Flagging desire for ‘hustle porn” poses threat to potency of We Work come-on

On January the 26th 2019 the New York Times posted a telling article, suggesting a kick back against what the Old Grey Lady called ‘hustle culture,’ as promoted by We Work, has begun. Opinion no doubt informed by remarks made last November by Serena Williams’ partner Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, warning against ‘hustle porn’: “The glorification of working ridiculously long hours… It makes us feel important, ambitious, successful. We’ve thrown ourselves into the rat race… Staying late at work becomes a competition… If we’re still at our desks when the cleaner flicks the light off, we can’t help but feel a thrill.”

What has this to do with the price of office space? Well, those banking on developing groovy tech space to jam in youngsters working 15 hours a day in 50 sq ft of space, with only free coffee and table tennis breaks, might like to push the strategic rethink button. ‘Workers-moan’ site Glassdoor last month published its ‘best places to work’ ranking. Google fell from first to 13th in the UK, with Anglia Water (yes, Anglia Water!) on top. Apple fell from ninth to 43rd, behind IKEA and Dunelm (yes, Dunelm!) Glassdoor says job hunters want ‘meaningful’ roles. What’s meaningful about grinding out code that allows an avatar to blast a zombie a nanosecond faster?

Adapted from my Property Week column of 11th January 2019

Peter Bill is a journalist and author of Planet Property