WeWork under fire for lack of pandemic support

March 24, 2020
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WeWork, the coworking company, will keep its United States locations open during the COVID-10 pandemic grows and some states close nonessential businesses. 

WeWork claims its business is essential even as it receives criticism from members for not closing the doors, offering any refunds, or suspending rent for clients not willing to work during the pandemic. 

The company defends its decision by stating it has "an obligation to keep our buildings open." They have also stepped up building cleanings, introduced work from home programs, new rotation shifts, and some subsidies to use ride-hailing platforms to avoid mass transit systems.

WeWork has temporarily closed some offices in New York City after some workers tested positive for coronavirus. 

The company also reportedly sent out a memo to employees offering community worker $100 per day to go into work and keep locations operating. 

Under normal circumstances, a member is required to give WeWork a 30-day notice before exiting their agreement, but as more businesses are deemed as unessential and the company refuses to suspend rent payments many are getting more upset. Some members are hoping to get out of their contracts altogether or are trying to convince the company to suspend membership fees.

All these issues land in WeWork's lap at a difficult time. After launching a troubled IPO and changing out the company's leadership WeWork also saw the first three fiscal quarters of 2019 lose around $2.6 billion. Since then WeWork hasn't released any new financial information. 

SoftBank Group, one of WeWork's biggest investors, did provide bailout money to the company but reportedly wants partially out of that deal. SoftBank already spent $5 billion as apart of the bailout but the $3 billion promised to buy stock from existing investors may be off the table.

WeWork isn't the only company landing in hot water for its lack of initiative during the pandemic. Rightmove suspended payment to its agents sparking some to create a "Say No To Rightmove" website. 

Other companies like OnTheMarket have stepped up and are offering a three-month agent listing discount while Vrbo is warning its members to not downplay the pandemic. 

 

March 24, 2020

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