Office Trends: Is WeWork a fad?

In her article at Bloomberg, Gillian Tan reports that Candice King of WeWork is pushing potential investors to see co-working not as a fad or a trend, but as a disruptive force.

WeWork has certainly seen success in some markets, as the co-working company leases space in cities and then charges workers a fee to use that space. As more and more workers either work remotely or are contractors working for multiple companies, a space to work that is quiet, professional, and has all the tools needed can be very important.

However, one of the primary challenges WeWork faces is that their target customer can literally work anywhere, in a business world that is increasingly independent of tools such as printers, fax machines, and the like. Many of their target workers work from their home, and all they need is a computer desk and a file cabinet to get their work done and stay organized. They can use apps like Scannable, instead of needing a fax machine.

If they need to meet with a client, WeWork does offer many flexible places to do so, with couches, booths for privacy, and even private rooms for an extra fee. This element is one of the best selling points for potential customers of WeWork, as finding a place to meet that is neutral, professional, and not too noisy can be a challenge for those who work from home.

In the end, co-working does not seem to be a fad; people have been working in public places for years prior to WeWork coming on the scene. For many, working in a public place like a Starbucks, where others are around, is preferable to working even in the quieter confines of their own home. Working by yourself in a quiet place can become mentally challenging and lonesome.

If WeWork is able to keep their prices low enough, it seems likely they will attract enough customers to stay alive and continue growing.

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