Tania Adir is the co-founder and CEO of Uncommon, a company using research into wellbeing to create beautiful co-working spaces.
Launched in 2014, it has four locations, including a property on London’s Liverpool Street. After working at a top international law firm, Adir set out on her own, initially launching property development firm G&T London before turning her attention to her latest venture.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I started my career training as a lawyer, working for Allen & Overy, before launching a property development firm, G&T, with my husband Gal Adir. With 5 years of law and property under my belt, my husband and I used our development knowledge and purchased our first workspace, which became known as Uncommon. Our first space was in Highbury and Islington and albeit during the recession, we saw a real surgency in co-working spaces and went on to purchase offices in Borough, Fulham and Liverpool Street, over the period of 4 years. I am also very excited to announce plans for wider expansion in 2021, with our 140,000 sq. ft property opening in 2021 in Holborn
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I have always been interested in business and have had great role models in my life, which I believe is where my passion for creating my own company has come from. I believe one thing naturally led to the next, having started in law, I then got a real sense for property law, which led me to the property development side of things, and this is how Uncommon was conceived.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
It’s not been plane sailing, but I think for one to better themselves, learn from their mistakes, grow as a person and an entrepreneur and to appreciate the good things in life/your career you have to overcome hurdles and challenges along the way, and trust me there have certainly been times of doubt along my career path. I’ve managed to fight through doubts and obstacles and focus on the end goal. Having 4 beautiful workspaces and our largest opening in 2021 in Holborn, proves that it was worth it.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Definitely launching Uncommon with my husband Gal Adir. We are both really hard-working individuals, and each play a different role within the business. I am so proud of both of us for getting to this stage and creating such a dynamic workspace model. I have spent the best part of a decade researching wellbeing in the workplace and I have implemented so much of this research into the functionality of Uncommon, to ensure our members have the opportunity to experience an environment which is not only pleasing on the eye but increases productivity, concentration, and above all a general wellbeing.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
The people around me, my family, especially my husband Gal and my Uncommon team. I think without a support network it is really tricky to not only realise your dreams but to make them happen. Even if it is just one person that believes in you, this is enough to give you the confidence and ‘get go’ that you need to make a success of yourself.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Mentoring is a fantastic way to share knowledge, and develop leadership skills. I think it can be really useful to encourage strong internal networks and increase teamwork.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
Companies need to impose real accountability – i.e. aspirational targets for progression within the company to be equal between genders. Improving the perception of fairness amongst employees can make a lot of progress towards gender equality.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Never pass up a networking opportunity. Connections are so valuable, and you never know who you’re going to meet and where that connection might take you.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Uncommon is opening a fifth space, and our largest yet, in Holborn next year. The design considerations of such a large project are challenging, but one that I’ve enjoyed so far, and the reward of opening it to members and the public will make it all worth it. In the future I want to take Uncommon into Europe and beyond – we have a great business model and I would love to turn it into a global brand.
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