Editor’s note: Sarah Chick is HQ Raleigh’s events manager.

RALEIGH — Last Monday, HQ Raleigh re-opened its doors to our members with ample strategic safety and sanitation measures put into place.

Access to cleaning products, sanitizer, paper towels, touchless elements, and heightened cleaning measures from our staff and cleaning crew were just some of the things we took to prepare for this return. You may also notice our HQ Team smiling behind masks as well. All of these measures will carry on as the “new normal” for HQ in our spaces for safety.

As we opened our doors, chatting with the few members who have returned to trickle into the space, we’ve been asked questions like, “…so, when do you think things will go back to normal?” or “Is this the new normal now? How long do you think it will stay like this?” The list continues on.

Sarah Chick

That looming questions of what, when, and how continue to penetrate conversations and space as we return to embraced interactions after a period of such isolation. For the first time, it is hard to even pose an answer or educated guess, as it seems we are in times in which we truly don’t know. I think that while this question longs to be answered, it’s truly a time in which we can shift and work to practice patience, mindfulness, and stay in the moment for our own personal peace of mind. After all, our mental wellness is just as important as our physical wellness.

Let’s look at a few of the ways companies at HQ are creating their own new normal and adjusting, adapting, and strategizing to create their own best practices for a post-stay at home order.

Aside from HQ, we spoke to three other tenants in our space who have adjusted and created their own “new normal” identified here:

Levitate: Jes Lipson, co-founder of HQ and creator of Levitate was one of the first to let us in on what he was doing with his logistics strategy with his office space. Jes has only 25 percent of his staff reporting at a time on a rotational basis and is allowing others to work from home during this time.

9Miles: Currently, the team at 9Miles, located inside Capital Club, is working to keep their staff safe by working reduced hours, heightening their own sanitation measures, and alternating days in which they report to the office so that there can be adequate social distancing in place.

RIoT: We spoke with our friend Caroline, the Events & Operations Manager at RIoT to talk about what they were doing differently. Caroline mentioned that currently, the RIoT Staff are working 100 percent from home. Caroline, as well as their Executive Director Tom Snyder, have been coming into their space at HQ periodically to check on their lab and equipment. Caroline ensured that they want their employees to feel safe and secure and trust that they will return when they feel comfortable. RIoT will continue to follow orders of the Governor and continue to provide sanitizer, clorox wipes, kleenex, etc.

The companies aforementioned, as well as HQ Raleigh, are just a few among many that are setting a new standard in these unprecedented times for cleanliness, safety, and the overall well-being of their spaces, employees, and the community members alike.

These measures are very much the bulk of the terminology referenced as the “new normal” that continues to be in question for many at this time.

For now, we know that these things are necessary and thus, we will incorporate them into our daily routine to promote a sense of normalcy, and encourage others to do the same as they see fit.

In an awe-inspiring Instagram post by B Corporation, there was talk of empathy and how essentially if nothing else, this pandemic has given us an opportunity to look outside of ourselves and also feel for others, see others more clearly, and struggle in a way that is less divided.

B Corporation’s own Dr. Green said: “It takes effort and purpose to go looking in on someone else’s world, and so many of us before the pandemic only paid attention to what was affecting our own. We were lacking empathy and the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference- that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.”

Thus, not only have these times been unprecedented, but so has the amount of compassion and empathy in which we are experiencing at this time. During this time of strangeness, we continue to see acts of courage and kindness all around us, as these acts have yet to cease in a city this mighty.

I hope your silver lining during all of this looks a little something like a slow down; unearthing an old hobby, living a little bit more intentional, showing more empathy, connecting deeper or more often with loved ones than prior, more creative, and finding time to refill your own cup. While this time has been nothing short of tumultuous, I hope this message finds you hopeful and healthy.

The team at HQ is here for you! If you haven’t found your way back just yet, know that we can’t wait to have you back when you’re ready to return.

Be well and stay safe, folks!

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