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COVID-19 and Co-Working: The Collaboratory of Virginia’s Approach

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Commercial real estate professionals are heavily speculating on the office sector in light of COVID-19, and rightly so. Tenant closures (temporary or permanent) and rent delinquencies are testing landlords’ relationships with their lenders. Some companies find teleworking so productive that they’re considering it as a permanent option for their employees. So, how do these facts affect the co-working industry? More specifically, what role will The Collaboratory of Virginia (“CVA”) play for the Richmond region’s nonprofits going forward?

Co-working is designed to be flexible, with shorter-term tenant agreements, and the ability to add or remove space mid-term. Co-working also removes the burden of maintaining your own infrastructure (IT, copiers, mail service, A/V equipment). Staying lean and nimble are what make the co-working model successful. These benefits only become more important in uncertain times, as organizations seek external support for their businesses.

CVA is among the first organizations to adapt the co-working model to the nonprofit industry. In doing so, it becomes more than a co-working center - it becomes a center for the region’s nonprofit organizations to collaborate on solutions. Best practices programming, peer-to-peer development, shared resources, experts & mentors, and camaraderie among fellow nonprofit professionals are key benefits that don’t go away during a pandemic. Even those organizations that permanently shift to a complete or partial work-from-home strategy will need meeting space periodically. Not every business action can or should be done virtually. That’s why we offer our Virtual Membership option. Virtual membership includes programs & trainings, socials, and access to a community of other hardworking nonprofit professionals. And for those who still need or develop a need for office space, CVA will remain competitively priced.

So, how will CVA handle social distancing? By re-evaluating our plans thus far. We are working with our architects on layout changes, our furniture vendor for screens and more versatile seating options, along with staying up to date on janitorial and sanitizing solutions, and working with our Advisory Board for options such as staggered schedules, shifting to more meeting spaces in lieu of individual offices, and more.

For more on co-working’s resilience in light of COVID-19, check out this article.

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