There are lots of things you can do to bring your community together in January. Whether it's design, community, health or marketing-related, the options are varied and numerous. So, why not get 2022 off to a great start with one of these ideas for your coworking space?
Some of your members might be planning to grow their businesses in 2022 by hiring new employees or exploring a new market. Show them you’ve got their back by providing them with access to the resources they need to turn their dreams into realities.
Insufficient access to funding is one of the biggest barriers SMEs face when it comes to growth. Research small business grants to see if there are any that your members could be eligible for, and share any information you find with your members.
You could also consider inviting local funders to your coworking space to talk about all things funding (with a networking session at the end). Nexudus customer Level39 regularly hosts funding events designed to prepare their members for growth.
Some of us have a tendency to overindulge over the festive period, so January is all about wellness and getting the year off to a positive start. Coworking spaces like Greenhouse N16 provide regular yoga sessions for members - could yours do the same?
There are lots of ways to engage members in virtual physical activities too. You could facilitate virtual yoga classes or set up a socially distanced running club using an app like RunTogether, which is free, accessible and inclusive. You can set up a group here.
Depending on the Covid restrictions in your area, you could kick off 2022 by offering non-members a limited number of free passes. Providing people with the opportunity to try out your space can be an effective way to convert the curious into paying members.
It’s important to track who comes in and out of your space - including anyone participating in a free trial. Use your coworking software to offer temporary access to visitors who want to use your space, and allow them to use contactless check-in for safe entry.
“We often think of the community of members within our coworking spaces, but what we're talking about here is connecting with our local community and the community that the working space sits within,” said Tash Thomas in a 2021 webinar on community engagement.
“[The local] community already exists, we don't have to build it, we don't have to make it - it's there and it's waiting to be connected to!” Why not kickstart 2022 by growing your network to more include local residents, community groups and organisations?
Make a list of local groups and organisations to introduce your space to
Create a marketing calendar of key business and community events to celebrate
Reach out to local youth organisations and offer your resources/support
Think about how you could offer young people work experience opportunities
Collaborate with your members - do they have any ideas?
Are you interested in making your coworking space more inclusive, diverse, accessible and equitable in 2022? Consider taking part in the Coworking IDEA Project’s monthly challenges.
“We believe that by working collaboratively internationally, we can have a ripple effect throughout the industry and that our individual actions really matter,” said Ashley Proctor, who hosted a recent webinar on how to make coworking spaces more IDEA.
“We each have the opportunity to make decisions in our businesses, organisations, and communities and we also often have the platform and access to a larger network where we can influence [others] by changing our behaviour and leading by example.”
Each IDEA challenge is designed to help coworking organisations implement positive change. They’re pragmatic and practical - previous challenges have included “updating your code of conduct”, “challenging gender inequality” and “curating inclusive events”.
Newsletters serve a practical purpose by enabling you to keep members up-to-date with regards to things like the latest Covid health and safety protocols.
But they’re also a vehicle for fun and entertainment.
As a coworking operator, you’ll never run out of content to share and stories to tell. Use your newsletter to introduce new members, promote events, share local news and generally reach out to people and make them feel included. Check out this article for some top tips.
7. Introduce a booth (or two)
Now’s a good time to reflect on how you could optimise your space in terms of design. With remote working in full swing, there’s a growing appetite for private spaces. Spaces where people can take calls without disturbing others, work quietly or engage in 1:1 meetings.
Nook Pods are a great example. They’re versatile when it comes to usage and materials are chosen for cleanability, durability and sustainability. What’s more, Nook Pods are on wheels, so you can move them when you need to make way for events or reconfigure your space.
Plants have the power to make a space look great and it's occupier feel great. Various studies have proven the benefits of adding more greenery to your workspace.
For instance, a study by the University of Technology, Sydney, discovered significant reductions in stress among workers when plants were introduced to their workspace. And a Human Spaces report found that workers whose environments included natural elements reported a 15% higher wellbeing score and a 6% higher productivity score.
Plants aside, there are loads of other ways to bring nature into your coworking space in 2022. Try optimising natural light, using natural colours, playing nature-inspired music, using oil diffusers and integrating design elements made out of sustainable materials.
Workspaces can easily become places of stress and exhaustion. Viewing artwork can help mitigate these feelings, giving the brain a much needed cognitive break. There are companies out there who lease artwork to workspaces, but why not look closer to home?
You could partner with a local artistic organisation, like the London-based coworking space Creative Works did in 2021 when they displayed local artwork as part of the E17 Art Trail. You could also use your space to exhibit the artwork of local young people.
Libraries aren’t the silent realms of olden times; they’re more like community hubs these days. They have a lot in common with coworking spaces, so much so that London recently unveiled its first official coworking space inside a public library.
Why not open a library inside your coworking space in 2022? Start by asking members to donate any books they don’t want to your collection. Create an online living library of podcast recommendations - make it accessible so that people can add their suggestions.
You could even start a book club. We all need a bit of escapism right now, after all!
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