- WeWork is reorganizing its community team across the US and Canada, a leaked internal document shows.
- The community team runs the WeWork buildings and serves as the main point of connection for customers.
- The embattled office company is in the midst of a larger reorganization, with hundreds of jobs cut across departments in the last week.
- Sources said WeWork has rewritten job descriptions — and people had to reapply for roles or face dismissal.
- If a community lead in one city applies for a different city, WeWork will not pay for relocation expenses, the documents show.
- For more WeWork stories, click here.
WeWork’s front lines could look much different whenever its customers return to their offices.
The embattled office company is conducting a massive reorganization of its community team across the United States and Canada, rewriting job descriptions, and giving the people who manage its locations an option to reapply for the new roles or face dismissal, according to people with knowledge of the policies.
The changes come as WeWork undergoes a company-wide reorganization, with hundreds of jobs cut in the last week on teams including IT, sales, and the Flatiron School — a coding bootcamp. CEO Sandeep Mathrani said last month that layoffs would wrap up by the end of May.
Unlike some other flexible-office companies, WeWork has kept all of its US locations open in the midst of the pandemic, though some members have criticized the company for charging for space they can’t use.
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Last month, WeWork encouraged community staff to go to the office with $100-a-day bonuses, the New York Times reported. Other recent front-line changes include the loss of some cleaning staff, who were laid off last month by outsourced cleaning company JLL.
Now, WeWork is restructuring the roles of community leads, community managers, and portfolio leads, in order of hierarchy, and making them more narrowly focused on customer satisfaction and retention, according to the documents. Until now, the community lead and manager roles have had a much broader mandate, including responsibility for tasks related to operations, hospitality, sales, and account management.
WeWork announced the changes to some staff last Thursday, according to one of the people. It gave employees until May 5 at 5 p.m. New York time to decide. Job offers will be extended next week for community leads, and later this month or next for the other two roles.
“In choosing to opt-in, team members must select one city to opt into through the internal job board,” the document states. “This does not mean you are guaranteed a role, you will be put into a pool of candidates that will then be selected based on geographic location and tenure.”
It goes on: “If you do not opt-in by May 5, then we will consider this a passive opt-out.”
Those who don’t apply for the new roles will be given severance, one of the people said.
Regardless of their decision, employees are being asked to continue coming into the office to staff the locations, one of the people, who was not authorized to speak to the media, said. If they don’t, they’re being asked to use time off or risking the loss of any severance, the person said.
A WeWork spokesman declined to comment.
Read more: The coronavirus is a ‘nuclear bomb’ for companies like WeWork. 10 real-estate insiders lay out the future of flex-office, and how employers are preparing now.
48 hours to accept a new role
Community managers will now be asked to cover a “cluster” of buildings and no longer be responsible for the profit or loss of the buildings, according to the documents. Those applying for the new role will have 48 hours to accept.
The portfolio manager role will now be called an area director, and go from covering an average of 8 buildings to between 18 and 24, the documents show.
WeWork won’t interview for the community lead role, though the new community manager and area director roles will require interviewing, as well as having an updated resume on hand. If a community lead in one city applies for a different city, WeWork will not pay for relocation expenses, the documents show.
WeWork will continue to employ community associates, those on the lowest rung of the ladder in the community team, and will work with them to fit them into the reorganized structure.
Many of WeWork’s venture-backed competitors have already cut staff as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the real-estate market, dampening demand for office space that sits empty during shelter-in-place orders. So far, 435 total employees have been affected at Convene, Industrious, and Knotel.
WeWork execs had previously publicly projected confidence about weathering the coronavirus pandemic, with a March letter to investors reassuring them that the $4.4 billion in cash and cash commitments on hand at the start of 2020 was enough to execute the company’s five-year plan.
Now, WeWork is also making headlines for the public tussle between SoftBank and some of WeWork’s early backers and cofounder Adam Neumann. Investors and Neumann are suing SoftBank for backing out of a deal to purchase up to $3 billion of stock.