The Last Word: Common Desk’s Nick Clark on Why Introverts Just Might Need to Be in the Office, and More

Plus, Clark says, looking for “culture fits” could be holding companies back.

“Everybody’s gotten so comfortable working from home, but people are not actually happy working from home. And so they need to be prodded a little bit.”

Nick Clark
Founder, President, and CEO 
Common Desk
.…on the importance of working with others in person, having “serendipitous interactions,” and creating thought diversity in companies, via Keurig’s “Café Culture” podcast.

Here's "who said what" in Dallas Innovates Every Day.Clark was a recent guest on Keurig’sCafé Culture” podcast, which explored ideas about creating café culture from the coworking category. (He’ll also be a speaker at the Global Workspace Association Flex Forward Conference in Frisco this week, as he notes on LinkedIn.)

Earlier this year, Common Desk was acquired by WeWork for an undisclosed amount. Clark continues to lead the company, which has 23 locations in Texas and North Carolina. 

In the podcast, Clark talks about how he founded Common Desk; how he loves it when people walk in off the street mistaking the company’s locations for a bar; and how he first discovered the “magic” of having “serendipitous interactions” while coworking.

But two topics jump out of the podcast: why it’s important for introverts to be “prodded” into going back to the office, and why companies should look for “culture adds,” not “culture fits.”

‘Almost all of us like to identify as introverts’

Photos: Common Desk

I think almost all of us like to identify as introverts—even people that are very outgoing,” Clark says in the podcast. “Everybody’s gotten so comfortable working from home, but people are not actually happy working from home. And so they need to be prodded a little bit. Get ’em back into the office, get ’em back into public areas like cafés and coworking spaces.”

“And so I do think that some of it has to be forced,” he adds. “Because left to our own, we’d say ‘Hey, let’s just do what’s comfortable.’ And what’s comfortable is not actually going out there and putting yourself out on a limb and trying to meet new people. That’s not comfortable to most people. But then you get there, and you’re like, ‘Wow, I just had a great time and that John guy, he’s got some good ideas.’

Reframing the idea of ‘culture fits’ to ‘culture adds’

Another insight Clark explores: why looking for “culture fits” could be holding companies back.

“I think a lot of companies make the mistake of thinking they need to find more ‘culture fits’ for their company. And finding culture fits is literally the exact opposite of what we’re talking about here with thought diversity,” Clark says. “You’re hiring the same type of person over and over and over again. You see companies of all sizes make that mistake. Especially founders—founders are like, ‘Hey, I want more people that are kinda like me.’”

“But then you look up and everybody at the company looks like you, thinks like you, speaks like you—and you’re missing out on a lot of new ideas, a lot of new perspectives that could be brought into the company.”

“So I would encourage companies to kind of reframe the way that they think of hires from ‘culture fits’ to ‘culture adds.’ Let’s figure out the type of people that are missing in this organization and let’s keep adding to this culture. Let’s keep expanding this culture.”

“That’s not only going to help you hire a more diversified talent pool, it’s going to help you hire better talent.”

You can hear the whole podcast by going here.

For more on what’s new and next in North Texas, check out Every Last Word.

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R E A D   N E X T

  • It's the first acquisition by WeWork as a public company since its new CEO's arrival. Common Desk, founded in Dallas by Nick Clark in 2012, has grown its network to serve 4,000 customers at 23 locations in Texas and North Carolina. It will now operate as "Common Desk, a WeWork Company."

  • Common Desk CEO: Flexibility and Hospitality are Keys to Riding the Wave of 'Cataclysmic Change' in the Future of Office Now under the WeWork umbrella, Common Desk aims to shape the growth of the flexible workspace industry. While offices still engage in what Clark calls "an amenity race," they're now more in competition with home offices rather than one another.

  • THE LAST WORD on Dallas Innovates. Find "who said what" in our collection of quotes on Dallas-Fort Worth Innovation.

    Read “who said what” in our roundup of quotes about all things North Texas, including ENO8's Jeff Francis; MyndVR's Chris Brickler and Ted Werth; Axxess' John Olajide; the Urban Land Institute's Ron Pressman; Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson; the Mavs Foundation's Katie Edwards; UT Arlington's Yi Hong;'s Ben Caballero; ParkHub's George Baker Sr.; and more.

  • With an initial target raise of $20 million, Ty Lee's Common Dwelling online platform offers everyday Americans a chance to invest in—and profit from—single-family home rentals. "I wanted to create a platform where people can invest with however much money they have available to them," Lee said. Even if that's as little as $100 or $1,000.

  • As many North Texans try to move on from the pandemic, Dr. Bell is focused on the "tens of millions of patients" who've developed long-haul COVID—and who are experiencing life-altering symptoms long after their COVID-19 infection cleared.