Coronavirus Can’t Cancel CoWorking

LOKAL continues engaging members and the community with virtual events.

It’s not the same as working from the comfort of a bean bag, chatting in person with fellow coworkers, drinking tasty coffee, and coexisting in a location with a good vibe, but LOKAL is doing its best to keep its coworking community productive and engaged with virtual events while it’s closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Candy Treft, founder of LOKAL, officially closed LOKAL on March 19, two days before the Georgian government declared a state of emergency. All non-essential businesses will remain closed until April 21. Candy took steps immediately to adjust to the closure. She started a collaboration with mugma.app to organize and make virtual events available to LOKAL members and the community at large. 

“LOKAL wanted to make sure that we continue opportunities for learning and engaging with the community,” Candy said. 

Virtual CoWorking is the New Norm

LOKAL had already established several weekly and monthly events. One of those, Wednesday’s “Let’s Talk About” discussions, is now offered virtually. Also since closing, LOKAL has hosted day-long “Let’s get Sh*t Done Together…Virtually” Zoom meetings. Candy says that LOKAL is polling the community to see what other events they would be interested in doing virtually and will add events as they are scheduled.

“LOKAL is committed to bring even more virtual professional development and social activities to the community. We hope that over the course of the next couple of weeks, our community members will turn to LOKAL as both a resource for effective, productive work time, as well as a great social outlet,” Candy said. 

The event calendar may currently be less full than before, but as adjustments are made, it will fill up. All virtual events can be found on Facebook or the LOKAL calendar of events. Additionally, LOKAL needs your assistance in hosting events. If you’d like to lead a casual chat, host a webinar, or share your knowledge, contact us to get something scheduled. We’ll take care of the logistics of setting up the virtual meeting and promoting it; you take care of the content. 

Challenge Accepted

All of this, however, is not without its challenges. LOKAL had only been open for a mere 19 days before the government-mandated closure. Candy, unfortunately, is feeling the stress. 

Shows no customers at LOKAL CoWork
LOKAL’s physical location is closed, for now.

“As a solopreneur, I’m struggling with the stress of being closed, transitioning to a model that I’m less comfortable with, and being a startup. LOKAL didn’t yet have a large clientele or membership, so as I am transitioning to doing everything virtually, I’m also trying to build the business,” she said.

She does, however, see some positives in all of this. One is that lower membership numbers makes figuring out how to properly manage virtual events easier. On the larger scale, Candy thinks there will be an increase in location-independent workers as corporations realize the benefits of letting employees work from home. That would be good for coworking businesses. 

She said, “I believe that this forced ‘work from home’ transition will show many corporations that they can save on their expenses and employees are as productive, if not more, and more satisfied.” The more people who are allowed to work from home or become location-independent, the more demand there will be for coworking spaces, like LOKAL.

Adjustments to a new normal take time and agility. Candy is pivoting LOKAL to a model that includes traditional coworking space (when she can reopen) as well as plenty of virtual events to keep members engaged while closed. A new wave of coworkers is about to be unleashed on the world, and with the changes LOKAL has made, it will be ready for when that happens.

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