Think Globally, Work Locally?

WeWork releases its first Global Impact Report ahead of IPO

A common area in a Shanghai WeWork (Seth Powers)

WeWork and parent corporation The We Company frequently tout their ambitions about changing the world for the better, but until this point, they haven’t disclosed many material markers to indicate their impact on neighborhoods. That’s all changed with the release of WeWork’s first Global Impact Report, which tracks the company’s impact on the global, local, and neighborhood levels.

The report comes on the heels of news that WeWork had confidentially filed the preliminary paperwork for a public offering in December of last year. Ahead of an IPO, bolstering the company’s claims that it positively benefits the neighborhoods surrounding its coworking spaces might help put investors at ease—as the New York Times reported, the company’s revenue in 2018 doubled to $1.8 billion, while its losses doubled as well, to $1.9 billion.

The study, conducted with research firm HR&A Advisors, pulls back the curtain on many of the company’s operations.

For instance, the report highlights the fact that over one-third of WeWork’s members are Global Fortune 500 companies. They also reported that 90 percent of employees in a U.S.-based WeWork office have bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared to the national average of 39 percent.



On a local scale, the company touted its ability to draw workers to the neighborhoods around its coworking spaces. Seven-out-of-ten WeWork members had reportedly never worked in said neighborhoods before moving into a WeWork space, and one-in-ten moved closer to their WeWork.

The figures also reveal that WeWork is an urban conglomerator of “innovation economy” workers, defined as those in industries that “are a combination of 58 high-value and high-growth industries such as technology, creative, professional services, and advanced manufacturing.” In the U.S., 83 percent of employees operating out of a WeWork are in the innovation economy, compared to the 15 percent national average. Worldwide, 76 percent of WeWork members are in the innovation economy.

The report also paints a rosy portrait of how WeWork “pumps” the local economy. WeWork claims that for every member, it creates an additional .7 local jobs in the U.S., and 1.2 local jobs globally. For its 400,000 WeWork members, the company estimates there are another 280,000 “multiplier” jobs created by WeWork members.

The company closed out its Global Impact Report by laying out how retrofitting older buildings in dense cities reduces their carbon footprint and detailing the benefits of their various offshoot projects. Education, the Flatiron School, a coding camp, and their initiatives to bring veterans into the workforce are all explored. If The We Company plans on keeping its pledge to expand to banking, neighborhood planning, and whatever else it might be interested in, then this may become the first in a series of “progress reports.”

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