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With a new software product it hopes to sell to employers, WeWork Inc. is trying to improve its reputation as a tech company.
The co-working company will work with the real estate software company Yardi Systems Inc. to make WeWork Workplace, a tool that will let companies manage their employees and office space the same way WeWork does. The company plans to announce on Wednesday that the software will be available this summer. It can be used to do things like book conference rooms, coordinate flexible desk use with hybrid workers, and figure out which spaces are used the most.
The tools that Yardi already has help landlords and asset managers keep track of their properties’ finances and operations. WeWork’s main business is renting out desks and offices, but in recent years, the company has also tried to grow in other ways. However, it hasn’t gone as far as its co-founder and former CEO, Adam Neumann, who led the company’s expansion into an elementary school and co-living spaces.
Neumann had told investors that WeWork was a technology company. He pointed out that the company had recently bought several companies, such as software for booking conference rooms, a digital marketing company, and a product that used data from employees’ smartphones to track how groups of people moved around an office. After WeWork’s attempt to go public in 2019 failed, some of these side businesses were sold to cut costs.
The second time WeWork tried to go public, it was successful. WeWork told investors last fall, when its current CEO, Sandeep Mathrani, took over as CEO, that it was building a business model with three parts: renting out office space, offering on-demand services like renting a desk for a day and selling a new software service called WeWork Workplace.
Even if a company doesn’t rent space from WeWork, it might still choose to pay for its software tools. This is especially true if its employees want to work some days at the office and some days at home. In January, WeWork said that the pharmaceutical company Organon & Co., which already had leases with WeWork in dozens of locations, was its first customer for this product.
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