The culture of your coworking space isn't innate. It's set and cultivated by your leadership and your supporting team. One of your most crucial responsibilities is in helping create a culture that's empowering, positive and community-minded.
Why Do You Need a Leader?
Unlike a regular office space, the people in a coworking space aren't united by a common goal. They don't share a company or a strategy. And since many coworking tenants are likely to work by themselves or pop in intermittently, it's very easy for a coworking space to simply feel like a room housing a lot of separate people with nothing in common.
This is especially the case when a facility has no leadership hierarchy. Coworking staff are often focused on admin tasks, or on serving individual tenants needs. This is great, but to build a community you need a leader whose job it is to foster a sense of belonging and participation.
What Does a Leader Do?
A coworking "leader" is more than a manager. They combine these duties with those of a host. They set the direction for a center and create norms and expectations around behavior, participation and shared goals.
As a leader, you might:
- Introduce new members to existing members and share points of commonality
- Provide regular opportunities for feedback and discussion among tenants
- Encourage shared meals, coffee breaks or outings
- Encourage "collisions" or unplanned interactions between members
- Arrange events, talksand meetings for members and the wider community
- Create programs or initiatives that tap into shared community interests
- Address and communicate solutions to problems or issues.
A coworking leader shows genuine interest in the individual members of the space and the culture of the space overall. They're there full-time welcoming, speaking to, connecting and listening to tenants.
Some Leadership Tips
Tenants who feel included feel empowered and are more likely to thrive. That's good for your space and good for business. Here are some concrete ways you as a leader can help make this happen.
- Provide a welcome kit to all new members and a "goodbye" kit for those moving on
- Greet everyone who comes through the door
- Actively move around the room speaking to each member, handing out treats or coffee is a great way to do this.
- Celebrate birthdays, job milestones or membership anniversaries
- Personally invite members to speak at community events
- Connect members with other members requiring a specific service
- Constructively respond to feedback or complaints, showing tenants how the issue has been addressed.
Need input on best practices? Try the Coworking Leadership Slack Channel.
Great coworking leaders value relationships and networks, and constantly work to help build these. Ensure that your coworking space has someone to fulfill this role, and you'll be well on the way to creating a vibrant, powerful community.
Opening a coworking space and need help? Get in touch!