Community doesn't often just fall into place. Putting effort into fostering genuine relationships will go a long way for your coworking space. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling.
Have a top-notch induction process
Joining a tight knit community can be intimidating. It may seem like everyone already knows each other, and they’re too busy to build new relationships. To avoid losing potential coworkers, make sure prospective people know what an amazing induction process you have.
When a potential newcomer is visiting your office space, introduce them to a few members around the office. Show off the shared values and goals so they can envision themselves building connections and buying into the values. Set up a system that pairs newcomers with an established member to help them feel welcome and get a feel for their new workspace.
It might also be worthwhile to consider an informational welcome night once a month where new members can meet and get familiar with everything the office has to offer. Encourage current members to come and introduce themselves, and set it up to be a welcoming, social environment that matches the feel of your coworking space. It’s important to foster relationships the second a new member walks in the door. Nobody wants to feel like they have to earn their way into a community!
Make it about the members
A community is defined by its people, so make your members known. Networking might not come naturally to everyone, and in larger coworking spaces it’s easy for members to fall through the social cracks. If you have a system in place to prevent that from happening, it can make regular clients feel at home and new clients eager to keep sharing the workspace.
Member walls are a great start. Let members submit a photograph to hang on a wall so everyone can be seen in one spot. A simple quote selected by them to display with their picture also goes a long way in revealing their personality.
Depending on the size of your community, have a member spotlight each week or month. Let other members know who they are and what they do. Put them on a slideshow in the lobby, hang their information on a designated bulletin board or send them out in a community email newsletter.
You could also establish a member directory. Whether it’s electronically or physically, having one spot with members names, businesses, and contact information can be highly beneficial to networking and establishing new relationships.
Members. Involve members in decision making about decorating and planning events. Listening to your community will help you create an environment where your members will feel most comfortable.
Host plenty of events
Events will not only create a stronger bond among current members but will also draw new members with like interests to your community.
Happy hours, game nights, and dinner outings are all rituals that can bring individuals closer together. Members will make room in their routine for a fun time with like-minded people. Building relationships outside of the working environment lets members become more comfortable with their coworkers and that comfort will transfer during business hours.
During work hours you can invite top industry professionals and inspirational speakers to motivate your members and get them talking or get a team building expert to engage your members in brain break activities.
Hosting events open to the public will provide valuable professional development and networking for your current members and let other professionals get a feel for your community. Host a food drive if one of your shared values is giving back. If the arts are your community’s focus turn your space into a temporary gallery or have a local artist put on a concert. Let the public know what your community is all about and reinforce your values to your members.
Building a community takes a lot of time and effort. Relationships need to be established, events need to be planned, and values set. Once your community is built, it takes just as much work to keep it going. But seeing how a community thrives is well worth the time and effort! So go create a killer induction process, host events, and above all else, always make it about the members.
Interested in joining a growing community coworking community? Contact the Ranch to learn more about our offices.