How to get community feeling in a coworking space
“Everyone knows that all coworkers are united by
the vocation of sharing and collaborating …”
At first glance it seems that create a community in a coworking space is an easy task. Maybe this idea it’s true, or maybe sometimes it’s more difficult than we think and it can have a “dark side”… As we are aware of this, from Space Up we want tell you what resources we use to give a little light.
So, if we start from the beginning, we wonder: What is a community? We search and we found: By definition,
“A community is a group of individuals who have certain elements in common, such a language, customs, values, tasks, vision of the world, roles…”
It’s simple but, not enough. For a community to succeed we must to consider more than a group of people that share:
- More than a resource network has to be an ecosystem
- Not as an organization but as an organism
- And it doesn’t have to be based on seeking consensus among its members, but must express its understanding
Is not about what is shared, the important is the community feeling. This sense of community has four psychological elements, four essential factors in the preservation of solid communities:
It’s the sense of a personal involvement throw the identification with the community. An effectively coworking gives to his members the feeling of belonging to something bigger than themselves or their companies. Being a member of a community give us an identity.
Is the experience of exchange of power between the members and the community. Everyone desires to be valued and to have influence within the community regardless of their position.
Integration and realization of needs
It refers to the possibility of sharing resources, and the satisfaction of individual needs among members of a community. Everyone desires to receive benefit from their involvement.
Shared emotional connection
It is a link based on shared experiences among members of a community. The community has a shared history and his members enjoy the emotional security that results from doing something meaningful with others.
When we get this sense of community, relationships are forged and it’s produced the classical synergy: where the whole is greater than the simple sum of its parts.
But now, how we get this feeling in practice? What we have to do to create a solid community in my coworking?
First of all, we have to know that each community is different, and there is no successful method applicable to all places and all groups. Because it depends on many determinants like: space, timetables, occupations, personalities, …. So there are many ways and we should look for our own way.
However there are some ‘ingredients’ that can be useful. We want to give you those tips we use in Space Up to create our perfect community recipe. We essentially cook with three ideas
Hear the voice of the community. You must hear double what you speak, is where the clues come from. Something as simple as a person keeping the space, any time, which can be when something happens, makes them feel clothed. It seems simple, but knowing that someone on arrival will welcome you with a good day, or that when leaving you will smile with a farewell, it generates a lot of security. Maybe, you can’t spend all your time, or your money in someone who cares the space, then we’ll give you a solution…
Knowing their goals: Taking care of the space is decisive as take care the motivation. To facilitate both counseling and opportunities inside and outside the center that grows the development and consolidation of our community. Market studies, surveys are a good way to measure interest and get an idea of what your potential coworkers want.
Keep the satisfaction of your coworkers. Remember that happy coworkers are the best assets of your workspace because they are committed to the growth of your community. Make them feel important: Giving visibility to our community and when you have visits from potential customers, you will see who works in your space. Use a wall, or a space where members can put their name, photo or logo and what they do. People call people.
Works on your community empathy, you don’t have to always agree with everyone, but you have to put yourself in the shoes of others, get out of your way of thinking and keep in mind the interests of the community and its members. Taking every opportunity, every moment to talk to them about that.
Keep the community informed at all time and be clear. We have two ways: Online and Offline resources.
A coworking web platform doesn’t replace human connection, but rather facilitates and improve interaction and the complexities of getting people together are simplified when we use that. There are three types of advantages: practical, professional and personal.
- Practical: A platforms structure the logistics of many companies sharing facilities. Communities can use tools which makes it easy to book a meeting room, workspace, equipment …
- Professional: A platform where each member can access with a profile and meet the whole community, provide endless opportunities for growth the mutual fulfillment of needs. Each profile includes a picture, contact information, social media links, about info, skills & expertise and team members & company. It’s like LinkedIn personalized to your coworking community.
- Personal: When people are working together cooperatively, the professional relationships can improve their personal lives.
Through the creation of a private online social network the community grows healthy because nurtures the organic formation of relationships and can help to transform this online community in a offline community.
Also you can drive a private group, like an internet forum or throught Social Media. The management of social media should be very dynamic and directed to the conversation There’s no need to be in all the networks, but you have to carry out a very active communication in this.
As important is the online as the offline media. Effective coworking begins with a community researching objectives, but will only be successful in the long-term if the benefits of participation are tangible.
Connect the online with the offline communication. Make the visitors know your online side: place your web, social networks and hashtag in visible places (especially in your space for events). And the most Important: do not forget our god, the wifi key.
As we told you before, is a big resurce a bulletin board where they can see the daily news in your space reinforce this communication. In this bulletin you can post future events, or new coworkers in your space…
One resource we use in Space Up is that we ask our future coworkers to fill us in a template as a presentation. There they tell us about their life, what they do, what they expect from our space, a little picture… Then we place this document on our bulletin board. In this way, on the day he gets up, his coleagues will already know something more about him, and it will be much easier to break the ice of the first conversation.
It is important to stay in constant “movement”: don’t forget that coworking spaces are living spaces and therefore must be in permanent evolution. Encourage community participation because:
- It helps to generate connections
- Generates attachment to the community and
- Creates opportunities.
Without it, every decision becomes a risk of losing members for conflicting interests. For this reason, the flexibility is a essential part for this movement. HOW?
Creating graphic media to express and propose community activities. In the same bulletin board to inform our upcoming activities, the coworkers can register in this activities, and we even leave an open space for coworkers to plan activities.
Get involved in the community. The manager of the coworking space must be the center of the community. Therefore he must give an example and be the first person to participate in the community, worry about knowing them, etc.
Develop your own events. An event is the best way to get people together and get them connected. Organizing informal events is better than events directs to doing business. These are more successful establishing personal relationships. For example: Happy hours for freelancers, Entrepreneurs’ breakfasts… Meals and drinks are great because people are going to do them anyway, especially if they are free. On “professional” side, you must organizing your own events where you: share something you know, inviting someone to teach something, activities highlighted directed to barter (an exchange) from coworker to coworker. If every person who attends the meeting you organize keeps one or two interesting conversations, it means that it was a success. Think of it more as a party than as a networking event. They can be a great way to bring people together, help to build branding, and open networking opportunities for you and your members.
Attend in group to other events. It’s something that is often overlooked, but going together to an event organized by others generates a sense of community (both outside and inside) because makes visible the sense of unity in the real world, and makes other people wonder,” HEY, you do a lot of things together, how does it work? And also this is a good way to attract new members.
Remember that, regardless of the type of community you are trying to build, this three factors that lay the foundation for a community to grow and succeed are: communication, attention and action. But these factors are only the basis, and the important thing is their implementation.
Finally, I give you two secret and the most important ingredient for this recipe:
Patience is the key when it comes to building communities. When someone comes into space, take the time to explain everything, but also is the time to listen to them. They tell us their ideas, and when you do that, once you have heard their dreams, you become a part of them. And only then can you build a space with a community, because you know them and understand them, and it is at that moment when you have the ability to give them what they need. They may not become members from the beginning, but they will certainly remember you, because they shared something with you, and they may start thinking about the options to work differently.
A good dose of passion can get you far when it comes to encouraging people to try a new way of doing something, and for each of the managers of these coworking spaces, the process of building the community has been the part Fundamental on the way to open space. Moreover, if you are passionate about your project, it will not seem like you are working, which could weaken your actions. Remember that the people who make up your community will become your coworkers and friends. Investing time in them is a benefit on a personal level, above all else. Sometimes all of the above can be a bit slow, but do not be discouraged because you believe in your idea and nothing can stop you. Persevere and endure, listen to the group, investigate and deepen.