing. Not only do Members enjoy coming to the office, but they proudly tour their guests around the spaces for no other reason than to show them off. Our surveys tell us that 9 out of 10 WorkLodge Members don’t just enjoy coming to work here, they LOVE coming to work here.

“I didn’t even know what I was looking for, I just knew I needed to be happy with where I was working every day.”

“My clients always tell me that they love walking into the space, it makes the whole process easier and less stressful.”

“I feel so welcomed! I just love coming to work.”

We set out to lead and innovate, rather than being a ‘me too’ brand.

We built and evolved our environments based on what we thought was needed, how we saw Members interact, by listening to feedback and through a process of intentional, continual improvement. I didn’t even know what an ‘executive suite’ was, when I had the idea to create an amazing workspace that day, back in 2013.

As I watch competitors come and regularly ‘test shop’ WorkLodge (something we don’t do), install areas and design elements in their spaces that mimic ours and change their messaging to match ours, it tells me we’re succeeding and leading the pack.

We set out to provide premium amenities and furniture at a level that typical business owners wouldn’t or couldn’t invest in.

Our latest, version 3, private label furniture is just one example of how we deliver. Chairs built around steel and aluminum sub-frames rather than plastic to provide more rigidity and support, easing pressure on lower backs.

Quiet motion wheels vs. that rattle we all know from a typical chair. Ergonomically adjustable at a level I’ve never seen on an office chair, anywhere, to ensure health and safety in the office, all day, every day and desks that are 30%-50% larger than ‘the other guys’, while also built from improved materials.

By sweating the details all the way down to screw placement and visibility for example, it’s no wonder people that don’t even work out of a WorkLodge, want to buy our chairs.

We set out to build in convenient locations, bringing the office closer to where people live.

In The Woodlands alone, people spend an average of 59 minutes daily, going to their office space. That’s over 20 hours each month or half a working week. We wanted to change that, because time is the one thing we all get in finite supply and we think most people would rather spend at least some of it doing things they enjoy, vs. sitting in traffic while paying for the privilege.

By building in the suburbs first, rather than the centralized business districts, we proved a model that went against the grain, and valued the time and financial savings we could deliver to our Members by working close to home. In Houston alone, the average commute will cost $174,314 over the lifetime of someone working. The 2nd highest in the U.S. tied with Dallas where our newest location just opened.

We set out to build a culture on foundational values.

The concept of servant leadership isn’t new, and building Core Values from a faith based perspective on concepts that have stood the test of time (like treating others that way we’d want to be treated) isn’t either. But being authentic, generous and passionate are just a few of the things we value, and it’s why we don’t inflate our pricing just to offer everyone a ‘discount’ so they feel like they got a good deal. We think that’s sneaky and tacky, and we believe business owners are smart enough to see right through it.

We set out to change lives, in a real and tangible way.

We celebrate with our Members, look for ways to intentionally connect them to others, support them, encourage them, listen to them and enjoy them. We see folks move in from other places and then business grows by double digits, over and over again.

100% of WorkLodge Members will tell you WorkLodge is a GREAT PLACE TO WORK and GROW YOUR BUSINESS.

80% (or almost all of) WorkLodge’s fastest growing business owners will tell you that basing their business at WorkLodge has enabled their growth

But that’s not the only way we change lives.

I’d never heard of ‘Social Enterprise’ or ‘Social Impact’ when we started this journey, I just knew there was a better way to marry a for profit business, with non-profit goals and directives that could change our communities for the better. Through our 501(c)3, which we call the Gabriel Project, here’s just some of the things we’ve been able to achieve:

  • Built multiple children’s homes housing 150 kids, loved on by 12 house parents, and being fed, educated and taken care of to provide a better tomorrow than today.
  • Built over 150 clean water wells in Cambodia that provide water not only for drinking, but for washing and farming also, to help local micro businesses grow healthier, safer vegetation that can provide a sustainable income for them and their families.
  • Provided support, counseling and rehabilitation to victims of human trafficking both overseas and in Houston, our home town.
  • Fed local families with fresh, quality food and produce 363 days each year, and totaling approx. $1 million annually.
  • Helped individuals and families in tough situations by investing in their tomorrows.

Many of the things we do through Gabriel are only possible because of some incredible partnerships with amazing people that we’ve been able to build.

We set out to ‘Be Amazing’.

Although it took us a little while to clearly articulate the combination of Core Values and Guiding Principles we operate our day to day business from. They are the basis of all our decision making, with the goal of delivering ‘Amazingness’ through what we do. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect, and it doesn’t mean we get it right every time, because we don’t.

What it does mean is that we sweat the details more than most folks could possibly know. It means we care, deeply, about our Members and their businesses, to the point where some of the team and I personally make sure we incorporate praying over them in our quiet times, because we believe there’s a God out there who cares too. It means we never actually arrive, but have a goal that continues to push us to be better, grow higher and deliver more, in our interactions, in our conversations and in our approach to serving.

I don’t know what I expected when I started, but I know I’m so humbled and blessed by the journey so far.

I’ve met some incredible people, both as Members who work from our locations and staff who joined the team. Evan, Tim and Vince to name just a few. There’s been so many fantastic people we’ve hired and watched grow on to even bigger successes from here and that’s exactly what we want, to see as many people succeed as possible, even if it means we get to start all over with someone else!

I’ve learned such a tremendous amount that if I had to go look for a job today, I don’t even know what one thing I’d be looking to do.

But ultimately, more than anything else, my wife and I love what we’re building, love where we’re heading and we know that we’re just getting started.

Be amazing!

“Thank you so much for taking time to speak to me and showing me around today. It looks like the WorkLodge has been doing some great things over the past 4 years. Especially in regards to having the right staff. I was greeted with such positive energy that it felt like I had been hugged. You all have such great spirits and the passion for what you do evident.”

“It is refreshing to know that organizations like WorkLodge exist. From the humanitarian work, to providing the work environment that you all provide for your tenants is definitely something to tell the world about.”

“WorkLodge has a legendary staff, who have been extremely helpful in the expansion of our business and I can’t think of anywhere better to have my office! Beautiful spaces all with beautiful furniture. The attention to detail is insane! Also a huge shoutout to Mike who has been incredible to our office members. Everyone in the building is friendly, it’s an incredible environment to work!”

“Great business office and work atmosphere! Mike and his team are amazing and are always looking to better your experience. They are outgoing, generous and help maximize efforts to make your business time productive. Thank you WorkLodge!”

“Our company transitioned from the corporate office environment to WorkLodge 5 months ago. It was one of the best decisions we made.”