WeWork wants to transform how you work, live and play
WEWORK has built a business empire by convincing professionals to pay for decked out coworking spaces and a warm sense of community. In just eight years, the company has built a network of 212 shared workspaces.
But WeWork’s Chief Executive and Co-founder Adam Neumann isn’t content with just leasing out communal offices to start-ups and remote workers. The entrepreneur has a vision to radically transform the way people around the globe work, live, and play.
And it seems that one of these visions include a push towards the world of retail. WeWork has recently posted two job listings on their site which signals a push towards retail and e-commerce.
One job posting describes the need for a vice-president to launch a new retail experience, with a focus on food and beverages. This role will involve a ‘first location’ in New York, with plans to quickly roll-out in other markets.
The company is also seeking a director to develop merchandise strategy for apparel and other products to be sold in stores as well as through a new “online merchandise shop”.
The company’s retail ambitions have been the subject of talks in trade publications in recent months, and these job postings suggest that serious plans may be well underway.
The aim of WeWork is to create workspaces which cater to the everyday needs of professionals. Dock 72 is the brainchild of WeWork and represents Neumann’s visions of an all-encompassing work-play environment.
The project is set to be completed this year and will consist of an immense co-working space, a luxury spa, and large offices designed and run by WeWork for big companies such as IBM and Verizon. The building is also said to include a bar, a gym, an outdoor basketball court, restaurants, and possibly a barbershop and dry cleaning services.
“How do you change the world?” Neumann asked in a recent interview. “Bring people together. Where is the easiest big place to bring people together? In the work environment.”
Though this may sound overly simplistic, it seems to be working for Neumann and his Co-founder Miguel McKelvey. WeWork has rapidly expanded to 20 countries and has attracted over 200,000 members, including big tenants such as JPMorgan and Siemens. The company’s revenues are expected to top US$2.3 billion this year.
But as WeWork expands into multiple directions, there are questions surrounding the durability of its business model. Some critics argue that the rising company is a commercial real estate and facilities management business in disguise.
WeWork hardly owns any of its properties, giving them a lack of hard assets. Furthermore, a large number of tenants using WeWork’s space are unproven start-ups that can potentially fold without notice.
In order for WeWork to really succeed, the company will need to win over big corporations seeking space for thousands of employees.