As the Coworking industry continues to grow and evolve, it seems like the word community has stayed a constant among the most important factors in running a successful space. For our new ebook, ‘Coworking: Master Guide to Building a Thriving Community’ we spoke with three industry experts: Lori Speiss, CEO of OffiCenters; Lori Hamilton and Annette Reizburg, workspace solutions specialists, to get their thoughts on the importance of community to a Coworking space, and how to build and maintain a successful community for your members.
Part 1- Foundation for Community
The significance of community goes beyond a recruiting ploy. “It has to be a core value, not just a marketing strategy,” says Annette Reizburg. The goal of a community in a Coworking space is to build an inspiring and collaborative environment, one where connections happen organically, independent of the efforts of you and your staff.
“You are more than a workspace provider, you are a partner,“ says Lori Hamilton. Its important to understand the business needs of your members, and how the community you’re building is important to them.
Per Deskmag, among Coworking spaces rated 9 out of 10 or above, 70% of members say ‘all or many members know my name’. And exactly 0% (!) of those highly rated spaces report poor community support.
Part 2- Planning for Community
In the same Deskmag survey, only 10% of responders said they joined their Coworking space from another one. Competing spaces, contrary to popular belief, are not going to have a negative effect on your efforts to build community.
Since many Coworking members are coming to a space as an alternative to working from home, its important that your space provides answers to the isolation, distraction, and inadequacies of working from home. Reizburg stressed the importance of providing the best kind of space possible in order to give people a reason to leave working from home. “Create an open space with no darkness, great lighting, and interesting features such as booths and monitors, places for people to plug in, and great Wifi,” she said.
Part 3- Using Technology for Community
Technology in Coworking helps to break obstacles, and allows for faster connection and collaboration. It gives members access to networking opportunities daily, while creating a platform to share work, record contributions of all members, and build and enhance relationships faster. It’s critical to encourage your members to feel wanted, welcome, and to have a sense of pride within the workspace, even when they’re only virtually present. “Make sure they are communicated with and part of the team.” said Reizburg.
Speiss likes to have a newsletter that introduces new members and highlights achievements of all members within the community. Technology allows you to reach a vast audience, connect with potential members, or network in places not possible in the past.
The importance of a great community in your Coworking space is only going to grow as the industry rapidly expands. To learn how to build a thriving community, download the ebook by clicking the link below.