It’s been an interesting few months in the world of coworking. Well, in the world in general. Entrepreneurs have been through a lot. And the turbulent times are far from over. But it’s been interesting to see how “coworking at CoMotion”, something that seems to be inherently at odds with pandemic protocols, has continued to do what it does best.
The revenue-crunching storm of COVID-19.
Like most of my freelancer peers, COVID-19 hit like an expected storm. Like the subject of the simile, there was lots of time to proverbially board up the windows and batten down the hatches. But there’s only so much you can do. Being in the world of marketing, when the economy stops, projects are soon to follow. Fortunately for me, this happened later than I thought it would; providing some reprieve from the inevitable slowdown.
These were, and still are, unprecedented times. Figuring out how to navigate the dynamics involved a healthy dose of resilience and a whole pile of making-it-up-as-you go. But this is where fellow coworkers became even more of a support group. Regular Zoom calls were hosted by CoMotion with a nice n’ loose agenda of sharing updates, news, as well as any trials and tribulations people were facing.
The supportive network of coworking.
In one such discussion, it was even noted how we, the independent-working types, were naturally well prepared for this kind of isolation. The nature of entrepreneurship means there’s a significant amount of time going it alone. But, that can become a hindrance, too. At some point, questions arise. Even simple ones like how to manage sketchy wifi set-ups, or Zoom-call trouble-shooting, can quickly become daunting when only the dog and coffee maker are around. Having a few fellow coworkers on-screen gets those little nuisances solved and lightens the situation.
The pandemic also brought the complexities of government assistance to the forefront. This, too, was a perfect example where fellow coworkers could provide some best-practices to peers who were looking to figure out what options had become available, what the requirements were, and how to access them. For many, this was a business life-line that was made much more manageable with a coworking-support group offering guidance.
CoMotion’s flexibility has been invaluable.
CoMotion’s flexible memberships have also been a godsend for businesses. Unlike a conventional office where tenants may be on 1 or 2 year leases, CoMotion members are able to go month by month. This has obvious appeal for businesses with revenue streams that vary seasonally – enabling them to put their membership on hold during lean months. I can only assume some CoMotion-member businesses saw this as another lifeline recently, too. When revenues slow to a trickle, or stop altogether, there’s peace-of-mind knowing you can pause your membership as well.
Now that Hamilton is in the early stages of Phase 2, re-opening has begun. But, undoubtedly, it will be awhile before things go back to normal. If they go back to normal. From my own perspective, my own business proceedings have become significantly more efficient. Travelling to on-site meetings has been removed from the process; saving an incredible amount of time and fuel costs. And that’s on top of the already efficiency-friendly freelancing world. I’d be surprised if the conventional office-space residing businesses are willing to jump back into the status quo once restrictions are lifted.
What will the “New Normal” look like?
Another cool resource that’s emerged is the NEW NRML speaker series. This webinar series has been developed by two of my favourite HamOnt entrepreneurs, Jet Propelled’s Brad Dean, and CoMotion’s Ryan Moran. It’s a great chance to get the perspectives from other Hamilton entrepreneurs and community leaders about what we can expect in the months ahead. Again, it’s yet another great way small businesses and entrepreneurs can get some navigational support for the uncharted waters ahead.
To register for the Tuesday’s event, or to learn more about what to expect, click here.