Coworking is all about community. But lately, it has been difficult for coworking venues to maintain a warm and welcoming atmosphere during these extraordinary times of isolation and social alienation.
Building a community is a difficult task. Vision, dedication, consistency on the side of community management, and, perhaps most significantly, member engagement and participation are all crucial.
We can argue that even the most exquisitely constructed workplace in the world will not be able to maintain a disengaged "community." Having a strategy in place to keep your community engaged and happy will help you develop your identity as a coworking space and set you apart from many others springing up throughout the neighbourhood and region.
In the future years, coworking is expected to develop even more. With this in mind, you must ensure that your coworking space meets all of the requirements. It's critical to establish the ideal environment for innovation, cooperation, and creativity to stay ahead of the competition.
People often come for space but stay back for people. The most important aspect of any team is its members. Having a strong community is the most crucial aspect of any coworking space. A large network of members, mentors, and industry experts can also help you stand out.
Building a community begins even before your coworking space opens its doors. You'd like people to come to the place on the first day and give their impressions. That's where you'll find the key to getting started with community development. Pay attention to what others are saying about your coworking space, your services, and the coworking concept in general.
Having a robust community by your side can profoundly help your newfound co-working venture. After all, a coworking space thrives on its community. The path-way to developing a vast and engaging community is a long but worthy journey.
Here are some of the innovative ways that coworking communities can use for fostering a sense of community and better engage with them.
You've heard your co-worker's stories and experiences in person; now it's time to connect with them online. Social media has proven to be a successful tool to market and promote your coworking space since it is cost-efficient, dependable, and simple to maintain, regardless of the size of your company.
This is more than just a group email. Create a virtual environment where community members may engage, share their experiences, and promote their activities. You can do this using a private Facebook Group for your members. However, other platforms, such as Slack or Feed (in-app newsfeed), which also allow you to create a real-time chat with the entire community, can also help.
While visiting a coworking space is not a virtual experience, you will almost always find reviews and anecdotes online. Keep up with what's going on in your coworking space by using social media. Pay attention when individuals share their stories on social media and respond quickly. You must always try to utilize your social media presence to initiate intriguing discussions.
You can also make good use of Social Media listening. Social Media Listening is a marketing tactic that is used to understand consumer patterns. The tactic helps businesses to actively listen to what their audience is talking about.
We must not overlook the importance of building a physical environment that fosters connections. Your open-plan environment is already a great place for people to meet and create, but there are a few additional things you can do to encourage individuals to develop connections on their own.
Initiating conversation is the very first step towards building life-long relationships. Start a conversation or be a medium for others in the community to initiate conversations. Share your story and encourage members to contribute their side of the story too. Make your office space warm and welcoming not just for community members, but for others as well.
Elevate coffee and water cooler conversations, to better use them for sharing meaningful insights and exchanging innovative ideas. Utilize recreational spaces for fun and engaging activities. After all, not all the conversations have to be serious and business-like.
Don't limit yourself to networking events and professional seminars. Give your members a cause to stay after hours to truly integrate your space into their lives. Yes, regular happy hours can help people get to know one another, but there are also other types of activities that can help people relax and get to know each other.
Utilize the technique of community events, which have proven to be one of the most effective ways to involve community members. Organize interactive and enjoyable events, and encourage members to actively engage. Get imaginative by asking your members what common interests they share. You can offer a workshop, sponsor a fitness class, or start a book club.
Here are a few event ideas that you can take inspiration from, for the next engaging event at your coworking space:
Having a guest speaker on a seemingly monotonous day is always a good idea. Even your coworking members can have some mid-week motivation to boost their morale.
Who does not love the idea of a brief break and a little social interaction? As one of the most loved community events, Happy Hours have also proven to be the best option for networking and social mingling.
We all can do our bit for the betterment of our earth. While bike to work is a great environment-friendly initiative, it also promotes the idea of healthy living.
Book Club is an event where you will witness even the most introverted members of your community opening up and talking about their favorite genre. For all the nerds of the community book club can be a great way to encourage shy members to open up, at their comfort.
This should not just be limited to launch parties only for your business. You can always set in motion a party for your dear friend, or even a community member. This way you give your members a reason to gather around and celebrate.
