Office-leasing company WeWork is offering $100 daily bonuses to its employees for coming in to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the New York Times, the company’s employees can now earn up to $500 per week, which will be awarded at the end of each month. WeWork is keeping all but one of its U.S. locations open despite orders in 28 states for non-essential businesses to close and employees to stay at home.
The offer comes at a critical time for WeWork. Investor SoftBank Capital is set to bail the struggling company out after a failed IPO and a massive fall in valuation. Meetup, which was acquired by WeWork in 2017, has since been reacquired by private investors. As millions of people transition to working from home in line with widespread public health guidance, the core of WeWork has claimed it is an essential business under New York’s stay at home orders, allowing it to remain open.
In an official WeWork memo published by CNBC, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Shyam Gidumal explained that employees would receive $100 for every day spent in the office during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Not only has WeWork been designated an essential business under orders we have reviewed,” writes Gidumal. “WeWork is full of members whose companies are also essential businesses to us as a society as well as those designated essential under these orders.” The bonuses will be based on the services and contributions that employees provide for WeWork’s members.
WeWork is a commercial real estate company founded in 2010 that leases shared office workspaces to member companies and entrepreneurs. Its community teams offer services like onsite programming, communications, and mail handling, among others. Since WeWork is a service provider, it has an obligation to keep its properties open for member business. According to executive chairman Marcelo Claure and CEO Sandeep Mathrani, “We too have members counting on us to remain open so they can run their companies to generate revenue, pay their people, and continue serving their customers.”
Rather than consider the $100 bonus a bribe to continue working, Gidumal claims that it is given “in recognition of our Community employee’s willingness to support our members by keeping our buildings open and operating during these extraordinary times.” All WeWork employees working remotely will continue receiving regular pay.