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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WeWork is turning into Uber.

The big picture: The rise of remote work has been disastrous for WeWork, which placed a hugely expensive bet on offices. Now the company is trying to find its place in the future of work by making its office space available on demand.

What's happening: WeWork is expanding WeWork on Demand, which it piloted in New York City over the summer, to 160 of its locations in 11 cities.

  • Through the app, anyone can book a desk in a shared workspace for $29 per day or reserve a private meeting room starting at $10 per hour.
  • 43 of the WeWorks that are available to book are in New York City, and the rest are scattered across Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, D.C., and the Bay Area. The company says it plans to expand to several more locations around the U.S. and the world by next year.

Between the lines: A free-for-all in which anyone can book space at any number of WeWorks raises safety questions as we navigate the pandemic.

  • WeWork says it'll follow social distancing guidelines and mandate masks as well as ask app users to provide information for contact tracing.
  • WeWork has also upgraded ventilation systems. "Pretty much every WeWork now has better circulation than before," says Prabhdeep Singh, the company's global head of marketplace.

While On Demand is a way for WeWork to make some money during pandemic-era telework, the company plans to keep it going even after the coronavirus is behind us.

  • WeWork is betting on a hybrid remote and in-person future of work, says Singh.
  • And the company is hoping that, on days when people don't go into the office, they will grab space at a WeWork — instead of a coffee shop or the local library — to make some calls or just get out of the house.

What to watch: The sharing economy has worked with cars and vacation homes, but you don't really see this kind of thing in commercial real estate. Office space leases are usually several years — or even decades — long.

  • WeWork is bullish about this new offering. During the NYC pilot, the company got 700 on-demand bookings in 60 days.
  • Some other companies have experimented with renting out workspace during the pandemic, such as Marriott.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Dec 1, 2020 - Science

Biden's military space future

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden should anticipate major and minor conflicts in space from even the earliest days of his presidency.

The big picture: President Donald Trump's military and civil space policies are well-documented, but Biden's record and views on space are less clear.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.