How to Keep Members Connected RemotelyResource
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, almost every shared workspace will have seen a drop in attendance, with many deciding to close their doors in the interest of safety.
Shutting your doors can feel like you are pressing pause on your business, but there are plenty of things you can do to keep your community thriving.
With modern technology at our disposal, it has never been easier to form connections remotely. You may even discover new skills that you can continue to use after all of this blows over.
So, let’s dive into some great ways to keep your coworking members.
1) Create a Place for Conversations to Happen
Self-isolation does not mean we have to stop talking to each other, if anything we need to talk more.
At Coherent, we started a Watercooler channel on Slack where we can chat about anything. Having a place you can share jokes, observations, interesting articles and memes can reduce stress and loneliness.
It’s not just about fun though, many people will find relief knowing there are other people in the same professional situation and enjoy that sense of community despite circumstances.
Slack is perfect for remote coworking because of the ability to create different channels. If you notice particular topics are dominating your general chitchat, create a dedicated channel for that topic. Equally, you may want to give niche topics their own space, such as book recommendation channels.
We would suggest inviting all of your members to the general chat, then letting them organically organise themselves into different groups that splinter off to form their own channels.
2) Set-up a Buddy System
Even after setting up your chat service, typing words does not replace face-to-face live interaction.
We would recommend establishing a pairing service between your members so they can work together throughout the day. This service is great for those who find they struggle to be productive when working from home.
You may find that people don’t want to have a camera focused on them all day whilst they work, in which case, suggest they take coffee breaks with their buddy. A ten-minute chat over a hot drink can help to reset the brain before moving on to your next task.
Of course, members do not have to be limited to one buddy!
3) Learning Lunches
A popular community-building activity at many spaces, learning lunches can easily be taken online.
The concept remains the same – one person takes the lead on a discussion, often presenting on a chosen topic before accepting questions from viewers.
The only difference is that you will be hosting your presentation via Zoom or Google Hangouts. If anything, it might encourage people who were previously not comfortable presenting to crowds.
Take the initiative to present first. Choose an unconventional topic to encourage your members to not limit themselves to work-related presentations.
4) Take Events Digital
Many of the events we regularly attend can be replicated online with minimal effort.
These are an excellent way to get people together in the same virtual space and make them feel like they are part of something. To get started, download Zoom or Houseparty and set up a group call.
Alternatively, this is a prime opportunity to form a partnership with a local business that can provide events to your members. Many yoga studios will run online classes and be grateful for the work.
What type of events could you host?
- Book club
- Pub quiz
- Yoga classes
- Happy hour
- Arts and crafts workshop
- Cooking class
- Startup networking
- Board games or video games
Create a shared calendar for your workspace with all the events listed. Your members will appreciate structure in this turbulent time.
5) Weekly Newsletter / Podcast
Finally, don’t let your community forget itself. Without contact, people will drift away.
Stop this from happening by sending out a weekly update. This will help preserve your brand awareness throughout the period, but also remind your members that you are there for them.
You could opt for the traditional method of sending out a newsletter using Mailchimp or another email marketing service. OR you could be adventurous and start a podcast or YouTube channel. Audio and video channels have super high engagement rates and they can be way more human than a template email dropping into an inbox.
You may be wondering what on earth you would talk about?
Well, you could talk about your workspace and how you are handling affairs as that will be of interest to your professional community. But we would also suggest talking about how you have been passing your time during social isolation. You could also invite your members to join you for interviews or fun Q&As.
Check out our blog on Retaining and Finding New Members during the Coronavirus Outbreak.
As always, we are here if you would like to discuss coworking software options or general strategies for your space. Get in touch with at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Coherent Team