Beer on tap might seem like something you’re more likely to find in a Silicon Valley start-up than at a financial institution, but that could change with WeWork’s latest endeavor: Powered By We.
The co-working giant, valued at around $20 billion, is seeking to diversify its offerings beyond individuals and small businesses, moving into working with corporates.
One such big-name firm has been Standard Chartered, which brought on WeWork to design and operate a floor in its Hong Kong offices in an effort to foster innovative thinking among the bank’s staff.
“Typically, you would see in a financial institution, it’s pretty cold and hard, because they want to look very corporate, but we wanted to bring people out of their workplace to sit and mingle and connect,” Sern Hong Yu, WeWork’s head of project delivery for Greater China said during CNBC’s “Office Envy,” a series exploring the future of the workplace.
The space, dubbed “eXellerator,” looks like most other WeWork locations with ping pong tables and an open floor space for hot desks, except it includes areas branded with Standard Chartered logos and is only to be used by Standard Chartered employees.
“They’re not just coming here to work,” said Carol Hung, Standard Chartered’s chief information officer for Hong Kong. “They come here to network. They come here to really refresh. They come here to learn about new things.”
Hung was an early advocate for working with WeWork to rethink the company’s work space.
Upcoming Powered by We partnerships will include UBS in New Jersey, investment firm Hony Capital in China and Fung Group, a supply chain and logistics company, also in China.
WeWork’s pitch to corporates comes at a time of tightening labor markets in some cities.
“Large corporations around the world are looking for ways to retain and attract top talent,” WeWork’s Hong Yu said. “With the emerging of the Millennials, there is a whole group of younger generations and they want to make a life, not a living.”