|Patricia Chun, general manager of WeWork Korea, speaks during a press conference at the office-sharing company's branch near Seoul Station, Tuesday. Courtesy of WeWork Korea|
By Baek Byung-yeul
WeWork Korea, a local unit of multinational office-sharing company WeWork, vowed to offer Korea-specific services at a time when many companies are improving flexibility to their workplace operations as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the head of the Korean branch, Tuesday.
"We recently launched WeWork All Access service. By paying a monthly fee of 225,000 won ($176), users can access 765 WeWork branches in 35 countries. Korean users can purchase the monthly service program at e-commerce stores," Patricia Chun, general manager of WeWork Korea, said during a press conference at the company's office-sharing space near Seoul Station.
"Due to the pandemic, many companies are increasingly providing office spaces close to their employees' homes. I think WeWork All Access can be a reasonable alternative. It is a trend these days that the headquarters is being redesigned as a hub where employees gather for a meeting. By using the All Access program, companies can reduce the density of their offices," she said.
The general manager said the company will also enhance user convenience in the third quarter of this year by enabling entry into WeWork offices using their mobile devices.
The company launched a service called WeWork Premium in the Korean market to increase the satisfaction of its members. Chun said the Premium program offers an office space that is 2.5 times wider than the existing office space as well as a large desk to meet the needs of Korean customers who prefer a wide desk.
When asked whether the Korean unit plans to increase the number of branches, Chun said there are no additional plans for new branches at the moment except to expand the space of existing ones, citing the country's hot property market.
"There is nothing in the pipeline. It's not that we're not going to invest anymore in Korea, but we are opening new branches globally," she said. "The real estate market here is so hot that it is not easy for us to find an available space. I would like to say that we have not stopped growing strategically."
Since the company opened a new branch near Sinnonhyeon Station on Seoul Metro Line 9 in April 2020, WeWork Korea has not added any new branches.
Regarding adding new branches outside of Seoul, she added that WeWork Korea is currently focusing on improving competence at its branches in Seoul.
"Currently we are operating two branches in Busan and have seen good performances there. We acknowledge that many startups are emerging in areas outside Seoul. There is definitely a market, but we are focusing on Seoul, the market that we can do well," she said.