In order to keep Ottawa business leaders informed in this unprecedented health and economic crisis, OBJ publisher Michael Curran is conducting a series of video panel discussions over the coming weeks with members of Ottawa's business community. On Friday, May 1, OBJ will host a special live episode of Coping with COVID-19 with Mayor Jim Watson in which viewers can submit questions. Learn more and reserve your spot here.
In this Coping With COVID-19 podcast episode, OBJ publisher Michael Curran speaks with OBJ editors David Sali and Peter Kovessy about some of the month’s biggest stories and how Ottawa’s business community is adapting to the ongoing economic challenges.
This is an edited transcript of the panel discussion. To hear the full interview, please watch the video above.
MC: When you think back to the past few days, what’s been striking a chord with our audience?
PK: One of the most interesting stories has been about co-working spaces. This has arguably been one of the hottest sectors both in Ottawa and across North America over the last year. We’ve seen so many spring up across Ottawa. And of course, the whole business model is based on having a bunch of people together in one space in somewhat close proximity. Like a lot of businesses, they’ve been forced to close their doors. But as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, is there still going to be that same enthusiasm for that model?
DS: There are a lot of anxious moments for a lot of smaller, independent co-working operators. There are still a couple of people popping in now and then, but they rely heavily on meetings and seminars. Those aren’t happening right now. There is some light amid all the gloom. There are people who say co-working spaces might find a niche once things open up as a way to help companies reopen in stages in a safe way. You may not want to invite everybody back into your main office. You might consider some of your employees work from a co-working space to split things up.
MC: Some companies might rethink whether or not they need physical office space. For sure, that idea of everybody being shoulder-to-shoulder in a tight space doesn’t work. But people might also rethink their office space and have a more flexible working environment. At the same time, if you’re dealing with a micropreneur who couldn’t afford permanent office space to begin with, they may say it was a little bit of a luxury to be in any type of office space and I’m just going to continue to work from home. It’s hard to predict what companies are impacted and how.
DS: You never know where (a company) is going to find a new niche. I spoke to a couple of companies that cater to e-commerce platforms. Point3D Commercial Imaging specializes in creating 3D virtual tours. Before COVID-19, 40 per cent of their business came from retail – hair salons, car dealerships and gyms. They’re busier now than ever because of gains in real estate and (home) construction, where customers can no longer tour open houses. They can’t keep up with the demand right now.
Coping with COVID-19: Live and interactive with Mayor Jim Watson
Ottawa Business Journal's Coping with COVID-19 podcast goes live and interactive with City of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.
OBJ publisher Michael Curran will interview Mayor Watson for approximately 20 minutes and then take questions from viewers.
Register soon to guarantee your spot. This webinar has limited availability. It will also be available afterwards as a video on-demand.