Tuesday 12 November 2019

WeWork to cut European workforce but Irish spaces stay open

WeWork were thought to have plans for shared office space in Clerys, Dublin
WeWork were thought to have plans for shared office space in Clerys, Dublin
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

WeWork is to cut jobs in Europe, although it will keep the five buildings it currently uses in Dublin open and these will be staffed.

The co-working space firm has been in crisis for months, with Japanese investment powerhouse SoftBank rescuing it through a €9bn cash injection two weeks ago after its initial public offering (IPO) was cancelled.

A spokesperson for the company declined to give specific numbers for the job losses. However, a source familiar with the company's plans said that the job cuts won't affect "community teams" based in the buildings themselves.

WeWork's Dublin collection of shared working space buildings makes it one of the firm's highest per-capita territories outside the US.

These include the old Central Bank on Dame Street, Harcourt, North Wall Quay, Charlemont Exchange and Iveagh Court. It had been tipped to add more Dublin properties, including the old Clerys building on O'Connell Street.

"WeWork is in conversation with employees in EMEA as we make changes to our operating model and workforce in light of our refocused strategy," said a WeWork spokesperson.

"Leadership has been diligent in its decision making and we are committed to treating our colleagues fairly and with respect. Looking ahead, WeWork will continue to focus on our core workspace business in the EMEA region and providing our members with an exceptional experience."

WeWork has never made a profit, losing €800m in the first half of this year. In the past nine years, it has opened 425 office locations in 36 countries. WeWork is the biggest private office tenant in cities like New York and London. But it has €40bn of future rent payments due and over €800m in renovation costs.

The firm's controversial founder Adam Neumann recently walked away from the company with over €1bn as part of its rescue deal.

A source familiar with the company's plans said that WeWork plans to remain in Europe due to "strong demand".

"In the past, hiring and infrastructure expansion was based on the kind of high growth we had seen in the past," said the source. "It will be at a slower pace, which means a shift in the business."

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