Nurturing a Coworking Community: Event, Workshops and More
Nurturing a community is a key part of your coworking space. Before you ever open, start working to create that feeling of a coworking community with events, then, open the space when it is still just partially occupied. Continue consistently engaging the members to ensure that people still feel in touch with each other. With a sense of community, people are more likely to become members or continue their memberships. To nurture your community, be sure to plan coworking events and workshops.
Tips to Nurture a Community
Have an Opening Event
Start your coworking space off on the right foot with a launch or opening event of some sort. At the very least, plan an open house so people can see your space before you open, which will encourage new memberships. You might also want to get community attention with events that will be useful to future members, such as networking or coworking workshops. At these preopening events, be sure to include a signup list, so you can gather the contact information of people who are interested in your space.
Lunch and Learn
Consider planning coworking workshops, such as lunch-and-learn sessions. During these, have a different member of the coworking community share their advice. This is a way for members to feel as if they get to share their expertise while everyone learns. If you supply the lunch, everyone will feel encouraged to attend and expand their skillset or just make new connections.
Supplement the member-led lunch workshops with the occasional guest host to keep things interesting. Gauge the interest of your members to see what combination of coworking-related skills to non-relevant skills should be the topic, such as networking vs. learning some origami. You also can get inspiration from national coworking events.
Many people who choose to use coworking spaces do so as part of their networking efforts. Take this to the next level by incorporating coworking events that have the goal of networking. The perfect example is speed networking events that you announce within the coworking space and the area as a whole. Consider giving each networking event a theme, such as a specific industry, so members can make useful connections. Mix these with general speed networking to promote any useful connections.
Evening Happy Hours
To create that sense of a coworking community, do not make every single coworking event about work; include some that are purely for fun. The perfect example would be a weekly happy hour after normal work hours. Decide what drinks will be served or if members should bring their own drinks, and give each week a theme. The idea is for members to associate the community and space with fun as well as productivity.
Free-Pass Events or Open Houses
In addition to an open house before you launch your coworking space, continue the community outreach with open houses every once in a while. This can be an event that takes place after your peak hours to show potential members the space. Or it can include a limited number of free passes (with required registration) on a set day of the month or even once a week.