On Monday, WeWork said in an e-mail to Forbes tenants that the company is shutting down 1,600 in-office telephone booths in some locations of the US and Canada after a positive test result for the high level of formaldehyde. According to Business Insider, in August, a tenant warned WeWork regarding odor and eye irritation. This was attributed after spending some time in the office booth of the co-working giant. On August 29, Mr. Xen Eldridge, the tenant of company’s Third Avenue in Seattle, sent an email to the company Community Manager, reporting that his colleagues and he had been experiencing side effects in the office phone booth. After testing by external consultants, the company said that last week, the telephone booths contained elevated levels of formaldehyde.
According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), it may cause inflammation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. The agency also said that if exposed for a long time may lead to certain types of cancer. WeWork said the contamination was due to the manufacturer of telephone booths. The company did not name the manufacturer. Telephone booths are scattered at nearby locations of WeWork. It also offers tenants a private space to make calls. The company said that around 1,600 telephone booths in the US and Canada would be phased out, while another 700 telephone booths will be taken out for more testing.
A WeWork spokesperson said in a statement that the well-being and safety of the members is their top priority. He also added that they are working hard to correct the situation as soon as possible. The fiasco telephone booth is another embarrassing problem for the company. As of last month, the company removed its founder and CEO Adam Neumann and canceled its highly anticipated IPO. The new leadership of the company is trying to get rid of Neumann’s eccentric leadership style by selling corporate assets, including famous private jets, to reduce costs and raise funds.