As shutdowns and limitations to public space continue to affect businesses in every part of the world, coworking spaces have shown resilience in facing the fallout, pivoting their operations to include new offerings for the rising number of remote teams. Since April, operators have replanned their offices, turned to virtual services, and revamped their membership models to remain afloat, especially as more global tech leaders look to restructure their remote policies long term.
Right outside of Washington D.C., the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) turned inward, striving to find a way to connect with its community through its many public spaces such as Gateway Park. Rosslyn, which is an urban community in Virginia and home to many Fortune 500 headquarters, is approximately three miles from downtown D.C.
As the community convener, the Rosslyn BID decided to take action. Being attuned to the needs of local businesses and residents, the Rosslyn BID recently opened O2—an open-air pop-up that’s completely outdoors.
The result of blue-sky thinking
O2 (which stands for “Outdoor Office” and also the element, Oxygen) officially opened last week. Located in Gateway Park next to the Key Bridge that connects Rosslyn and Georgetown, O2 is designed for people to work safely among others, whether they want to schedule meetings, have conference calls in peace, or simply get out of the house.
The project, which is the brainchild of the Rosslyn BID is “truly the result of our own blue-sky thinking,” said Mary-Claire Burick, President of the Rosslyn BID.
Once Arlington County approved the idea, their Parks and Recreation Department helped with park improvements, and the Rosslyn BID worked with a design firm, Design Foundry, and The Brand Guild to build the space outdoors.
The physically-distant coworking space provides distinctly separate and easy-to-use spaces to foster a comfortable and connected work atmosphere, which is ideal both for residents needing a change from their home office and employees in the area missing a sense of community. It’s even equipped with office supplies, such as dry erase boards, a TV for presentations, sun shades to help with screen glare, and portable chargers in case workers forget theirs at home.
“O2 is situated in Rosslyn’s Gateway Park, which is located a 10-minute walk or bike ride from Georgetown and has stunning views of the Washington Monument,” said Burick. “We selected Gateway Park because of its access to Rosslyn’s numerous trails and transportation options, proximity to D.C. and Rosslyn’s own busy downtown that has many Fortune 500 headquarters, 25,000 employees and 15,000 residents.”
With a clear market in Rosslyn for coworking users, O2 offers 90-minute reservation blocks available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The best part? There’s no charge. Users simply reserve consecutive time blocks if more work time is desired, and with advance notice, Rosslyn companies can book larger group spaces of up to eight people for a team meeting.
Creating a clean, physically-distant workspace
The space’s unique design includes many options for working, including both standing and seated desks, and has a capacity of 40 people for each reservation block. The open-air space is fully equipped with free, high-speed W-Fi, on-site bathrooms, and easy access to nearby restaurants. In fact, O2 has partnered with local restaurants Nando’s, District Taco, and Continental to offer special deals for users of the space.
Moreover, the O2 staff cleans and sanitizes each workstation as soon as a user’s reservation is complete. Wipes and hand sanitizer is also available throughout the coworking zone for easy use.
“We’re proud to demonstrate a way in which coworkers can come together safely, especially in a place like Rosslyn where we have over 10 million sq. ft. of commercial office space,” said Burick. “Everyone is missing their communities and the comradery that comes with being in an office, so we hope to continue innovating and bringing employees together safely to maintain a productive office culture.”
“Rosslyn is lucky to be home to several fantastic coworking spaces and we look forward to continuing to support them,” she said. “We see O2 as an extension of these spaces, and it’s just one more amenity that companies in Rosslyn can use in our connected community.”
Since launching, the space has benefited from moderate autumn temperatures so far, though the O2 plans on closing during the winter months. However, the space is considering bringing O2 back in the spring of 2021 based on the needs of the community.
To learn more about Rosslyn BID and O2, visit their website.