Shared office spaces offer their members a place to get work done while connecting with other like-minded business people. Many solo-preneurs enjoy the camaraderie of being around others because it provides a source of motivation and support and can sometimes lead to new business. However, some members need an extra push to get them out of their offices (or up from their coworking chairs) to meet other people and start developing those valuable relationships.
To foster a sense of community in a shared office space, coworking managers need to create opportunities for people to meet and work together. These are some activities that be easily implemented in any shared workspace to get members more involved in office activities:
- Educational seminars: Hosting seminars on business-related topics gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to grow their business and opportunities to learn from other business owners who may share their same interests or challenges. Some ideas for these sessions include how to raise funding for a growing business, using social media to maximize a new company’s visibility online, and tax and legal issues that impact start-ups. Coworking managers can find guest speakers within their own member companies or at the local chambers of commerce. To keep costs down, guest speakers can provide the content and refreshments while coworking managers offer the meeting space at no charge.
- Holiday Celebrations: Food always brings people together, and the holidays are an excellent time for members to gather and celebrate. If cost is a concern, it’s possible to party without spending a lot of time or money by buying food from the grocery store and reusing festive decorations from year to year. Many offices celebrate traditional holidays such as the Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It’s also fun to recognize Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, National Donut Day, and members’ birthdays. On Valentine’s Day, providing a sweet treat to members, such as ice cream, is a great way to show them they’re appreciated, and on Halloween, members can display their creativity with costumes and a door decorating contest. For Thanksgiving, hosting a potluck luncheon featuring a traditional Thanksgiving meal gives everyone a chance to reflect on the year, and an ugly sweater party provides a unique twist on the annual holiday get-together where members can relax and mingle before they take some well-deserved time off. These celebrations interspersed throughout the year offer a welcome respite from the work day and interject fun and camaraderie into the workplace.
- Charity Projects: Inviting members to get involved in community service projects allows small business owners to give back and share the charities they care about with the people around them. Coworking managers can form a steering committee with their member companies, and then, the members work together to develop service projects that anyone in the office can participate in every quarter. Focusing on local charities is a great way to maximize the impact on the surrounding community.
- Art Shows: Allowing local artists to showcase their artwork within a shared workspace keeps the walls decorated with fresh, new art and can draw community members into the office with special art events. Art is displayed as part of a rotating gallery, and when it changes, artists can host a happy hour to network with small business owners in the coworking space or other creative people in the local area.
Want to learn more about how to create valuable programs in a coworking location or shared office space? Contact Launch Workplaces at (301) 232-3301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org