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A Community Manager’s View from Home

Pre-COVID life at Groundwork…

When I left Groundwork on March 12th, I certainly didn’t think I’d be saying goodbye for this long. As the pandemic shut down quickly escalated over those next few days, Groundwork and the rest of our community began to take a drastically different approach to normal operations. And my role as Community Manager quickly transformed.

Pre-Pandemic Life

My pre-pandemic day to day tasks typically involved making coffee, having kitchen discussions with members about new and exciting things they’re working on, giving tours to new/prospective members, helping folks book meeting rooms, promoting upcoming events, taking group walks on Tuesdays, joining in on yoga for members on Wednesdays, hopping on a Zoom call with a national Community Managers group, and likely heading back to the kitchen to make more coffee. And every day was a little different! It was busy, and engaging, and fun.

But starting March 16th, that all started to look a lot different. We quickly pivoted to offer our members a virtual version of what they still needed – community and connection. This involved weekly Zoom check-ins with members, virtual meditation groups, and webinars (replacing what used to be monthly in person events). Now that the physical space has re-opened, at limited capacity, the weekly Zoom check-ins have stopped, but meditation and webinars are still going strong. In fact, we’ve had a great response to the topics we’ve offered so far and already have 2 more lined up.

Finding a New Routine

For me, living in a household with a husband who is an essential worker, and a 3-year old who is non-stop, my productivity hours switched from 9-5, to early morning/late night/my son’s naptime/my husband’s days off. I am a girl who loves routine, so this was a BIG shift. But what helped me adjust was that everyone else was going through a shift as well. This new arrangement wasn’t normal for any of us! So as I sent out my usual emails, and engaged on Slack to keep in touch, I received so much amazing feedback and just general awesomeness from our members. We still have each other!!! Even if we aren’t having a potluck in the kitchen, or seeing each other in person for our monthly Breakfast of Champions, or enjoying a Scuttlebutt Coffee pop-up at Groundwork, we’re all still in contact and able to offer support from a distance.

As for the physical space, and my desk, and welcoming each and every visitor? Well, I miss that terribly. The beauty of the coworking world is that isolation does not exist. A group of hardworking, talented, professional, creative, movers and shakers make their way into Groundwork to work among others, share ideas, help each other overcome challenges, and always find a way to enjoy some good food and drink in the mix too. But we’ve learned we can still do all of those things even if we aren’t together in a physical sense.

Still Here

So as Sarah maintains presence in the physical space with a small group of members each week, I will continue sending you my support and “you’ve got this” energy from home.

As I roll out my yoga mat, and make my coffee, and write my blog posts, I’ll remind myself that you’re all still doing these things too. And that feeling of still being a part of something is what I hope I am helping you all to recognize as well.

I still want to hear about your wins and challenges, and offer support for your creative and professional endeavors. Here for you always – even if from the comfort of my toddler-toy-filled home, in the early morning hours, wearing sweats and slippers. Still here for you.

Caitlin Joseph