How about a yoga day more than just once a year? Meditation, yoga, and breathwork have proven to be very useful not only to reduce stress but to also induce happy hormones. After all, a happy family stays healthy together.
In each one of us; behind the corporate machines, lies a kind human that is very conscious towards society and community. Spark the joy of giving amongst your team with service and charity days.
As a wise man once expressed “I am about to give blood. The gift of everlasting life”. You too can organize a Blood Donation Drive at your “The Office” and give your community members a gift of everlasting life.
Download this innovative event ideas list (with four more ideas), for your future reference. And organize happening events at your coworking space.
This is really important. At the end of the day, it's all about running a profitable business. A coworking space should be regarded as an ecosystem. It's extremely typical for members to collaborate on their own initiative, but how about assisting in the development of that culture?
Grow as a community and promote the businesses of your members. Create a supportive and growth-oriented environment for everyone. Concentrate on meaningful one-on-one talks and be willing to accept criticism. Always stay in touch with your members, whether it's online or in person. Backend dashboards that display members' industries, as well as events such as Lunch and Learns, are fantastic examples of how to assist members to connect.
You can introduce new members to your group and make room on your community board for them. You can highlight your members on a regular basis by writing about them on your social media networks. Even better, you may offer them the chance to host events at your location. As you provide them with the opportunity to explain what they do, this encourages them to become more involved in your community.
Coworking space management tools can help you manage and operate the space efficiently, but they may also serve as a terrific communication tool for you and your community.
Many coworking space management apps have add-on features that make it easy for a coworking space operator to manage the place and also engage with the community members directly. In the space management app, you can have an Events function. This function makes it simple to announce events at your coworking space. Members may simply discover the newest events happening at the coworking space and join any event of their choice using the explore and join feature.
Furthermore, with the Community feature, community management and communication are simplified. Both members and administrators can use a distinct interface with the software. Members can look for peer business in the same coworking space, browse relevant company profiles, or search across all of the companies.
While administrators may combine members into companies, access company information in one location, including transactions and business information, and create plans to automatically distribute monthly credits and charge membership fees. There are plenty of software that offer best coworking space management solutions, andcards is one such industry-leading solution provider.
Getting shy and reserved members to engage with your community is one of the most challenging tasks. As these members are often the ones that interact less often so you might want to use innovative ways to strike conversations with these members.
As said previously events like book clubs, board game challenges, etc. can be instrumental to make shy members of the community feel comfortable. These events can also encourage them to be an active part of the community. However, it is critical here to mention that you always must respect their personal space.
You can simply ask timid and introverted people what they'd like to see at the venue. Inquire about what would entice them to leave their computer and interact with their fellow workers. That is the initial stage in the engagement process. People frequently fail to interact because they are hesitant to share their opinions. You must acknowledge them, let them know that their voice matters, and then do something that will engage that type of individual.
Allowing members to express themselves in the space is a good idea. Is it possible for them to bring in a charity, an activity, or an event? Yes, it is. You can provide them with a platform to bring in outside influences and other logistical requirements to organize an event. As a coworking space operator, you give them permission and support, but they're the ones who are actively initiating and running the entire event.
Members will be totally involved since they have taken ownership of the space as well as an activity, in which they can share their passion with the rest of the group. Member events provide people with possibilities for networking and business, as well as an opportunity to discuss their venture with other members.
Your responsibility as a coworking space operator is not simply to offer ideal working environments for people. Coworking spaces are more than just a place for individuals to do their 9-to-5s; make sure they get the most out of them by cultivating genuine connections among your members and establishing a community they'll be pleased to be a part of.
As we all adjust to numerous changes in our job and personal lives, it is critical for coworking operators to spread positive sentiments of community solidarity. By allowing members to band together and engage with one another, the coworking business will be able to weather the storm and emerge stronger than ever in the months ahead.
Need further tips on community enhancement? Get them here: How to Develop & Enhance the Community at the Coworking Space.
The article was written by Parth Shah, Co-Founder and COO at DevX Accelerator. With 10 years of experience in operations and training, Parth is a go-to person for his team and even a multitude of growing start-ups. His knack lies at spotting and supporting start-ups, helping them streamline their process and even take their ventures to the next level. After successfully establishing two start-ups and exploring the start-up landscape up-close Parth has learnt the nitty-gritty of the industry, which he now shares with fellow entrepreneurs.