Five Tips to Build your Workspace CommunityGuides
The first step in creating a thriving space is realising that community is not synonymous with membership.
When a member joins your workspace they are going to have looked at several factors; price, location, amenities, aesthetic, and potential community. The first four of these are not going to vary so much once they have been decided, whereas community is an ongoing project that requires attention and energy.
It is important to establish different entryways into your community for different personality types. Your challenge is creating an environment where people can build confidence and feel comfortable in who they are.
Remember you don’t want to change people, you want to support people in changing themselves.
Community and Coherent
Within Coherent there are several tools to help you build your community.
Most apparent is the Community tab where businesses can write a short overview about themselves. Within each business profile, individual members can build their own personal profiles, link to their social media accounts and provide a contact email address.
This feature is designed to encourage communication between your members and connect businesses.
Coherent is also able to integrate with 1000s of apps on Zapier – in particular Slack, Eventbrite and Mailchimp can be very useful in building your community.
Basically, any app that is going to offer an efficient way of gathering your members or starting conversations will be helpful. But (there is always a but), these apps alone do not create community they are only gateways for your ideas.
Finally, a less directly visible, but equally as important benefit of Coherent, is the platform’s time-saving power. Coherent allows you to step away from admin and step into your space. Use this time to execute the tips below
Five Tips, as Promised
Now, a few tips to get your members talking, laughing, and working, together.
Become an Active Member
This point is especially pertinent for those just setting up their workspace. When your first members have joined, be there, in the thick of it, experiencing your space as they are experiencing it. Make yourself available at events, bridge gaps between your members and be active on any communication channels you have established. This will help you quickly identify areas that could be improved and areas that are working really well! Once the physical and emotional infrastructure is in place, you can take a step back and let your members organise themselves.
Provide a Collective Community Area
You need a spot in your space where people can come together to idly chat, think deeply and present ideas. A great way to establish community early is asking members to sign up to give 5/10 minute presentations at lunch on something they’re interested in — it does not have to be relevant to work! This helps to bring out personalities, find similar interests and start conversations. For the record, I would speak about the positive impact of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone Park.
Whether a professional or a hobbyist, workspaces are full of talented people. If you are thinking of hanging up art, ask around to see if you can commission a member. If you are building your website, check to see if you have a web designer in your midst. In our workspace, we have a fruit box provider, SEO experts, graphic designers, advertising gurus, etc. Draw on your own resources and encourage your members to do the same.
You want to cultivate a culture of inclusion and exclusivity. Brainstorm what you can offer to your members to generate a sense of shared identity. This could be as simple as printing free laptop stickers with your logo and having a monthly pizza night, or as in-depth as hosting a monthly pub quiz and setting up a book club. You could even run a survey to ask your members what they would like – a vote will make people feel involved and invested in the future of their community.
Invest in your Members
A good attitude is infectious and a good community should motivate people to be their best, but it also needs to be there when people are feeling low. At a basic level, this might involve sticking up rotational reminders to take a break or stop by the coffee machine for a chat. These little pick-me-ups can impact people’s days. At a deeper level, you might want to look into building a wellness scheme via fitness, yoga, meditation, etc. Your aim should be to create a space where people don’t feel isolated and feel a real connection with those around them.
Do you have any success stories of your own? We’d love to hear them!
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