For the past fourteen months, the Neighborhood Partnerships office on First Avenue has stood empty. With our lease ending in August of 2021, our team was faced with a decision: Renew the lease on a mostly-unused office with no return to in-person work in sight; or seek out something new? Our staff formed a subcommittee to help guide this decision, and we quickly found that a few months was not enough time to find a new office space that met our needs. NP prioritizes equity in all our work, and one of our core equity agreements is to slow down. We constantly remind ourselves that, in order to make sure our work is equitable and meaningful, we must be more intentional about our process and resist the urge to rush. So, we made the decision to have our staff work fully remotely, without an office, for at least another year.
Transitioning to an office-less work model is a complicated process, and we don’t have all the answers. We all miss the human connection of working in a physical space together, and we have hired several new staff members in recent months that have yet to meet their colleagues in person. We are hopeful, however, that working without an office for a while will give us time to reimagine what office life can be, and find a physical space that meets the needs of all our staff.
There have already been a number of logistical challenges—where will our mail go? What do we do with years’ worth of paper documents? How will we move from a physical server to a system where all our files live on a cloud? Our staff continues to use an equity lens to confront these challenges, which require intention and work from each one of us. It is a long process, and we will undoubtedly make mistakes, but we are grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn as we navigate this move.