“Gig” economy drives WeWork’s fortunes
Going to the office isn’t what it used to be. As more workers shift to on-demand and “gig” employment, the workplace has changed, and no company has capitalised on this more than WeWork.
With free-flowing beer and coffee, the smartly designed offices that have popped up in dozens of cities in some 20 countries have become coveted by small firms and freelancers in technology and other sectors.
WeWork, with a whopping valuation by investors of $20 billion, has taken the lead in the co-working space and in the process is disrupting the office and real estate market.
“At WeWork, we want to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living,” says chief executive Adam Neumann, who co-founded the group in 2010 in New York with Miguel McKelvey.
Those who rent desk space or enclosed offices at WeWork are not just clients, they are members of a “community” under the WeWork credo.
Started in New York, WeWork has expanded to some two dozen U.S. cities and around the world in Brazil, Argentina, China, Japan, India, Ireland and Israel, among others, and claims more than 1.50 lakh members.
WeWork supplies an Internet connection, cleaning service, a reception desk and more. In San Francisco, the $400 monthly rent offers a workspace in a shared office, while an enclosed office for several people may cost several thousand dollars.
The monthly deals can be particularly attractive to independent workers who don’t want to make a long-term commitment. But WeWork also rents to employees of large firms such as IBM where regional offices are less convenient.