What is community in the workplace today?
This is the question that we considered in the period 2021. In the pandemic, Zoom events have replaced personal spaces, and remote work allows companies to provide more flexibility and space for personal care for employees.
Many of the methods introduced unnecessarily at this time seem to be here to stay, at least in some form. But that does not mean that they will change things before March 2020. Instead, it looks like they will be added next to the pieces of the operating system.
This is evident in Spark Baltimore, a Cartish-owned Inner Harbor co-worker at Power Plant Live! The campus has served as a technology and entrepreneurship center since its opening in 2016.
After consulting with its community, Spark reopened in June 2020, several months after the outbreak, with a mask and remote control. For more than a year, it has had 146 corporate members across 17 different businesses. It is constantly being embedded in the ecosystem. When we visited – we wore masks – we saw familiar faces like Bava Laffer, CEO of Ecomap Technologies, which has recently established the space as a platform.
While many have been vaccinated but are aware of the updated COVID-19, Spark Baltimore Community Manager Maggie DeRohun said many companies use shared office space to facilitate mixed work models. Usually across the city, this requires a small office trail, preferring a spark-like space. Some of the galaxies now adopt the “AB” model, where groups of team members arrive on designated days to meet individually and use the collaboration area as a meeting room. That was before the pandemic. With the ability to assemble a wide variety of companies through flexible leasing models, places like Spark have long envisioned the future of employment. So allowing new models comes naturally.
But the spark team also went ahead with the intention this time. He regularly sent out membership surveys and established quarterly city halls. It also makes checking-in with team members a priority. They take the time to ask what’s going on and how people are doing. This is always an attractive model because people want to be with others and have the opportunity to connect with the wider trading community.
“People are already looking for and appreciating that personal connection, especially individual entrepreneurs who are not co-workers in their business,” Derhun said. “Our team works with them. It’s not just about introducing people to the space, we really don’t have much income. People want to stay.”
In fact, the spark has grown in recent years, although there has been more shrinkage in the city of coworking and public business real estate. It is located on six floors, two floors and three floors of private offices of 8 Market Place building with associates. Another floor is exclusively dedicated to the digital services company Fearless, which is constantly growing and updating during the pandemic.
Went to other cities too. August 2020 brought a new location in Kansas City. As of June 2021, there is already another location in St. Louis. Each has its own local touch and feel, but this will allow it to better maintain the network effect between cities. Eventually, the community gets the support, as well as the case to end. The team is trying to accelerate both.