Global coworking powerhouse WeWork revealed this week that they plan to expand the business into enterprise focused offerings.
While many enterprise or corporate users are already situated in WeWork locations and the locations of many other coworking providers around the world this new expansion seems to be slightly different again. It is understood WeWork will be involved in the deign, fit-out, and management of corporate HQs. The spaces will be run in the same way as WeWork locations but will be solely for the use of the corporate tenant.
While employees from enterprise companies (defined as companies with 500 or more employees) like Salesforce and Dell have held memberships at the co-working spaces in the past, WeWork started making a concerted effort to tailor its spaces to these types of workers about a year ago. As of now, the company has made only one big enterprise partnership public–a November deal with Microsoft, in which the software company offered 300 New York City employees a WeWork membership. The company said that more than 20 percent of its membership base now consists of enterprise members (up 170 percent from last year).
WeWork’s ambitions in the enterprise space are still loosely defined, (the company does not advertise pre-selected packages for enterprise companies on its website, but rather works with companies on a case-by-case basis). However, Fano pointed to a few partnership types it will target. The first is getting enterprise companies to take up multiple floors of a WeWork location, or buy WeWork memberships in bulk, as is the case with Microsoft’s New York employees. Microsoft’s sales team uses WeWork offices when they have a meeting in an area of town that’s far away from headquarters to reduce back-and-forth travel time.
WeWork also wants to work with enterprise companies to help them build an entire WeWork location for their employees. The company says that it currently has five buildings occupied by only one or two members.
“Generally, we feel like we can build and design space less expensively than other corporations, because we’re not doing one-off projects,” Fano says.
But, it’s the moment after an enterprise company moves into a WeWork that the company is particularly interested in targeting. “We’re never going to do just design or construction, Fano says. “What we want to do is help them with their company culture and environment.”
Fano said that the company is working on offering facility management services in a similar model as software-as-a-service applications. This could look like enterprise companies located in a WeWork-managed space paying for access to WeWork’s technological offerings–such as a platform that lets companies track conference room bookings and draw insights about space usage–or to pay to bring a WeWork-trained community manager to look after the space and assist with company events. WeWork says it’s currently working with some clients to develop these tailored facility management services, but declined to give specifics.
Is this the start of an “HQ-Powered-by-WeWork” era?
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