WeWork or a traditional lease?

Debating between WeWork or a commercial office? Here’s what we offer above and beyond the traditional

The pace of business is faster than ever, and all companies, no matter how large, have to operate with speed and agility.

Perhaps you need to open an office in an emerging market. Or scale the number of employees in a specific location. Maybe you’ve just acquired a company and require a space for those new teammates. Or else, you may be launching an innovation hub and are seeking an inspiring space where people can collaborate.

In any of those situations, you’ll need to source space—fast. Yet, the commercial real estate process has not evolved to match the speed of business. Leases are still long-term and inflexible. They don’t take into account that most companies need to scale up and down in markets around the world in order to stay competitive.

So what’s a company leader to do?

WeWork has a solution: WeWork office suites, a private, personalized space for 25 or more employees within a thriving WeWork location. With WeWork office suites, you get your own conference rooms, amenities, and branding—plus full operational support and access to all WeWork common areas. This way, you can easily source as much or as little space as you need, anywhere in the world—without committing to a long-term lease and paying for space that will, at some point, inevitably go unused.

WeWork office suites offer you agility, without compromise.

Wondering what that means? Here’s how WeWork office suites compare to traditional commercial office space. (Or, if you’re ready, calculate the cost of a WeWork office suite in your market.)

Lease terms

Commercial leases are long-term—five to 10 years for prime real estate in the United States, Canada, and the UK—and usually inflexible. Companies that experience growth or change rarely find that they have the right amount of space for their employees—they’re either overcrowded or underutilized.

WeWork understands that businesses evolve. We expect your needs to change year to year—or even month to month. That’s why our service agreements start at six months for WeWork office suites. If you need to expand, just let us know. We can meet your needs for additional space.

In addition, WeWork is your single global real estate provider. With more than 425 locations in 100 cities in 27 countries, we can easily help you open satellite offices when you need to move into new markets.

  • Commercial lease: 10 years
  • WeWork office suites: starting at six months
Photography by Kevin Kaminski/The We Company.

Lease cost

Signing a commercial lease on office space requires an upfront payment to secure it, often a year’s rent.

With WeWork, there are no major capital investments or hidden costs. We charge a one-time service retainer of 1.5 to 2.5 times your monthly membership fee, depending on your payment method. We return it to you within 30 days after the agreement ends.

  • Commercial lease: One year of advance payment
  • WeWork office suites: 1.5 to 2.5 month service retainer

Office buildout cost

If you’ve signed a lease for a commercial office space, you then have to customize it. This means sourcing and managing architects, designers, contractors, engineers, IT specialists, and other vendors. In New York, the average office buildout cost ranges from $161.05 to $247.67 per square foot, depending on the layout.

With WeWork office suites, you don’t need to undergo that expensive and time-consuming process. We’ll work with you to make the space your own, at no additional cost. First, you select the office layout and design style that best suits your company. Then, we’ll integrate your branding and personal touches.

  • Commercial lease: $161.05 to $247.57 per square foot in New York
  • WeWork office suites: $0

Time to market

The search, customization, and buildout before move-in can take 12 to 18 months. This leaves a lot of room for unproductive work as employees remain stuck in inadequate environments while they wait for their new space.

With WeWork office suites, your space is move-in ready. Generally, you can make yourself at home as soon as you’ve signed your agreement (unless you’ve opted for a space in one of our soon-to-be-opened locations).

  • Commercial lease: 12 to 18 months
  • WeWork office suites: Immediate move-in (for currently open buildings)

Office operation costs and logistics

Even the best-designed office can’t run itself. You need a team to keep it clean and safe. In the U.S., the average office manager salary is $46,285, and the average IT director salary is $114,685. The average receptionist and mail clerk salaries are each $27,000 annually, while a custodian‘s salary is $24,000. That’s a total of $238,970 without factoring in benefits or the supplies and infrastructure (e.g., Wi-Fi, software, phones, coffee, cleaning materials) each of those employees needs to perform their jobs—which would push that total well above $350,000 a year.

WeWork allows you to offload office-management logistics. Our team handles Wi-Fi, utilities, phones, conference-room reservation and guest-registration technology, security, cleaning, and mailroom services. We’ll stock your kitchens with fruit-infused water, micro-roasted coffee, and tea. It’s all included in your WeWork membership.

  • Commercial lease: $350,000+ per year
  • WeWork office suites: $0

The benefits of a WeWork membership

With WeWork office suites, you get your own private space, complete with a reception area, kitchenette, and phone booths—and you enjoy all the benefits that come with being a WeWork member. Your team can work, take meetings, and connect with other WeWork members in your location’s common areas. Plus, we provide access to discounted professional services, career-development events, and perks like reduced gym memberships.

  • Commercial lease: N/A
  • WeWork office suites: $0
Photograph by Katelyn Perry/The We Company.

Focus on your business, not on real estate

As a business leader, the decisions you make don’t just affect your company’s performance. They also impact each employee’s overall experience.

That’s why WeWork is here for you. With WeWork office suites, your company gets a private, beautiful workspace designed for innovation and creativity that’s personalized just for your company, and your employees get all the benefits and perks that come with being WeWork members. But most importantly, we give you the ability to leverage our spaces to help you meet your business objectives—while giving your employees the best experience possible.

WeWork offers companies of all sizes space solutions that help solve their biggest business challenges.

Michael Hershfield is the vice president of product at WeWork. He’s spent more than a decade in the startup space in New York and Toronto while serving as COO of Nucleus Intercom, COO of Kitchensurfing, vice president of business and corporate development of Sailthru, and CEO and cofounder of LiveStub. He is also an angel investor, venture advisor at Silas Capital, and a board member at Israel Policy Forum.

Interested in workspace? Get in touch.