In view of recent developments, the coworking community proved to be the utmost goal, and the most essential benefit a flexible workspace has to offer.
It is through a shared sense of community that the creative potential of the individual and the organizational community will reach expression.
~Phychological sense of community at work
We have already discussed many community-building points here, including the ones that include your workspace app. In this article, I am going to continue the topic and supply you with more efficient tools that will help you establish strong connections with coworking community members.
A tight-knit community grounds on communication and interaction between members and managers. The last months of social distancing revealed multiple issues in communication schemes of flexible workspaces. It is easy to stay connected with members when they are under one roof. You can say "hello" to everybody, arrange events, workshops, etc. However, relationships based on physical contacts start to fall apart like a house of cards as soon as your members stop coming due to pandemic restrictions.
Today, most of the coworking centers are back to work but the second wave of COVID-19 is still threatening the world. This is a good reason for all workspace managers and operators to build strong connections inside the community to keep everyone together whatever happens.
This section will help you discover some new ways to get in touch with workspace residents or make sure that your community is securely linked.
A Stream is probably one of the most important communication means. This is your branded app for corporate needs only. It works much better than any chats or messengers because members know that everything published in a stream is related to a workspace. This is the most convenient way to know the latest community news, perks, services, events, welcome new members, and give feedback.
Intercom gets on top of our list because this is a popular app for customers' support used by many coworking spaces. You need to have a dedicated channel for members' queries as this is the only way to handle them promptly. When a customer asks for support through the live chat, the tool fetches all relevant information including all previous queries. This is really important as the manager can see the full history which frees the member from telling it over again.
In fact, Intercom has many more use cases when applied at a coworking space especially when it is coupled with main coworking software (i.e.: members onboarding, services discovery, running surveys, collecting feedback, etc.)
Originally, Slack is a platform for instant messaging, sharing files, images, videos, etc. However, many coworking spaces utilize Slack Channels to maintain engagement, encourage community building, and avoid loneliness.
Slack is an invite-only platform, which supports your "no trespassing policy" for strangers. The next nice feature of Slack is that you can distribute information by channels according to its topic (i.e.: #general, #meetings, #events, etc.) Along with public channels, members can create private channels and send direct messages to their peers. If you want to draw the attention of a particular person on Slack, you just need to @mention them.
Every coworking space must run beautiful social media accounts. The popularity of social networks is tremendous, all your members check their profiles many times during the day. As a service provider, you must follow your audience and hang out at the same places.
Between January - March 2020, digital consumers spent an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social networks and messaging apps according to Global Web Index.
For example, if most of your members are active Facebook and Instagram users, which is highly probable, focus on these two networks. Post images, stories, and videos, spark discussions but never forget that social media is not a replacement for corporate newsfeed.
Some workspaces make this mistake. They think it's enough to be connected on Messenger or WhatsApp with members. The problem is that your clients get dozens of messages through social platforms, which means your info may get lost among them. Besides, all those messengers are neither associated nor related to your brand, which means you miss out on strengthening its positions.
A coworking blog is a powerful instrument for building a community. If you are wise about your approaches, your members probably share similar interests and ideas. This means it won't be too hard for you to find hot topics for blog publications.
Creating content for your blog, you are not limited by the number of characters or post formats. Your only goal is to be valuable. If your articles answer urgent members' questions, you will keep their attention, establish yourself as an authority, and strengthen your community bonds as readers will come to your blog for new publications and then discuss them with other coworkers.
Your community-building efforts may even affect your subscription plans. For instance, some entrepreneurs don't need a workstation (especially in the post-outbreak environment) but still need a community. You can tailor a special community membership subscription for such members. They will get all networking, support, and events attending opportunities, and you will save the connection.
Virtual coworking is one more way to adjust to an uncertain situation and preserve the spirit of coworking. Just like community membership, virtual coworking requires certain additions to your membership plan and technology outfit.
In fact, virtual coworking space membership is very similar to its physical analog. It offers such obvious benefits as physical address, mail receipt and forwarding, access to meeting rooms, desk, and private offices, and live receptionist services. Members get a sense of community while working from wherever they are. They virtually sit at a specific desk marked in the virtual floorplan, interact with other residents throughout the day, go to virtual locations such as phone booths and meeting rooms. In a word, they live a usual coworker's life but without physical contact.
Virtual coworking may become a real find for you as it has no limitations of physical space. You can connect residents worldwide and sign up as many contracts as you wish. There's enough space for everybody in the virtual domain.
There is no event that can't be carried out online. You probably figured that out during the quarantine. I advise you to continue this practice and run some events online even when public gatherings are allowed. This will give residents a kind of choice whether to take part in the online event or come to the workspace. They will get used to stay connected and live active community life even when they are out of space. Besides, the opportunity to join online will make your events more accessible.
And the last but not the least way to keep your coworking community connected is to implement coworking software at your space. It will literally put the entire flexible office with all its services, benefits, and community newsfeed in their pockets to take away. Choose technology that offers mobile apps for members. This will ensure the utmost accessibility of all your products from a single platform no matter where are each community member at the moment.
Members come to your coworking space to plunge into a special atmosphere of positivity, creativity, and support. They want to belong to the group and feel community togetherness no matter the circumstances.
As a leader and chief manager of the coworking space, you must share encouraging messages within your community and give residents multiple options to connect with each other, both online and offline. By building links and connections you invest in members' happiness and cloudless future of your business as a happy community is more likely to stay loyal to the brand that started and developed it.
Find out more about communication tools for coworking spaces: Intercom for Coworking Business: How to Increase Conversions & Customers' Happiness.