One sign of how workers are thinking about the place of an office in a hybrid work is the rise of members-only social clubs offering high-end alternative workspaces. The trend is taking off in Manhattan but could set a precedent in cities all over the U.S. where other clubs exist.
Members-only clubs were once designed to provide an exclusive space for members to network and build social capital, but these new private clubs have a different feel. Among the laundry list of classic membership perks that comprise a luxurious “home away from home” like plush lounges, formal dining areas, and opulent spas Manhattan’s newest clubs are boasting private workspaces. At least nine members-only clubs have opened within the past three years.
In an effort to attract the new hybrid workforce, some of the clubs have become more inclusive. SoHo House and Co., a club brand that now has 36 locations across the globe, has long understood this practice to be profitable as membership fees make up less than a third of SoHo House’s overall revenue. SoHo House’s members still have the classic perks and swanky private spaces, but non-members may still access certain hotels and restaurant locations for a space to bring their work laptops. Some clubs, like NeueHouse, have gone as far as offering membership packages for startups.
The advent of hybrid work has created a marketing opportunity for members-only clubs, but just because these new clubs are offering co-working solutions doesn’t mean that they will usurp the office industry. Besides the exorbitant cost of club membership (a few thousand dollars in annual dues and up) the whole point of the members-only model is to limit membership to maintain a sense of exclusivity, keeping overall market penetration low.