Inclusivity and Diversity in Coworking Communities: Best Practices

Ever heard that a team with a mix of backgrounds can be a total game-changer? Well, buckle up because the same goes for coworking spaces! Studies show diverse companies earn a whopping 2.5 times more cash flow per employee – that's a serious boost! And guess what? Coworking spaces with a welcoming vibe for everyone see a crazy 35% jump in productivity!

Ready to unlock the power of diversity and inclusion in your coworking space? This article is your guide. We'll dive into easy-to-follow tips that'll make your space a hub for innovation, productivity, and a powerful sense of community for everyone. Let's get started!

Challenges to Diversity and Inclusion in Coworking

While coworking spaces hold the promise of connection and inclusivity, it's important to acknowledge that they aren't always as welcoming to everyone as we'd like. Groups like people of color (POC), members of the LGBTQ+ community, and neurodivergent individuals may sometimes feel that coworking spaces aren't designed with them in mind. Let's break down some of the reasons why this perception exists:

  1. Pricing: Coworking spaces, especially in urban centers, can be expensive. This creates an economic barrier that may disproportionately impact marginalized groups who often face income disparities.
  2. Marketing: The images and language used to promote coworking spaces often center around a specific demographic – young, able-bodied, white-collar professionals. This can send an unintentional message of exclusion to those who don't fit that mold.
  3. Accessibility Features: Some coworking spaces lack basic accessibility features, such as wheelchair ramps, gender-neutral bathrooms, or quiet rooms for those with sensory sensitivities. This creates a physical barrier for people with disabilities or specific needs.

It's easy to feel disheartened by these challenges, but the first step towards a more inclusive coworking community is awareness. By understanding these barriers, coworking operators can begin to implement strategies that create a more welcoming and accessible environment for everyone.

inclusive coworking space

Building an Inclusive Coworking Community

Creating a truly inclusive coworking space goes beyond good intentions. Let's dive into specific, practical ways to make inclusivity a reality in your community:

1. Cultivating an Inclusive Mindset

Creating a truly inclusive coworking space starts from within. Think of it like this: Even if you have the best intentions, we all have unconscious biases – those little automatic assumptions that our brains make without us even realizing it. Maybe you tend to picture a "successful entrepreneur" as a certain type of person or have a subtle hesitation about working with someone who dresses very differently from you.

As a coworking operator, taking an honest look at these biases is a powerful first step. It's not about feeling bad; it's about awareness. Once you notice those assumptions, you can start to challenge them and consciously create a more welcoming space. Committing to ongoing learning about diversity is vital, too.

Unconscious bias training can be a game-changer for you and your team. These workshops are like opening a window into the way our minds work. They teach you to spot those hidden biases and give you tools to make more mindful choices. Imagine having a team fully aware of how their unconscious assumptions might impact the way they interact with members – it makes a world of difference in creating a space where everyone feels truly seen and valued.

2. Accessibility and Physical Space

Picture this: a wheelchair user enters your coworking space. They find accessible entrances, wide hallways, and restrooms they can use easily. That's fantastic, but it's just the start! Have you also considered adjustable desks so they can work comfortably? Or maybe a designated quiet room for those who get overwhelmed by loud environments or need a space for undisturbed focus?

Providing options is key! Some members thrive in the energy of a buzzing open workspace, while others work best tucked away in a peaceful corner. By offering both lively collaboration areas and focused zones, you allow everyone to pick the environment that helps them do their best work. It shows that you understand and value the diverse needs of your members, creating a space where everyone feels they belong.

Accessible and diverse coworking

3. Programming and Events

Imagine a coworking space where the calendar is full of events that truly reflect the diversity of your community. Think workshops celebrating different cultural holidays, speaker panels featuring leaders from a wide range of backgrounds, or even just casual meetups focused on shared interests that cut across traditional demographic lines. These kinds of events send a powerful message: Everyone's voice and experience are valued here.

It's also incredibly important to actively elevate underrepresented voices within your community. Do you have members from marginalized groups who are doing incredible work or have unique perspectives? Give them the spotlight! Host showcases of their work, invite them to participate in panels, or offer them opportunities to lead workshops. This not only builds confidence within your community, but it also helps break down stereotypes and inspires others to see what's possible.

a diverse event

4. Communication and Community Building

The words you choose matter! Think about how your coworking space is presented in brochures, on your website, and app, or even in casual emails to members. Does the language feel welcoming to everyone? For example, instead of constantly referring to entrepreneurs as "he," use gender-neutral pronouns like "they" to reinforce a sense of inclusion. Small changes like this signal that you've put thought into creating a space where everyone feels like they belong.

Actively encouraging connections between members is another powerful tool. Consider a mentorship program that intentionally pairs members with different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Or organize social events specifically designed for networking across diverse groups within your community. These connections foster understanding, break down barriers, and can even lead to amazing collaborations!

Finally, setting a clear standard of conduct for your space is vital. Sadly, even well-meaning people can sometimes act in ways that make others feel uncomfortable. A straightforward Code of Conduct that emphasizes respect and zero tolerance for discrimination sends a strong message about the kind of community you are building.

Going Beyond: Fostering a Culture of Belonging

Inclusivity is great, but true success means creating a space where every member feels like they genuinely belong. Here's how to take your coworking community to that next level:

  • Member Voices Matter: Actively seek out feedback and suggestions from your members, especially those from underrepresented groups. Do they feel comfortable? What would make the space feel more welcoming? Use surveys, informal chats, or even a suggestion box to gather their valuable insights.
  • Power of Partnerships: Reach out to local organizations that support marginalized communities. Collaborate on events and workshops, or consider offering scholarships or discounts to their members. These partnerships help expand your network and demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity.
  • Share the Impact: Don't just talk about the importance of diversity – showcase it! Highlight the amazing projects, connections, and success stories that are born from having a truly diverse community. Share these stories on your website, social media, or newsletters to inspire others.

Fostering a culture of belonging isn't just about feeling good – it has tangible benefits for your coworking space. When members feel valued and connected, they're more likely to stay engaged, recommend your space to others, and contribute to a positive and dynamic community atmosphere.

diverse group of people coworking


Building a genuinely inclusive coworking space takes effort, but the rewards are more than worth it. Let's recap the key things to remember:

  • Inclusivity Starts Within: Examine your own biases, invest in training, and prioritize accessibility in your physical space.
  • Celebrate Diversity: Actively showcase a wide range of voices and perspectives through your events and programming.
  • Communication is Key: Use inclusive language, foster connections, and always be open to member feedback.
  • Community Benefits Everyone: A diverse and inclusive coworking space isn't just the right thing. It's the smart thing. It drives innovation, boosts productivity, and attracts top talent.

The future of coworking is bright, and inclusivity holds the key to its continued success. By embracing the practices we've discussed, you'll create a space where everyone feels empowered to contribute, collaborate, and reach their full potential. Let's continue striving to make coworking communities true beacons of innovation and opportunity for all.

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