International Coworking Day Celebration Ideas – Even in a Pandemic

International Coworking Day 2020 Virtual Events

In keeping with physical distancing measures and helping our government combat Covid-19, many flexible workspace operators and CloudVO Partners are coming up with creative ways to celebrate International Coworking Day on August 9, 2020.  

With everything going on in the world right now, acknowledging the meaning behind special occasions is so important.  Here are a few ways coworking space operators can celebrate International Coworking Day during this time of Covid.

Physically Distant Contests or Virtual Events 

  • Plan a “What Does Coworking Mean to You?” Virtual Session.  Ask members to come prepared to share a poem, song, music, story, or just a few words which express how coworking has impacted them.

  • Host a spirit week.  Each day has a theme (i.e. pajama day, or rock your best tie-dye gear day, etc.)  The event can be in honor of International Coworking Day.  This is a way members can show off their personalities while still keeping socially distant. 
  • Photo contests with a theme.  For instance, take a photo that represents what International Coworking Day means to you and share on whatever platform your space uses for member enagement and communication.

Outdoor Events

  • Get your members to bring their PPE equipment and head to a park for a physically distanced physical education session.

  • If you have access to a courtyard or any kind of yard space, host an outdoor coworking session for just a couple of hours.  People can bring their own lawn chairs if they wish.  This could be a good way for members who are not ready to come back to indoor space to engage with some of their fellow coworkers.

  • Depending on restrictions in your area, host an outdoor and physically-distant gathering at a local restaurant, pub or brewery that has a large enough outside seating area so folks can spread out. This is a way you can support local businesses as well. (Pro tip: Encourage mask wearing for all your outdoor events to ensure safety for all).

Participate in events that others are organizing

  • This year also marks 15 years of coworking!  As part of a group effort for this year’s anniversary, you can participate in this Coworking Day Global Collective.  This is a fantastic way to showcase your space within the global community.
International Coworking Day 2020 Fifteen Year Anniversary
Photo credit: Coworking.com
  • See if your city or town has a Coworking Alliance hosting any virtual events and sign-up to attend.  Don’t forget to spread the word to your members.

  • Engage on social media and show your support for what other fellow coworking space operators are doing for International Coworking Day.  Post comments, like and share posts, and participate in any fun activities you find on these social platforms.

What out of the box ideas do you have to commemorate International Coworking Day amidst this time of physical distancing?  We would love to hear from you.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide.


Maintaining Community While Members are Virtual: Insights from 4 Coworking Operators

Now that your members are working from home, scaling back their time in the space, or working apart from one another, how do you maintain community?

We asked four workspace operators to share a glimpse into their experience, how they’re creating virtual offerings, and what advice they’d give to other coworking owners and managers.

Susan Dorsch is co-founder of Office Nomads in Seattle, WA. Office Nomads has 103 members, zero private offices, and 10-15 events per month. Jamie Orr is co-founder of Cowork Tahoe in South Lake Tahoe, CA. and co-founder of Jellyswitch. Cowork Tahoe has 150 members, 32 offices and 8-12 events per month. Felicity Maxwell is co-founder and COO of Fibercove in Austin, TX. Fibercove has 100 members, 4 offices and 5-10 events per month.  Maya Delano is the community manager at Nextspace Coworking Santa Cruz who runs the space with community coordinator Jennifer Hamilton.  NextSpace Santa Cruz has 241 members, 26 offices, and hosts about 14 internal/public events per month. Here’s what they had to say:

[?] Cat Johnson: How are things in your space and community? What precautions have you taken around COVID-19?

Susan Dorsch: Things in Seattle are definitely tense as our region is one of the centers of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the space and within our community, I’d say the general feeling is subdued. It’s hard in Seattle right now. But there’s also a solid undercurrent of humor and good-naturedness that is so reassuring. This outbreak and the onslaught of news about it has been hard on everyone, but I hear lots of words of encouragement between our members. While it’s a crappy thing to connect over, our members are connecting well and finding ways to at least cheer each other along in the struggle.

