AUSTIN, TX—In this period of social distancing and sheltering, co-workers are finding ways to maintain a connection. Dallas-based co-working brand, Common Desk, has created a virtual membership offering that supports those missing a sense of community while sheltered in response to nationwide safety measures for reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Common Desk’s new “Work from Home” membership is designed to meet professionals where they are, both digitally and financially. This donation-based virtual co-working membership enables anyone to find resources and a sense of community via the Common Desk member network with a choice of scalable monthly membership rate.
“Our resources include a member directory of the various services our member community offers across our markets, which helps members know who they can go to within our network for certain resources/services. We have a CPA who’s been guiding members through the new tax changes, for example, and a therapist who has been sharing services to help members who are going through furlough or unemployment,” Megan Kaye Marti, head of marketing with Common Desk, tells GlobeSt.com. “We’ve been bringing in outside resources to host webinars and virtual community events, spanning everything from professional leadership coaching in times of crisis all the way to navigating how to apply for the SBA’s various new loans for small businesses. We have nearly 500 members on a shared Slack channel for the first time, and I think what’s most unique about our Work from Home Membership is that now, through all our efforts, our members in various networks, cities, circles and industries are able to connect even faster to one another and to our staff, allowing all of us to send support, laughs and encouragement as quickly as we all collectively need it. Switching our operations to be completely virtual has already been such a powerful change, and we foresee this program being something we keep and use to pave the future of co-working when this is all said and done.”
Common Desk’s physical co-working spaces across Texas have been shuttered as a part of closing non-essential businesses since March 20, but the brand as a whole has been practicing social distancing for nearly a month. Because its members as well as most professionals in the nation are sheltered at home, Common Desk created a solution to help the brand continue upholding its mission statement–to enhance every workday for all. Common Desk did this by innovating an affordable, flexible and virtual membership option that opens up the sense of community the co-working brand is known for building, to even more people who need it.
“Common Desk has always been a place that allows people to connect with one another, engage in rich conversations and find community. This is why I created Common Desk in 2012 and I have no intentions of backing away from our mission now. While we are currently distanced from others, we have never needed community more,” said Nick Clark, CEO and founder of Common Desk. “We are more committed now than ever before to opening the virtual doors of our community and helping as many people experience the magic of Common Desk as possible.”
The Work From Home membership includes access to up to 10 digital community events per week, invites to its new social (distancing) clubs, one day pass per month that will rollover to be utilized when Common Desk spaces are back to business as usual, curated resources made for Common Desk members and a physical mailbox at the Common Desk location closest to the prospective member. For the next three months, Common Desk is suggesting a price of $75 per month for the Work From Home membership, but people have the ability to pay whatever they can–whether that’s more or less than the suggested amount.
“With such a drastic overnight hit to our collective normal, it seems like what we need throughout the day changes by the hour. We feel a strong sense of responsibility to meet our community exactly where they are on that roller coaster. Sometimes this means getting as many faces as we can on a Zoom happy hour or virtual trivia game. Other times it means connecting with experts to get timely resources in our members’ hands to ensure their businesses make it to the other side. At this point, no idea is off the table if it could work to make this situation brighter or more manageable for even just one person. We’re deeply grateful for the community that we serve and the way that they embrace us in return,” said Katy Klefeker, director of hospitality at Common Desk.
Though events have moved to virtual, Common Desk’s team is committed to creating value for their Work from Home members. Common Desk members have been the first to quickly embrace this new Work From Home membership and the brand’s new digital community efforts.
“This alone was worth an entire year of membership at Common Desk to me,” says Common Desk member Todd Sinelli after attending Common Desk’s virtual Q&A on applying for SBA loans.
A member-led event staple at Common Desk, called Wine Down Wednesday, had nearly 50 attendees on its first Wednesday of being virtual–with many Common Desk members from various spaces and markets meeting for the first time because of the event’s new digital nature.
Throughout the workweek, Common Desk’s Work from Home community has the ability to attend virtual events such as digital Lunch and Learns with industry leaders, virtual happy hours, Mindfulness Moments for de-stressing, Instagram live local concerts, and even at-home coffee, fitness and kids entertainment tutorials. Common Desk’s social (distancing) clubs include Netflix club, book club, fitness club and a gaming club. Work From Home members have the ability to join any one of these clubs to connect with other members and Common Desk staff over shared interests, as well as virtually participate in at-home initiatives with others. Work From Home members can check in with other members over the community Slack channel or stay in the know on good news and relevant updates through Common Desk’s curated Work From Home member newsletter, “The Daily Quarantea.”
“COVID-19 will forever change workplace solutions, corporate real estate strategy and ultimately the way people work. We’ve always provided freelancers, entrepreneurs and enterprise employees a place to connect, grow their business and become more successful,” says Clark. “Bringing those efforts to people’s homes is something we plan on doing from here out, even after we’re back to operating in our physical spaces. We’re seeing an incredible response from these efforts, and I believe additional digital offerings will be a pivot we continue to see from the entire co-working industry.”