“We’re all challenged to work in different ways right now,” Kennealy said. “If you’ve got a business model that relies on people coming together, you need to help them do that.”
Co-working had erupted in popularity around Greater Boston, with deep-pocketed operators such as WeWork scooping up huge blocks of space and community-oriented nonprofits nurturing startups in specific industries. The details vary, but they all tried to offer flexibility, shared resources, and — crucially — the sort of community that many entrepreneurs and small companies can struggle to build on their own.
That all crashed in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut offices all over Massachusetts. Even in the months since the spaces reopened, workers have been slow to return when they can instead work at home, even on the couch.
That has co-working providers rethinking their place in the world,…