WeWork's co-living space raises the question: do you really want to live at the office?

By Virginia K. Smith  | January 15, 2016 - 1:59PM

On the heels of news about a controversial (and expensive) new "co-living" space in Crown Heights, reports started making the rounds that WeWork—the massive co-working startup with 40,000 members—is getting into the shared housing game, too. As reported by FastCompany, the firm is currently beta testing a "community-driven living concept" with 45 apartment units at its 110 Wall Street location. The new spin-off will tentatively be called "WeLive." (Full disclosure: BrickUnderground is located in a WeWork building, though at press time, all of our editors and writers do our living and sleeping elsewhere.)

The setup does come with some potential perks, besides the presumably lightning-fast commute. For gig economy startup workers, it offers a  housing option potentially more flexible than typical 12-month leases, and if you're looking to network, the WeLive location includes an on-site community manager "who will help plan Sunday-night suppers, game nights, karaoke, and fitness classes," according to FastCompany. Monthly cleaning will be included in the rent, and all the apartments—mostly studios and one-bedrooms—will also come fully furnished and decorated, and set up with cable and Internet.

As for the possible downsides? Prices haven't been confirmed yet, but we're guessing this doesn't come cheap. And for those of us who like to go home to unplug and recharge away from work stresses or any attempt at networking, this kind of co-living could bring on a special form of claustrophobia. (Introverts, beware!)

Plus, given the notorious tendency of startups to lure workers into ultra-long office hours (or just an expectations of 24/7 remote availability), it's easy to imagine bad bosses abusing the arrangement. ("Oh would you mind just going downstairs to the office and uploading one more file? It'll only take a minute...")

That said, WeWork seems to be banking big on this new frontier in live-work space, with projections that these types of residences could make up 21 percent of the company's revenue by 2018. Who knows—maybe in 5 years, we'll all have taken to just sleeping under our desks? It would mean saving on rent...


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