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How One Coworking Company Is Putting Relationships First

Convene’s 101 Greenwich St. location is in downtown New York.

With coworking growing in popularity, many providers’ offerings follow the same formula: comfortable digs with internet, phone and meeting rooms — and of course, plentiful snacks and beverages on tap. 

What can separate a coworking space from the pack is the people behind it. That means a focus on hospitality and the people who provide it. 

According to Ryan Simonetti, CEO of New York-based coworking provider Convene, exceptional customer service is increasingly becoming a differentiator in the world of coworking, and that excellent customer service comes from a strong and positive company culture. He emphasized that coworking can benefit substantially from personal contact and the priceless effects of connection. 

“When I think about my favorite hotel, restaurant or coffee shop, it’s the person who knows my name and initiates a real human connection that makes me want to return,” Simonetti said. “It’s not just the design or the food. It’s the personal touch. Coworking is no different.”

Convene wants to create a more personalized coworking experience, which begins with instilling human connection with employees. As a result, Simonetti said, the way to prioritize client experience is to place emphasis on employee satisfaction.

“It’s more than just service delivery — it’s human relationships,” Simonetti said. “At the end of the day, that's all we really have. There's power in face-to-face connections that can’t yet be replicated. It may not ever be. It really is about building that."

This lends to a stronger experience not only for Convene clientele but also landlords, he said.

“We were really the first to define the landlord as the key stakeholder,” he said. “Years ago, we said we were going to help the building owner deliver a better experience to its users, which provides a win-win for the company and its users and employees. Convene makes its money somewhere in the middle.”

Convene has locations in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia.

As the industry has matured, the company has made a conscious choice to position itself as an upmarket coworking provider — a business-class, premium brand serving the needs of progressive companies that care about the people who work for them and can afford to deliver a best-in-class experience. 

Research by Aon Hewitt indicates that employee engagement is on the rise as the economy continues to improve — but engagement alone is not enough to produce a strong company. Instead, it must be backed by strong leadership and performance. 

“A lot of this lies in your business strategy,” Simonetti said. “It’s in the values and beliefs you have as an organization. It’s the way we’ve decided to build the company. Others choose differently, but there’s only one way for us to do it — values-based and very employee-centric.”

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Convene. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.