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WeWork and Other Co-Working Spaces to Be an Option for Feds 

GSA will issue guidance to agencies on how to take advantage of this first-ever contract. 

The federal government's landlord recently awarded a first-of-its-kind co-working spaces contract to WeWork and several other companies, as the federal workplace culture evolves in wake of the pandemic.

The General Services Administration awarded the contract on August 18 to WeWork, Liquidspace, Deskpass, Expansive (called Novel Coworking before June 2021) and The Yard for a total value of $50 million. During her confirmation hearing in June, now-GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has expanded the use of telework and flexible work options, is a “great opportunity to think about how to right size the federal footprint of real estate.” 

“The flexible coworking services contract is available for use by all federal agencies through GSA,” said an agency spokesperson in a statement to Government Executive on Thursday. “A GSA contracting officer is responsible for executing all orders for services off this contract.” 

The contract covers the continental United States. Also, GSA will be issuing guidance to agencies to explain how they can use this option, said the spokesperson. 

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed how work is approached, and now government agencies will have a tool to help employees succeed while saving costs,” said WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani, in a statement on Thursday. “The workplace of the future requires flexibility and GSA should be applauded for innovating.”

Bill Bennett, founder and CEO of Expansive, said in a press release on Thursday: “We appreciate the opportunity to show the GSA why Expansive leads the flexible workspace industry in stability, center size, range of space offered, price and customer service.” 

While guidance from GSA is to come, Deskpass outlined some of the details for its services in a press release on Wednesday. “[Federal employees] will only pay for the desks, meeting rooms, and private offices they need and only on the days they need them,” which is a “highly efficient pricing model,” it read. 

Mark Gilbreath, CEO of LiquidSpace, told Government Executive on Thursday in a statement, “It's exciting to see the federal government join the growing ranks of enterprises who have stepped boldly into this hybrid workplace future.”

Also, in a recent press release, he noted, “the events of the past two years have brought into focus the urgency of addressing the diversity, productivity, efficiency and sustainability of the workplace.” 

A spokesperson for The Yard told Government Executive, “We're honored and excited to have been selected for the award and look forward to working with GSA.”

Although this responds to the current citation, the contract has been in the works since late 2019, according to the solicitation. 

“Working beyond the confines of traditional government offices has become more common,” said the solicitation issued on December 30, 2019. “Government employees are now commonly equipped with technological tools to work from anywhere. The freedom provided by technological advancements allows agencies to efficiently and flexibly pursue mission success through the utilization of employee mobility and telework.”