Who would think today that WeWork almost collapsed one day? The titan of coworking spaces, today the meeting and working spot for most of the biggest companies, however, almost completely disappeared in 2019.
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Indeed, at the time, the founder of the company was ejected from his seat, rightly so, for unjustified investments, expensive personal expenses on company’s money for him and his wife, and a management style too anarchic to lead the company on the path to long-term development.
This added to an initial investor, SoftBank, who was too gullible and too concerned about short-term profitability to be interested in the real financial solidity of the company.
This is how, at the end of 2019, the company made the headlines of the media, not only financial, dismissed thousands of employees and prepared to fall from the cliff of major projects that had failed through megalomania and irresponsible management.
But the Covid-19 arrived, the world stopped, and for millions of employees around the world, going back to work was a risky business. The equation was hard to solve: staying at home and losing your job or going to the office at the risk of being infected and contaminating your family...
So of course the tech giants had then allowed their employees to continue, unlimited work, at home. But this was clearly not the case for the majority of companies, still too influenced by the “office culture” inherited from the 40s and 50s (1940-1950 of course) and where “presence-ism” was an attitude valued and thanked by boomer employers and managers.
However, over the months and years, mentalities have changed. Repeated epidemic waves finally took down an anachronistic culture where being present for 8 hours, even for doing nothing, was better appreciated than working in a flexible but efficient manner.
This is the opportunity that made the thief. Rid of a whimsical founder, the WeWork company quickly bought a pipe. Led by a new management team (which took over from the transition team set up when the founder left), the new management saw its chance: offering workspaces to companies to hold meetings, gatherings, “Socialization times” and thus helping businesses saving rent from empty offices.
Thanks to a subscription system paid by employers, WeWork spaces have even given companies the possibility of registering their head office within their spaces and have developed management services to facilitate the coordination of meetings, meetings ...
Obviously, many on this market have undertaken the same initiatives but, given its still relatively predominant position on the market, and after having persuaded the initial investor to set off on the adventure (after many legal proceedings), the company has achieved a turning point and a rarely seen revival, which today makes the joy of students in business classes. In fact, even the schools have taken it up since, in 2032, the first school partially housed in a dedicated co-working space was born.
Many situations surprised us at the end of this pandemic. But the story of WeWork was clearly one of the most surprising episodes!