Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite

Coworking, Construction, and Hair Care: How to Keep a Company Alive When Working Remotely Is Not an Option

The art of adapting your in-person businesses in the age of shelter-in-place

Courtney Rubin
Published in
8 min readApr 14, 2020
Photo courtesy of Blo’s Vanessa Yakobson

Coronavirus Diaries From the C-Suite is a new Marker series where leaders share how the pandemic is impacting their businesses.

YYou can’t blow-dry hair remotely or build houses over Zoom. The pandemic has been particularly painful for businesses that require customers and employees to physically be on-site. Three executives in the construction, hair care, and coworking industries shared with Marker the pivots that have enabled them to keep their companies going.

The coworking industry

In early 2020, New York City-based coworking company Industrious was flying high, with $230 million in venture capitalist funding raised to date, 500 employees, and more than 100 locations in 50 cities. Then the coronavirus hit. Would everyone stop paying for office space if they were all working from home? CEO Jamie Hodari talked with Marker about the scramble to keep customers — and what might happen when we can all go back to the office.

InIn early March, we started thinking, “Holy shit, what are we going to do?” At the time, we were still in our headquarters, and we had a room we started calling the Warren Room. I think the phrase “war room” is tired and kind of martial. We had a big picture of Elizabeth Warren, and it said: “We have a plan for this.”

We started working on our plan and an offering we call Continuous. First there were five employees working on it and then 80, and now there’s 230. It’s basically tools and services and products to make the experience of working from home more productive and to combat the social isolation.

Photo courtesy of Industrious’ Jamie Hodari

Our offices are all still open, technically, in that our customers have keycards. They’re cleaned daily, but they’re unstaffed. We have a lot of customers that get their mail there…