For better or worse, coworking is somewhat synonymous with WeWork and Adam Neumann’s ability to use tech-speak to reap billions from investors.
Between its failed IPO in 2019, the onset of the pandemic in 2020, and the release of “WeCrashed,” the AppleTV+ miniseries chronicling the company’s downfall, it’s been a rough couple years for WeWork. More broadly, it’s been rough for coworking as a whole.
But recent trends suggest coworking is back, and WeWork is at the center once again, per The New York Times.
… has become increasingly favorable thanks to several macro factors:
- The proliferation of covid vaccines has made the return to office feel safer
- Many workers want to get back to the office, and their companies are looking to fulfill hybrid work environments while still offering flexibility
- Startups facing an uncertain funding environment — the new normal these days — favor short-term leases
As a result…
… occupancy at WeWork jumped to 67% in Q1 2022, up from 47% a year earlier, and not far from its 72% pre-pandemic level.
The company reported ~500k physical memberships last quarter, up ~25% YoY, and has seen increased demand for its All Access plan, a monthly membership that allows entry at hundreds of WeWork locations.
But it’s not just WeWork: niche coworking providers are on the rise as well. One reason is that landlords are becoming more open to profit-sharing agreements rather than traditional leases, which allow coworking companies to reduce their monthly payments.
But coworking still has its challenges
A recent Pew Research study found that 59% of workers who can work remotely want to stay remote, meaning coworking spaces won’t be much of an attraction for them.
Coworking spaces are also at risk for security issues. In 2019, WeWork was found to have weak WiFi security, which exposed sensitive data on its network.
Even so, some analysts predict there will be ~42k coworking spaces globally in 2024, up 116% from 2020. If that’s the case, “WeCrashed” won’t be the end of WeWork’s story.
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