November 26, 2019
In an Op-Ed published November 25, 2019, in Crain’s New York Business Principal Jeremy Singer writes about WeWork’s recent fall. He asserts that while the real estate business’ model has failed, its concept should not be abandoned as it is inherent to the city’s ethos.
“The ‘We’ in WeWork is Very New York—Let’s Keep It”
From the 18th century sugar refiner to the Silicon Alley start-up, our city has always attracted and encouraged ambitious risk takers. Enter WeWork. Although Wall Street and its institutional investors ultimately did not buy into the sky-high $47 billion dollar valuation and planned IPO, prompting Softbank’s Masayoshi Son to admit to an error in judgment, we should not discount the societal phenomenon on which the company was built. Our city needs more, not fewer, “we” spaces.
With the work-anywhere capability that our digital devices provide, the boundaries between work and life have become increasingly blurred, so much so that for many people, work is life. With the rise of virtual connectivity, the key ingredients derived from physical interaction, collaboration, socialization and human connection are increasingly diminished. Research points to loneliness in the United States being at epic proportions. In a recent survey by Cigna Health, 46% of respondents reported sometimes or always feeling alone.*