By Nada Zohdy, Ambika Samarthya-Howard
This month marks a year since COVID-19 stay at home orders began. Companies and organizations across virtually all sectors worldwide have had to adapt. Many now plan to embrace a mix of home and office work and virtual and in-person meetings/events for the long-term. But people like us, working for mission-driven organizations, have had to rethink not only how we work, but also how we build community to sustain our work for the long haul.
We run one the world’s first innovation hubs focused on the theme of open government, which is also one of the first mission-driven coworking spaces — the unique Open Gov Hub in Washington, D.C. We support a network of 50 organizations to share resources (including a world-class coworking space) and collaborate — all working to help open up governments and empower citizens in different ways around the world. We thrive on meaningful professional community-building and networking in our work lives.
For many in 2020, COVID-19 presented a major shift in how they worked, moving from commutes, office cubicles, water-cooler chat and impromptu coffee hangs to working from home, with toddlers playing tea parties and endless Zoom calls. Nonprofits have had to embrace significant changes, beyond just moving towards flexible working hours, and really consider how to alleviate the bias that has been particularly felt by parents and other caregivers. And now, with vaccines being distributed, many organizations are left wondering which COVID-19 changes they will keep and what they will let go.