The precautions Office Nomads has taken thus far are:

  • Daily sanitizing of most surfaces in the space (countertops, door handles, coffee pots, our iPad for check-in, etc.)
  • Temporarily switching over to disposable towels in the bathrooms and kitchens (normally we use regular towels because we love the environment).
  • Having hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies out at the ready for members to use.
  • Temporarily putting a pause on our food-related gatherings in the space (though we joked around about having a snack be individually wrapped cheese sticks placed at 6-foot intervals around the table.)
  • Maintaining a strong channel of communication with our members so they know all the things.

Jamie Orr: This week, we really saw things start to change in response to COVID-19. It’s quiet here. We still have people coming in, but the energy is completely different. On Monday, we established our response protocol as a team:

  • Suspended all drop-in day passes
  • Canceled and suspended any meeting room bookings from outside groups, and any events in the space
  • Placed signs everywhere reminding people of good hygiene protocols. Most of those signs are fun and encourage singing while hand washing
  • Increased our cleaning, disinfecting primary shared surfaces like handles, buttons, etc. multiple times throughout the day
  • Sent and posted notices about CDC guidelines, our procedures, etc. to all members

Felicity Maxwell: Cleaning stations, extra hand soap, spot cleaning of common surfaces. 

NextSpace SC: Things are getting weird, not going to lie! Initially, we started disinfecting every AM and put out hygiene signage with additional “sanitation stations” and even added floral arrangements to the stations to bring a little beauty (and engage members) to use the sanitizers. 

Wash Your Hands Signage NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz

But now we have closed the space to abide by our county’s shelter in place order.

  • We are only open 2 hours each day for the purpose of managing mail to keep our members’ businesses running smooth
  • Members have started an online “Coffee Time” to hang out virtually each morning. It’s so cute!
  • We plan to have a virtual happy hour

In what ways has COVID-19 affected the day-to-day in your space?

SD: Things are definitely more quiet in the space, and the majority of our conversations are outbreak-related. So that’s different for sure. Literally someone just said, “Nice to social distance with y’all!” as they left the lunch table.

JO: Everyone is on edge, especially as this past week has progressed. The typical water cooler talk is all about the pandemic, what is going to happen, what people are doing to prepare. Many members are preparing by taking home monitors in anticipation of school closures.

At the same time, everyone is being incredibly supportive of one another and trying to stay in good spirits. The community is strong. Our team has been working really hard on overcommunicating with members: asking how they are doing, what they need, talking with them about what we are doing, what our thought process is, how we intend on supporting everyone. That has gone really far.

FM: Totally Normal / Totally Not! We have plenty of community members that are attempting to work as usual, but also have a number who have been impacted.  Specifically:

  • SXSW cancelled: One of the startups here has their entire remote team flying in, they were scheduled to be featured at SXSW Innovation Showcase. All of that was cancelled. No team meeting, no SXSW parties, no chance to win or gain the exposure and connections offered by SXSW
  • Projects cancelled: Several members have already mentioned work projects being cancelled. One works with the airline industry and they had an entire RFP revoked. Likewise, another member who supports large tech conferences had six months worth of work put on hold. Their contacts are now asking them to create a system for virtual conferences, since it is unclear when these types of gatherings will be coming back.
  • Meetings cancelled or low attendance: We have had several bookings cancel due to attendee travel concerns about COVID. One client has zero attendees at a sales meeting that normally has 10-15. 
  • We’ve made the decision to go to a members only/limited staffing model for the next few weeks. That should allow our members who need space to use it, but encourage everyone else to stay home and safe.  

NextSpace SC: Our space started to fill with children and friends for a bit (we are thinking it had to do with school closures before the shelter-in-place order).  Although NextSpace is closed to the public, we still allow access to members that absolutely need the space to conduct business. 

