I heart coworking people. All of them. I’m a fan girl of coworking.
For the past 5 years, I’ve owned a coworking space. However, when I first opened, I must admit that I knew very little about what made “coworking” work.
I originally opened the coworking space because I needed to cover the cost of a space I had recently acquired for another venture. I formed the business, did some minimal marketing on Craigslist—and within two months, I was 100% occupied! I remember thinking to myself, “Whoa, this is a thing?!?”.
With a background in marketing, I immediately dove in head-first researching the coworking market. I found resources from all around the globe, all designed for the coworking community.
Over the years, I’ve met and known so many delightful people in the business of coworking. One of the first people I discovered was Alex Hillman from Indy Hall, and I’ve been fortunate to be part of his Coworking Braintrust ever since.
Global Coworking Communities
In these communities, I’ve learned from my peers and shared my own experiences. The coworking community has always been a “close” crowd, with regular Zoom calls and supportive conversations on Slack. There are folks all over the globe who I’ve never met in person but I consider friends.
In March, COVID-19 started to affect all of our businesses. At first, just like most of the population, we didn’t know which course of action to take. However, I saw over and over that the overwhelming reaction from my coworking peers was: “how do we take care of our members?”
The response was incredible. There were calls and education sessions almost immediately from:
- Alex Hillman
- Cat Johnson
- GCUC – the Global Coworking Unconference Conference
- GWA – Global Workspace Association
- Women Who Cowork Community
- Atlanta Coworking Alliance
Collaboration and Support
The topics ranged from the practical (risk planning, negotiating with landlords, exploring financial relief resources, preparing for post-COVID-19) to the community-minded (how to shift to virtual coworking, building virtual community). We also talked about how to care for ourselves, so we can care for our members.
To be honest, the number of Zoom calls became pretty overwhelming pretty quickly and has fortunately settled down to something more manageable. The unconditional support and collaboration was something I am so grateful for from this global community.
With the support of this community, I felt better prepared to take tackle the question: how do I best take care of my members? I closed a week before the Mayor of Atlanta issued her SIP order. My space is home to a few essential businesses, and they are still operating in the space. I’m also here every day, in an empty space, so I can receive mail and packages for members.
I’m certainly missing the Alkaloids I know and love, but I’m not lonely. I know that I’ve got my global coworking community right here with me, along with the Alkaloid community that has been incredibly generous. I heart coworking people—and now more than ever.