Jamie Orr - Founder Co-working Tahoe and Jelly Switch

I’m Jamie Orr, I’m one of the co-founders of Co-Work Tahoe, and I’m also working on a digital technology project called Jellyswitch.

Co-Work Tahoe allows professionals to work from Lake Tahoe. There was a serious need for our economy to be more diverse and less susceptible to the swings of tourism, so we set out to create a really vibrant space that would revitalize this small business district. We initially found that people tend to be transient, but that if we could encourage human connections we can retain them much longer.

We’re using technology to support reopening and transitions, as the pandemic accelerated the timeline on remote work. One of the key things we did in designing the business model was provide flexibility, so we already had that in place. Relationship building will take longer, but human interaction is what we so desperately need right now.

Meet Jamie at our event on 21/7. Registration is free of charge. To get your ticket, just post a thoughtful comment here to help drive the thinking and learning forward and we will send you the access code. Did you sign up via eventbrite? We ask that you too contribute to the conversation here ahead of the event to ensure everyone is on the same page, better networking etc. More info.

same here @MariaEuler

@jamieorr If you agree with it could you post it under your user name in the Coworking Recovery Event Forum. If you want to change it, feel free to do so of course! Finally, it would be great if you could think about a question you would like people yo discuss during the event and add that at the end of the post.

This way everyone gets most out of the event and we can go towards meaningful conversations and development as well as enable people to get in contact!

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Since our interview there has been a surge of virus cases in South Lake Tahoe. I wonder if this has caused any alteration in your response to it…?

We are certainly watching the situation even more carefully now and are prepared to reduce operations again if necessary. The spike in cases has been alarming, especially given the rural nature of our community. Luckily, our protocols were strict even prior to the surge & we have had 100% adoption from our awesome membership.

As the business owner, I am still not visiting any areas with tourists, not eating out at restaurants (even outside), and am getting tested for COVID every 2-3 weeks just in case. We are still open to “resident members” only, which means no drop-ins, no meeting room reservations, no groups. I don’t see that changing anytime in 2020 unfortunately.

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One of the other interviewees for this series, Gary O’Meara in Ireland, says that 33% of the business using Irish co-working spaces have failed, which prompts his call for government assistance to keep the spaces open. How are your tenants faring?

I believe that our space may be somewhat unique in that the majority of our members are remote workers, either for large companies or as freelancers, consultants, and startups that primarily operate remotely. As such, we have not seen that significant of a failure rate. In fact, we haven’t seen a noticeable one at all.

The members that paused or canceled during the lockdown (44% of our desk members at the peak) are largely still working from home, but still employed. And the new members that have joined since reopening on June 1 have the new ability to work remotely, so have chosen to do so from Lake Tahoe rather than San Francisco, New York, etc.