4 Ways to Grow Engagement in CoWorking Spaces
By Dakota Murphy | 8th January 2020
Coworking spaces are coming to a town near you. But rather than replacing the old ‘library’ type coworking style – essentially by providing quiet desk space – these new shared workspaces offer so much more. They’re light and bright spaces to work, fully serviced and equipped with the latest tech, there’s fresh coffee and, best of all, there are like-minded professionals in a collaborative environment.
“come for the space but stay for the people.”
For freelancers wishing to escape from the social isolation of working from home, modern coworking spaces are a today’s way for those who work for themselves to work among others. As the Global Workspace Association (GWA) puts it, people “come for the space but stay for the people.”
Owners, managers and users of shared workspaces are increasingly recognising the benefits of bringing together local communities of start-up business owners, small entrepreneurs, freelance creatives and other talented professionals. Not only is there a natural curiosity amongst members to find out what each person has to offer, there’s a readiness to share experiences, trade professional services and learn new skills that can be encouraged in many different ways.
So here’s an idea: Why not use the space to host events to deliver additional value to members, to deepen the sense of team and to drive community engagement? Here are just 4 suggestions for you to consider:
1. Business networking
If your coworking space is not making members mingle, there’s something missing. Networking is the lifeblood of shared workspaces, introducing members old and new, newbies and seasoned pros, within and across sectors. The whole should be greater than the sum of its parts.
Whether you organise an informal meet & greet with breakfast, or a bookable event with guest speaker, or an interactive skills learning workshop, it’s an excellent way for members to strengthen and deepen their connections in a broad business context.
And why not team up with other local business organisations and hold joint events once in a while, taking networking to the next level? Most coworking spaces are lucky enough to have an open plan area that can easily be transformed into a creative event space.
2. Social outings
We all know how important a proper work/life harmony is. Freelancers and small entrepreneurs are particularly prone to workaholic tendencies in an effort to make their business a commercial success, with not much time left to socialise outside of work. Given the well known mental health & wellbeing risks of stress and overwork, coworking spaces can play a huge role here.
With a programme of social activities designed to promote relaxation and distraction, encouraging friendship and community bonding, members will be encouraged to get to know each other socially and completely outside the context of work.How exactly you style these types of event is entirely dependent on what everyone wants to do. From simple Poker nights in the ‘office’ to cocktails in a glitzy bar, why not use your business connections to organise a local outing? Alternatively, get professional help to put on a bespoke summer BBQ, posh private dining event or memorable Christmas party at a special venue.
3. Time for self-care
As many self-starters will readily confirm, work always comes first, second and third. Add to that family obligations, domestic chores and so forth, and for many looking after their own wellbeing slips to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list far too easily.
That said, we now know that self-care and self-indulgence are not the same thing. Self-care is hugely important: it helps to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself. It produces positive feelings, boosts your confidence and self-esteem. Crucially for business entrepreneurs, it also boosts your productivity.
There’s a plethora of self-care tips and techniques to tap into – anything from taking regular exercise to a healthy diet, proper sleep and relaxation and much more. Why not offer your coworking space up as a venue for morning yoga sessions, lunchtime meditations, nutrition workshops, or as a meeting point for a running club?
4. Community engagement
Finally, many coworking spaces are created out of an overwhelming desire to support the local community and give something back. Why not extend this idea further into the community and get involved in local charities and good causes?
Whether your village association is raising funds for the annual Christmas lights, or a local hospice needs a venue for a charity fashion show, or there’s a sponsored walk coming up, there are plenty of ways that the coworking community can make a valuable contribution.Charity events can be fun to organise and rewarding for all concerned. Best of all, they can be anything you want them to be. From sponsored cake bakes to pop-up sales, collections for the homeless or skydiving for a good cause, you can also do loads of promotion on the event via social media to create extra buzz for the cause and have the opportunity for engagement and feedback from locals who don’t use the co-working space yet.