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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
Jun 2, 2020 - Science

NASA passes the torch

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With the historic crewed SpaceX launch last weekend, NASA passed the torch to private companies that will need to step up to build the economy the space agency envisions in orbit.

Why it matters: This new era of spaceflight will likely be marked by new conflicts — possibly including product placement (like the Tesla that drove the astronauts to the pad on Saturday), safety concerns and cultural differences between companies, the space agencies and people they serve.

Updated Jan 1, 2019 - Science

Deep Dive: The new global race to space

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A few years ago, a Silicon Valley billionaire decried that he and his friends dreamed of flying cars, and instead got 140 characters. He was wrong: They, along with entrepreneurs and governments around the world, got much more — a space race on steroids.

The big picture: From Dubai to the U.S., Tokyo to Moscow, Tel Aviv to Beijing and more, billionaires, privateers and political leaders are vying to land on the Moon, colonize Mars, mine asteroids — and just get off the Earth. "Whatever we have evolved into hundreds and thousands of years from now, we'll look at these decades as when the human race moved off the planet," said Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X-Prize Foundation.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.