WeWork will rent to HSBC a space of more than 1,100 jobs in the heart of London. A lease presented - with little modesty - as the one concerning the largest open space in the world. Above all, it is a strategic announcement, as WeWork looks after its financial health and focuses on key accounts. The stock market is getting ready to go public and we must show the best possible face.
A gigantic space synonymous with a change in mentality
Not far from Waterloo, WeWork offers 1,135 locations dedicated to HSBC bank employees. Located at Southbank Place, the space is completely new.
This initiative is a significant step forward in establishing a more flexible work organisation within the bank, which already uses shared offices in the United Kingdom, North America and Asia (notably with WeWork in Hong Kong and Singapore). In the United Kingdom, the bank's corporate real estate team is already working, ironically, at Southbank Place.
In a video presentation on HSBC's website in 2018, Stephen Mitchell, Head of Client Relations, said that the move of a team to a WeWork office had allowed the bank to work alongside and engage with "ambitious young companies". The emulation created by shared office space seems to please the international group, which therefore continues to trust WeWork.
HSBC has not communicated on the use of these offices. It is not known what functions will be installed there, and what other sites could potentially be closed or reduced.
Large spaces for large accounts
This is a rare operation, particularly in terms of the number of posts and the available surface area (which has not been communicated). By way of comparison, Facebook has already rented entire buildings in WeWork in Mountain View, California and London, while in Boston, a restaurant group, ezCater, has rented space large enough to accommodate up to 750 employees with 9,200 m². These contracts are already very important and have been largely overtaken by this new deal with HSBC in Europe. At the end of 2018, WeWork owned some 55,000 m² in Europe, ahead of its competitor Spaces (from the IWG group). Dedicating approximately 10,000 m² to a single customer is therefore a strong announcement.
With nearly 425 offices in more than 35 countries, WeWork continues to grow and is increasingly turning to large groups. The company now wishes to promote the ownership of its premises (and no longer the rental) and attract large companies with contracts over several years. A model in constant evolution to regain profitability. WeWork is preparing for a stock market flotation, and the announcement of the launch of this largest open space in the world comes at the right time.
While HSBC can boast the world's largest open-space platform, France still holds the largest space for start-ups with the Station F campus. Station F - located in Halle Freyssinet, Paris - covers 34,000 m² and hosts a startup area of more than 3,000 workstations! An open space totally new in its size created by Xavier Niel and directed by Roxanne Varza.