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Groundwork Reopens Offering Workspace to the Coronavirus Weary

We were recently interviewed by Linda Roy at the Standard Times, highlighting the news of our public reopening this month.

NEW BEDFORD — Groundwork is hitting the ground running as it reopens in accordance with regulations in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m excited to get back into the space,” said Sarah Athanas, Groundwork owner and co-founder.

The business, located at 1213 Purchase St, has been undergoing a “soft opening” during June as Athanas calls it.

“We have about 10 people here now and it’s gone very smoothly,” she said, pointing out safety measures implemented because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Athanas said workers must wear a mask when they come into the building and when they visit the common areas. However, they can remove their masks when seated at their individual work stations.

The long tables have been retrofitted with tabletop partitions to keep workers socially distanced. There’s also hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes readily available.

Groundwork shut its doors in March just a few days before Gov. Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory and ordered all non-essential businesses closed in an effort to slow the spread of the high contagious COVID-19.

But Groundwork didn’t come to a grinding halt.

“We’ve been working right along — virtually, having webinars and themed events,” Anthanas said. “It’s been a lot of work to keep the Groundwork community together.”

Established in 2014, Groundwork is 6,000 square feet of coworking space where workings rent a place to sit and operate their business in an atmosphere of a professional office space and the ability to collaborate with other members. Groundwork also provides members with free Wi-Fi, printer access and bottomless coffee, tea and snacks.

“We have about 70 members,” Athanas said.

The business is allowed to open under the state’s Phase II plan to reopen the economy with capacity restrictions for now.

“We can have 12 people daily in the space,” Athanas said, which works out since the summer months seem to be quieter, she added.

Anyone wanting to explore Groundwork as a possible workspace can schedule an appointment at Groundwork’s website at Athanans said in July she’ll start booking tours for new prospective members. Those who have become coronavirus weary from working at home can rent a seat, desk or even a private cubicle.

“We strive to create a welcoming feel,” Athanas last year when the business celebrated its 5-year anniversary. “You don’t feel that you’re in a stuffy office with cubicles and dropped ceilings — you just show up with your laptop. Everything’s here for you that you would want in an office and more.”

Athanas said it was odd to have to redesign the floor space to have members seating far apart.

“We’re all about bringing people together and here we are redesigning all the furniture to push people apart,” she said.

Some members have opted not to return to the building at this time due to uncertainty about the coronavirus.

“That’s OK,” Athanas said. “We encourage everyone to come back when they’re ready.”

To check out the original article, click here.

Caitlin Joseph