WeWork wins U.S. govt contract as pandemic delays return-to-office plans By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A WeWork logo is seen outside its offices in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Kate Munsch/File Photo

(Reuters) -Office-sharing startup WeWork said on Thursday it had won a U.S. federal contract to provide flexible working options to government employees, as a spike in COVID-19 cases prompts employers to reconsider a complete return to offices.

A spokesperson for the SoftBank Group Corp-backed company said the contract, awarded by the U.S. General Services Administration to WeWork and four other contractors, is for up to $10 million annually and a period of five years.

The pandemic has marked a shift away from a traditional stand-alone workplace and towards a more hybrid model, where employees have the flexibility to work from offices, co-working spaces, public areas and home.

The fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus and the subsequent tightening of curbs in some places have compounded worries for office space providers, as businesses opt for shorter leases and many employees continue to work remotely.

Earlier this month, WeWork reported a dip in second-quarter revenue from the prior three months, as the Delta variant stoked a slower-than-expected recovery for the first half of the year.

Numerous U.S. federal agencies last month mandated masks at federal buildings in COVID-19 hot spots in line with instructions issued by the White House.

WeWork in March agreed to go public through a merger with BowX Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company, in a deal that valued it at $9 billion.

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