Community is one of the main factors that sets coworking apart from working from home or renting your own office space. Belonging to a community gives the opportunity to not only bounce ideas off one another and collaborate, but also to grow friendships and do life with some like-minded people. For remote workers or even small businesses, working from home can be isolating, lonely, and not all that productive, so having a like-minded group of people to connect with and work alongside is a massive bonus. Community isn’t necessarily something that will grow overnight, but is more of an outcome of the relationships and culture within your space.
Having regular times in your work week to ‘take a breather’ gives members an opportunity to get to know each other. Something as simple as morning coffee breaks or after work drinks can really allow the positive community feel in your workspace to grow. Members can network in a more relaxed way, get to know people, and build genuine relationships within the community.
Communication is obviously a massive part of building community. Using apps like Slack or creating a Facebook group, gives people an opportunity and a platform to connect and communicate on their own. This encourages further building of relationships and creates a more linked community. This is also a great opportunity to introduce new members, make them feel welcome, and instantly connected.
It pays to keep an eye out for networking events in your area, these can be great to invite members to or even attend with them. Having social events available to your members or even having a social sports team outside of your normal work week, cements a genuine relationship and gives the members a team or community to belong to. At the Collective we always love to have a puzzle on the go which is a great way to work together and have fun during throughout the day.
If you have any planned changes or tweaks to the coworking space, ask members for their input and take it onboard. They use the space, so it’s good to know what little changes they might make or appreciate. Having input from your members really adds to the community look and feel of the space. Allowing use of the meeting room also creates a sense of ownership and belonging while giving them a great place to hold meetings of their own.
As mentioned earlier, it is vital to help introduce new members. Joining an established community can be daunting and members don’t want to feel isolated, bridge that gap to help them feel welcome and give them the opportunity to be involved in the group.
A few very simple routines in your coworking space can heavily benefit the culture and work environment. A well-built community can be positive for everyone in your space and ensure that members are gaining all of the benefits of coworking.
– Keegan Jeffries, Studio Manager @ The Bridge Street Collective