No coworking operator has faced as much public scrutiny as WeWork. Despite this, the company has managed to go public in the past year, while benefiting from the increased demand for flexible workspaces.
So what does this mean for the future of WeWork? How is the coworking firm as a whole planning to adapt their strategies for post-pandemic recovery?
According to Mathieu Proust, general manager at WeWork UK Ireland and Emerging Markets, WeWork faced the same challenges other coworking operators faced during the pandemic.
However, Proust said that as a result of the mass shift to remote working, new ways of working have been discovered and are now in demand.
“People now want more choice in how, when and where they work and we can meet this demand due to our scale and offer,” said Proust.
It appears the company is benefiting from this, with the firm recently announcing strong December sales after workers were granted more flexibility in their work environment and companies sought out a wider network of offices.
Still, the volatility of the pandemic means that future lockdowns and restrictions can impact WeWork’s business model.
In order to sustain business during these times, WeWork offers first-time members discounts for their first three months, and has also pushed its WeWork All Access and WeWork On Demand programs.
WeWork All Access is a monthly membership that provides members access to its locations all over the world. WeWork On Demand is a pay-as-you-go service, where users can book a meeting room or work area by the hour as needed.
Some members have commended WeWork during this time, stating that the operator has made efforts to create safe, healthy work environments to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, while providing them the tools needed for a productive day.
However, others have claimed that there has been little communication from the company since signing up for its membership.
“I’m not sure if we’ll stay,” one anonymous small business owner said. “I like the trendy, central location but there’s only two or three of us in the team at the moment and if we hired more staff, I’m not sure it would be worth spending more for the extra memberships.”