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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

WeWork offices are now just as full as they were before the pandemic

Members work in the cafeteria at the WeWork Cos Inc. 85 Broad Street offices in New York on May 22, 2019.   (Bloomberg )
By Ellen Hunt Bloomberg

WeWork Inc. said offices were 72% full at the end of the second quarter, matching the occupancy rate from before the Covid-19 pandemic in late 2019 for the first time.

WeWork’s occupancy rate – the percentage of its total desks that were rented out – dropped dramatically during the first year of the pandemic, when many tenants canceled their rental contracts and decided to work from home.

That metric hit its low point of 46% a year later.

The company pitched a turnaround story when it went public last year in a blank-check merger.

WeWork’s buildings have slowly filled back up. WeWork management has maintained that more customers are drawn to its flexible office space offering as they attempt to figure out long-term real estate strategies in a new world of hybrid and remote work.

It now has 62,000 subscriptions to its All-Access pass, a product that allows customers to book space for shorter increments of time.

Occupancy aside, the second-quarter performance was less rosy.

The New York-based co-working company had $815 million in sales, missing an average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg of $821 million.

WeWork continues to lose money and is narrowing that gap more slowly than predicted: Last quarter it reported a $635 million loss when analysts expected $479 million.

Its loss in the second quarter is wider than the first quarter’s $504 million.

Still, the company is working on taming its once-roaring levels of cash burn. In the first quarter of 2021, WeWork lost $2.1 billion, hit by the shockwaves of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and a hefty settlement payment to its co-founder and former chief executive officer, Adam Neumann.

The company has also looked to expand its software offerings; in April, it said it would start selling tech tools to help companies manage manage their employees and their physical spaces.