WeWork is expected to sack at least 2,000 people as soon as this week, as angry staff at the troubled office rental company turn on its co-founder Adam Neumann.
WeWork rents buildings long-term, gives them a millennial makeover with beer taps, communal spaces and tiny workspaces, and then rents them out short-term. Until recently it was America’s most highly valued private company with 527,000 tenants, or “members”, as WeWork calls them, worldwide.
Two thousand jobs is about 13% of WeWork’s 15,000 staff and few inside the company believe the cuts will stop there. WeWork declined to comment.
The cuts come after WeWork was forced to pull its share sale and new management moves to staunch the company’s huge losses.
Internally, staff say little or no work is getting done as workers prepare for the layoffs and new projects are put on hold. But the timing of the sackings is uncertain, not least because WeWork is now in active discussions to raise money before it runs out of cash next year.
After years of breakneck growth, new openings have all but stopped in WeWork’s two largest markets, New York and London, as landlords worry about the company’s future.
The company’s $850m deal to buy the landmark Lord & Taylor department store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan is in trouble. And two large landlords in London, where WeWork has leased about 3.7m sq ft since 2014, recently told the Financial Times they would not sign new leases for the foreseeable future.
One worker, who spoke anonymously for fear of reprisals, said: “The atmosphere is toxic. A lot of people worked so hard for this company. We thought we were in on something really big.”
In online chats on WeWork’s Slack channel, obtained by the Guardian, staff shared memes about Adam Neumann, WeWork’s co-founder and the man many blame for the company’s dramatic fall from grace.
Source: The Guardian