WeWork will last 50 years

Capital podcastWework: "We no longer want to grow at any price"

The coworking spaces of the office broker Wework have also been filling up for a few weeks, although they look different than before - no longer just cool and cozy, but also controlled and designed for security: with arrows that navigate through the offices, disinfectant dispensers and mandatory masking in open areas Surfaces.

The crisis is changing the world of work - and many companies are wondering how much office space they want to keep available after the summer break. Flexible work on flexible surfaces is in greater demand, and Wework wants to position itself here. "Companies now have to find out what balance the workforce should work from in the office or from home," says Nikolay Kolev, who has been in charge of the DACH region and Northern Europe since January, in the podcast "Zero Hour" (Capital, Stern, n -tv). It is about the possibility of being able to use space spontaneously in larger cities. Kolev speaks of a new “hyperflexibility”.

Wework had a difficult year in 2019 with a botched IPO, the resignation of founder Adam Neumann and a narrowly averted bankruptcy. The record valuation purred from 47 billion dollars to 7 billion dollars, the largest investor Softbank had to avert bankruptcy, 2400 employees were laid off. In February, the Indian-born real estate manager Sandeep Mathrani became CEO and revised the strategy: instead of just growth, it is also about profitability. "We have absolutely distanced ourselves from growth at any price," says Kolev, who previously worked for Deloitte Digital and the consulting firm A.T. Kearney worked.

The lockdown put Wework under further stress. In May, Softbank valued the company at just $ 2.9 billion - also because of the pandemic. Hundreds of employees were laid off again in the spring, while others had to reapply. The figures in the first quarter were more optimistic: for the first time, sales exceeded $ 1 billion and the burn rate improved by 60 percent.

In the medium term, Wework wants to benefit from the upheaval in the world of work. Studies from New York, for example, have shown that the way to coworking spaces is much shorter than to company offices. Wework wants to be the alternative between the office and home office.


In the podcast “The Zero Hour - Germany's Way Out of the Crisis”, Capital Editor-in-Chief Horst von Buttlar speaks to people who are experiencing the Corona crisis and its economic consequences up close. You can find all episodes at Audio Now, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Soundcloud and Spotify. For all other podcast apps, you can use the RSS feed. Take the feed url and simply add “Zero Hour” to your podcast subscriptions.