Flex office and events space operator Convene is the latest real estate firm to announce layoffs. According to the New York State Department of Labor, the company laid off 54 employees in New York City on Dec. 16. Thirty-four of the Convene employees who lost their jobs worked at the firm’s 101 Greenwich St. headquarters, while the rest worked at locations across Manhattan. Convene didn’t disclose what percentage of the company’s workforce was cut.
Convene has more than 500 employees across 23 locations in six cities, including Boston, Chicago, London, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. A spokesperson said the company is closing its 50,000-square-foot office at the Citadel Center in Chicago, which opened in 2019. It’s unclear how many employees work at Convene’s Chicago location, but their jobs could also be at risk.
Convene has survived tough times before, as it temporarily closed all its locations and laid off more than 400 employees in March 2020. The good news is that flex space firms are poised to grab a larger share of the office market, according to many in the industry. A recent CoreNet Global survey showed that most real estate professionals expect more than 20 percent of office leases will transition to flex within the next five years. That doesn’t mean flex firms won’t struggle, though. WeWork is a good case in point, as it has lost more than $10 billion in the last three years and was recently deemed by Fitch Ratings as having a “real possibility” of defaulting on its corporate bonds.