I Was Laid Off From the Wing. These Are the Red Flags I Saw.
- Feminist co-working space The Wing closed last month and all employees were fired.
- A former staff member told Insider about the feeling she found on the phone and her sense of shock and confusion.
- When IWG took a majority stake, The Wing’s sense of community disappeared, she said. “From then on, it was all, ‘How can we make money out of this?'”
- An IWG spokesman told Insider: “There is a clear process for dealing with difficult times for employees.”
This truth-telling article is based on a conversation with a former member of The Wing’s management team, who requested anonymity due to the terms of her severance package. Insider has verified her identity and work. Dialogue has been edited for length and clarity.
We were told The Wing would be closing at the end of August, at the same time as everyone else.
I go to work on August 30th and plan to be with the company at least until the end of the year, and then by the end of the year, I will no longer have a job.
Earlier in the day, people were planning events, sending schedules, and we had events in October and November.
Everyone was working until we got the call. The IWG management said, “Hi guys, big call from the Microsoft team, some people are sitting in there.” They told us everything in one fell swoop. We only had an hour or two to pack up and leave forever.
I’m frantically texting a colleague of mine trying to play them one by one. When it was over, I was dumbfounded.
I just stared at the screen and almost laughed out loud, Are they kidding? Sitting there, in a daze. Then someone from the IWG came along to make sure we left the keys.
When we left the building a few hours later, it felt like a whirlwind. did it just happen? There’s no time at all, like you make this Microsoft Teams call and you’re gone.
It feels like there is no end to it.
We have such a strong connection with our member community.
We are worried, what will they do? How will they compensate them? Because now they suddenly can’t get in.
(Editor’s note: The Wing’s parent company, IWG, says members will have access to “IWG’s network of more than 1,000 centers in the United States and 3,500 centers around the world.”)
Everyone felt that something had happened.
Really just feel like we’re so insignificant to them that they could close The Wing in a day.
Many high-level executives started to leave, our CEO Jen Cho steps down in July. For me, after Jen left, I knew something had to happen because she believed The Wing could do so much. It felt like her mission was completely lost.
It’s all: “How can we make money out of this?” 5 people were fired in one day in July – seemingly to minimize costs. They want to raise prices to compete with the market, which completely negates the whole goal of having membership tiers to attract a more diverse clientele — or, $100 a month for five visits can get you. We are all under pressure to make as much money as possible without so many resources.
We’ve only reopened for about a year, and no business was profitable for the first year. If the IWG gives it more chances or more confidence, then we can get there.
I definitely have this feeling among my colleagues, where is this going? We are all passively applying for other jobs, but we also want to stick with it. We want to be here because we believe in it.
It’s not just a performative feminist space.
The brand did a really good job of really working on that image especially during the interview process and when I was first there.
Every superior struggles to say, “We want this space to be all-inclusive, we want more people to have easier access to it, we want to have pricing tiers so more people from different backgrounds can come in.”
Over time, it started to feel like it didn’t matter. It brings this sense of panic. Not a mad panic, but,’Oh shit, what’s going on here? Why is this happening?‘.
We are losing a co-working space that is more focused on community than private rentals.
At WeWork and Spaces, it’s a lot like you go, head down, maybe you get something in a coffee shop. Soho House has a very unique feel, like an after-get off work club where you can have cocktails.
I’m still looking for a job.
We’ve all actually worked once for a company we believe in, and it’s hard to pick any job and go back to that mindset, I don’t care about that, and they don’t care about me either.
I don’t think you need to love your job. But I’ve worked in a lot of places and it’s a pain to go in every day, hate my life, and I don’t want to go back to that place. So I treat it like a blank slate, a fresh start, and just hope for the best.
Editor’s Note: An IWG spokesperson told Insider: “There is a clear process for dealing with difficult times that may be experienced for employees.” The company also said it provided lengthy messages to members affected by The Wing’s closure. , and “tailored personal communication”. “All benefits are provided to employees, including extended paid notice periods,” the spokesman said.