We've been getting a lot of inquiries about whether Project Spaces is open under the current Ontario guidelines. Quite understandably, there has been a lot of confusion about this. We were unsure ourselves at first, so we thought it might be useful to organize our thoughts here (we recently spoke to CTV Toronto about this question as well).
Are Toronto coworking spaces allowed to be open? The short answer is yes.
It's been confirmed by the Ontario Government's "Stop The Spread" Information Line that shared workspaces are essential for folks who are unable to work from home (WFH) - more on that in moment.
If you're curious, the official guidelines (which you can find here, page 20) state: "Businesses, organizations and services permitted to open under the Provincewide Shutdown [include]... Hotels, motels, lodges, cabins, cottages, resorts and other shared rental accommodation*"
*The province has placed coworking spaces in the "other shared rental accommodation" category.
So that's the brass tax. Whether you're a founder or remote employee, it is absolutely essential that you continue to work and earn a living. If you can't do that from home, you need another solution. With libraries and coffee shops closed, coworking spaces are the answer.
Of course it goes without saying that it's super important for coworking spaces to keep their members safe and comfortable. Our protocols are ever-evolving to suit our members' needs (more info).
"Ok but what is so hard about working from home?" you might be wondering.
And that's the right question. Because for some people, WFH is perfectly fine. Enjoyable, even. Maybe you live by yourself in a spacious home, with a productive workspace, reliable wifi and no distractions.
If that's your situation, it's very easy to understand why you might scratch your head at people leaving their home to work. But for the majority of downtown Torontonians, their situation is nothing like that...
Some common reasons why WFH is not an option:
• "I live in a tiny basement apartment with crappy wifi and a roommate who won't leave me alone."
• "My neighbours are doing construction next door. I can't hear myself think, let alone make my sales calls."
• "My partner is working from home too, and we can't stop stepping on each other's toes. It's killing our relationship."
• "I've already missed one deadline because I'm distracted. If I don't pick it up, my client is going to drop me."
• "I'm selling my condo right now. It's staged, and needs to be empty so my real estate agent can show it."
• "I'm a senior web developer and my condo's wifi is so unreliable that I'm worried about losing my job."
...you get the idea.
There are countless variables that can affect someone's ability to do their job well from home. And well is the key word here, because if you're someone whose job depends on making sales calls, meetings deadlines, leading a team etc. there is no room for your performance to slip.
In summary, while we 100% agree that folks who can effectively work from home should absolutely do that, we also recognize that it's simpy not possible for everyone. We are here if you need us.
Should you find yourself suffering from one or more of the above WFH issues, take a peek at out our 2021 Special: 21 days for $49.
Let's see if coworking is right for you.
-Neil & Jeff
Founder-friendly coworking in downtown Toronto for entrepreneurs and digital nomads. EST 2011. We create original workspaces, fill them with relentless entrepreneurs, and watch the magic happen. Learn more