It’s no secret that COVID-19 has turned every aspect of our collective sense of day-to-day normalcy upside down. We’re having to think about what’s safe and what’s not every waking moment, so we’re sheltering in place, and we’re keeping our distance. In addition to the virus itself and the physical ailments it’s brought, there are so many hardships that we’re all feeling in real time during this coronavirus era–with isolation being high on the list.
Social interaction is a major part of our society. We’re so used to seeing people throughout our day–whether at the office, running errands, or making time to see friends and family. One of the most jarring aspects for so many has been this new reality of not getting to be in the same vicinity as other people; apart from the grocery store or walks in the neighborhood, we can’t really visit those we love in a normal way, we can’t grab drinks with friends, we can’t travel, and we can’t physically embrace anyone outside of our household–not for a handshake and definitely not for a hug. We’ve always known we need community, but now–when it feels like we need it most–we can’t have it in its physical form.
So… Do we accept social distancing as isolation? Ride this thing out and hope the loneliness doesn’t drive us mad? Distract ourselves until someone tells us it’s safe to leave the house again? In all honesty, the answer is kind of yes, but also–not completely. What we all feel still stands true: we need community now more than ever before, and, though it might not be easy, we have to get creative to find it if we want to keep our spirit of human connection alive while we practice distance to see this season to an end.
As Common Desk has continued to navigate this incredibly difficult time, our company is faced with answering the following questions:
- “What do we have that could help people right now?”
- “What is in short supply that we can give in abundance?”
In response to these questions, we’ve looked back at our company mission statement for guidance: “To enhance every workday by creating thoughtful moments, human connections, and a sense of belonging–for all.”
The “for all” suddenly feels even more pressing than it did before. Because–as we know all too well–now more than ever, people are at home, in isolation, and needing others to lean on. Common Desk has always been a place that allows people to connect with one another, to organically engage in rich conversations, and to find community. This is why our Founder created Common Desk in 2012, and we have no intentions of backing away from our mission now.
We firmly believe that social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. We’re all at home carrying different burdens–physically, emotionally, and financially–but that shouldn’t keep us from pressing into the strength found in numbers.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, being that we’re a month-to-month, membership-based, shared office provider, but Common Desk–like so many of you have been, too–has been punched in the face by COVID-19. We as a business are holding onto all that we can to keep the ship afloat so that we can sail again on the other side of this season, and that comes with its sacrifices. If we didn’t have the strength of our member community upholding us in this time, we actually have no idea how we could have navigated the intensity of the first few weeks of the coronavirus transition.
Our member community made us who we are, and our member community will get us through this. Moreover, we will get through this–together. Our brand is more committed than ever before to opening the virtual doors of our community and helping as many people experience the magic of Common Desk as possible–because our magic is community, and our community is needed.
So. Are you missing community? Do you feel distant from human connection? Could you use resources to help you as a human and as a professional navigate this whirlwind of a time we’re living in? Are you looking for a semblance of good news amid the anxiety-ridden headlines that keep flashing across your screen?
If you answered yes to any of the above: you are welcome here.
We know times are hard. Maybe you just lost your job. Maybe your business is on the fritz. Maybe you’ve been working from home for years but just miss people. Maybe you’re isolated in your apartment alone. Maybe you’re a working parent quarantined in a house full of kids. Maybe you’re retired and scared to leave home. Maybe you’re just a human, doing what you can to make it right now. Wherever you fall in the spectrum of being in this moment in time, we have a community-focused membership with your name on it. We know why community is needed, so now, we’ll answer the next logical question. How exactly can we tap into community at home, in quarantine, away from people? We created something new as our answer to the above question.
Work from Home with Common Desk
Say hello to what we’re calling our “Work from Home” membership. Our new “Work from Home” membership (WFH) is designed to meet professionals where they are, both digitally and financially. This donation-based virtual coworking membership enables anyone, no matter their location or financial situation, to join the Common Desk member network, find resources and a sense of community, and choose their own monthly rate for membership.
To put it simply, whether you can pay $1 or $100 or $1000, you have the ability to choose what you pay to become a WFH member of Common Desk and tap into our virtual coworking community. We’re suggesting a price point of $75/month for this membership, and every dollar we receive goes toward helping keep our family of staffers sustained while we’re away from our spaces. If you’re not able to give the suggested amount or more, we don’t care; want you to have community while you work to sustain yourself.
What exactly does virtual coworking entail?
Glad you asked. A WFH membership at Common Desk gives you instant access to the best part of coworking–yep, you guessed it–community. You need it now, so we created a way for you to have it now. By signing up, you become instantly connected first and foremost to our new Work from Home community team, comprised of some of our friendliest staffers who exude top-notch hospitality. This team exists to surround you with support, encouragement, and resources. Our network is full of great people who do a lot of great things, so you consider this team to be your personal guide to finding exactly what you’re needing at the moment. Are you joining as a small business owner who has no idea how to apply for one of the SBA’s new loans? We’ve got a member who can help, and Jade will connect you to them. Are you a working parent who could use some guidance on how other parents are homeschooling their kids right now? Olivia will start a Slack thread with other parenting members.
In addition to having direct access to great staff and great fellow members, our Virtual Coworking Membership also offers invites to up to 10 virtual community events per week. These bad boys range in their personality and offering; we boast everything from Netflix Club happy hours discussing our takeaways from binging Tiger King to Lunch & Learns with business leaders answering all the questions we have on the PPP and what it means for small businesses. Some of these events are led by Common Desk staffers, and others are led by members like you (you might even see a few surprise guests on a call here or there).
In addition to community events, we’ve also created what we’re calling “Social Distancing Clubs,” which include Netflix Club, Book Club, Fitness Club, and Gaming Club. All of these can be joined through our Common Desk community Slack account, and then weekly challenges, happy hours, and group participation efforts take place in each respective club. Speaking of Slack, a lot of great things happen there, like having community discussions over how to make the best at-home coffee, sharing WFH tricks of the trade, or just sending funny memes or poems of encouragement to start the day.
If any of the above sparks any level of interest, we’d love for you to head to our WFH page and explore membership. And if you’re sold, you can choose your new monthly membership rate and sign up on the spot–no signup fees, no hidden costs, no commitments–just simplicity.
The Common Desk community has always been special, but we can honestly say that we’ve been blown away by how wholeheartedly our members have embraced our brand, our community, and this new digital shift in our day-to-day operations. They’re the reason we’re still standing. They’re the reason we wake up every day. They’re the reason we even exist to start with. And they’re the reason we’ll get through this. We would love nothing more than for you to be a part of this community, and we hope to toast to you during our next community happy hour. It might be virtual for now, but the impact of this community is perfectly real.