Community building takes work – and cultivating a community in a coworking space is no exception
Creating a coworking community requires more than just attracting people to become members – coworking space leaders must also curate the community and encourage collaboration. In a time where many are wary of large gatherings, a massive mixer isn’t going to cut it.
Here, we look at 8 ways to cultivate community in a coworking space
- Know – and share – your coworking space’s mission and values. A community requires members to engage with it, which means members who are only focused on privacy or need a core focus different from your coworking space might not contribute to the greater community. For example, we’re all about nourishing our innovator’s mind, body, and spirit at HEXA, which means we tend to attract community members looking for a balanced approach to entrepreneurship.
Part of knowing your values and mission is also accepting when a potential member may not be the right fit – or could be detrimental to the community.
- Identify what really matters to each member. One of the key advantages of a coworking space is the breadth of collaboration possible. By understanding individual member needs, coworking spaces can help facilitate natural connections that meet those needs among the members.
- Appoint members to champion the space. Within the community, it’s likely some members will emerge who are super fans – they rave about the space and the community, they seek out collaboration, and they’re usually the first to welcome new members. Lean on these members to integrate new members with their natural enthusiasm.
- Trust your members to be good community members. Expect members to leave shared spaces tidy and clean (and right now, arm them with the cleaning supplies to ensure sanitation) so the space is self-sustaining. Acme Works owner Christine Andrews recalls a time in the early days of her coworking space when she didn’t have staff in the space – so she left it up to the members.
“I asked them to respect the rules, treat each other kindly, and take care of the space. And guess what? They did,” she writes in Coworking Resources. “Nothing got broken, no rules were violated, and the daily business of coworking continued. By trusting my members to do the right thing they rewarded my trust and did just that.”
- Host networking events – and include a guest speaker. A networking event on its own can build a strong community among members, but treating members to new knowledge or perspective can help break the ice and build better connections, not to mention add value. (Don’t worry – we have some tips for how to help people fill safe in a coworking space now). With the right technology, the guest can even present remotely if gathering size or travel is of concern.
- Create a space for knowledge sharing. Although knowledge sharing will occur at the moment, giving members a more formal space to share expertise or perspective, such as a blog or newsletter, gives them a creative platform to showcase their expertise and can naturally spark collaboration.
- Develop a directory. Help speed up the connection process by making it easy to find the right resources. Members can become familiar with others in the community and understand credentials to help source the right person or team to ask for help with a project or to explore outsourcing.
- Connect to the larger community. Don’t overlook the power of looking externally to build up the internal coworking space community. Community outreach can help connect the space to its neighborhood and encourage members to collaborate in a different way – for a good cause. This helps the community your coworking space is located in, and members feel good about the space and the work they’ve done in a whole new way.
Interested in joining the HEXA community? We’d love for you to make yourself at home, and as a space founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, we know a thing or two about how to nourish the innovator’s mind, body, and spirit in our integrating coworking ecosystem. Learn more about our exciting community by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org