The way people work has changed significantly over the past decade, with many more employees now working remotely than ever before. As a result, coworking spaces have become increasingly popular in recent years and have changed the way many of us work.
The pandemic has also given everyone time to reflect on the world and the way we live in it. There’s plenty of talk about how to hire more women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups. The lack of diversity in the coworking space isn’t a problem that’s unique to anyone particular industry. It’s important for all shared workspaces to be inclusive, as this helps build a culture of trust, openness, and empathy.
A growing number of flexible workspaces are doing their bests to create an environment in which people from all backgrounds feel comfortable, safe, and included. Here are a few of the things that you must keep in mind while making your coworking space more inclusive.
Intersectionality is a framework that accounts for how the various aspects of a person's identity and background, including different races, genders, religions, economic statuses, and physical or mental differences, can interact in different ways. These interactions can be either exclusionary or inclusive, and it's important to understand how to overcome these different modes.
One of the things coworking spaces do best is to collaborate. You can host a diversity day event and collaborate with minority-owned businesses in your neighborhood to come together. It doesn’t matter if they're members or not.
The coworking community has always been a welcoming, open space for people from all walks of life. And it is. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do more. You could also organize diversity training programs and be intentional about being inclusive and creating spaces where everyone feels welcome and included.
Promoting a coworking space can be a challenge because you want to show the space in its best light. While your advert may look great and encompass the vibe of your space, it will fail if you have not considered the diversity of your target market.
Marketing your coworking space should be diversity-focused. In order to properly represent the community on whom your business relies, it is imperative to make sure that your advertisements are welcoming to all different groups of people. If you neglect to include diverse people in your advertisements, you risk losing potential customers and alienating certain groups in your community.
Using diverse voices in your marketing will ensure that everyone feels welcomed at your coworking space.
When planning your space, keep in mind the needs of different people. Making a working environment more inclusive means being mindful of the varying needs of all workers.
Creating accessible spaces for everyone goes beyond providing gender-neutral restrooms. For example, while many coworking spaces have gender-neutral restrooms, they may not offer a lactation room for new moms who need a safe space to express milk or access to a quiet workspace for those who need peace and quiet amid an open office plan.
Inclusive coworking spaces are often defined by what they don’t have rather than what they do. For example, the first step in making a space inclusive is deciding what type of language embellishments and decorations to avoid, such as phrases with gendered pronouns (he, she, his, her) or artwork that portrays women in submissive roles. Also, the coworking spaces should allow work flexibility so that the staff can work in rotational shifts.
In addition, your coworking space should be accessible to everyone, regardless of any physical limitations, so you can create an inclusive workspace where anyone can work.
For example, find ways to remove any physical barriers and make the space wheelchair accessible. You could also include ergonomic chairs and keyboards or desks that are high enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
Diversity is key to developing a healthy culture, so you should strive for a diverse staff. To help combat possible inclusivity issues that come up, add a comments box or an easy-to-find and easy-to-use anonymous email address where members may send a message if they have concerns that they do not wish to convey in person.
You should address any other inclusivity issues head-on by addressing them as quickly as possible to make your coworking space safe and welcoming.
Coworking spaces are becoming more inclusive, and new startups are increasingly focusing on communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in the office environment.
To make sure everyone feels welcome, cater to a diverse staff that is representative of every culture of your customer base. It improves morale, boosts employee engagement, and brings in new perspectives that help everyone do their job better.
The article was written by Thadoi Thangjam, a content writer and digital marketing executive at Vantage Circle. She widely writes about HR-related topics and her articles have been published in various media outlets.