  • We offer mailbox services and are staffed for two hours a day so members can access their mail via pick-up, but we have encouraged scanning or forwarding to their home address.
  • We have also directed members to ship packages (Amazon, UPS, etc.) to their home.
  • Staff are mostly working from home and trying to keep our community informed and find ways to keep everyone connected. We’re going as virtual as possible and testing the waters of online events and messaging platforms.

[?] Do you have ways for your community to connect virtually? If so, what is working well?

SD: We sure do! We have a member mailing list as well as an active Slack. Both of those channels are proving to be really valuable for our members to touch base with each other. We just launched our first-ever virtual membership (which is free in March) to encourage those who might be newly experiencing the challenges of remote work to have another touch point.  

Already there’s been an increase in the use of Slack. We’re planning virtual work sprints, have a “daily debate” channel, and are checking in on weekly goals. It’s lovely.

JO: Next week, we’ll be rolling out scheduled times to virtually cowork with each other. I’m looking at a few options: 

  1. Work sprints with video on
  2. Happy hour or “after kids are asleep” hour
  3. Water cooler check-ins in the morning and towards mid-afternoon when members would typically be taking coffee breaks

FM: We primarily use Slack for member communication and have seen an uptick in engagement. We’re planning to use Zoom for virtual coworking this week. 

NextSpace SC: We are lucky to have amazing members who started a Facebook group to host virtual morning coffee sessions each day. Our company will be using Zoom and Facebook Live to host virtual happy hours on Friday’s at 3:58pm and daily coworking sessions with our members. We’re also using our mailing list to communicate with members.  Our internal team will be logging in together each day to connect, support and share experiences and challenges.

Virtual Happy Hour NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz

[?] How would you advise other space operators working to find ways to support, maintain and strengthen their community through the outbreak?

SD: Don’t be silent. Reach out, be proactive, and find ways that you can be helpful. It’s not as hard or scary as you might think.

JO: Now more than ever it’s imperative to model good communication, and over-communication. Even I have taken for granted the ease at which we connect with one another when in the same physical space. There is extra effort required to get used to doing that virtually. As coworking space operators, we can help our members do that by showing them how.

FM: Give your community ways to connect that are not related to physical space. Encourage everyone to stay connected via Zoom, Slack etc., and remind them that this is temporary.

NextSpace SC: There are so many resources! Check out Women Who Cowork who have dedicated an entire training session and created an online manual to support us during these crazy times. Joining virtual discussions such as Coworking Convos is also a great way to stay connected with other space operators that are in the same boat! 

Cat Johnson Coworking Convos Virtual Community

Lastly, even if your space is not closed yet, start putting strategies in place and communicate to members what your processes will be “in case of a closure.”  Get your mail, communications and resources in order. If you do this ahead of time, you will have more time to be present and available to your members when you do have to transition to virtual coworking. 

Cat Johnson is a writer and storyteller for the coworking movement. Cat is founder of Coworking Convos – a virtual monthly group discussion with other space operators on topics relevant to the coworking industry. Sign-up for the next free Coworking Convo and join the discussion!


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.


How to Prevent Burnout when Planning Coworking Events: 9 Tips for Community Managers

Coworking events can be an important part of running a successful coworking space.

From small happy hours for your members, to lunch and learns, meetups, networking events, presentations, workshops, large events for your extended community and everything in-between, coworking events can serve numerous important purposes, including:

  • Providing added value for members
  • Bringing new people into your space
  • Positioning your space in front of your target market
  • Differentiating from other coworking spaces
  • Giving members an opportunity to share skills and expertise
  • Educating your local community about coworking
  • Strengthening your existing member community
  • Demonstrating your company values and culture

As NextSpace senior community manager Maya Delano says, events are an “absolutely essential marketing tool and retention tool.”

She explains that whether members take advantage of events or not, they want to know that they have the option of participating in in-space events.

Coworking Events and NextTalk Luncheon at NextSpace Santa Cruz | CloudVO

Coworking Event Burnout

The flip side, however, is that events can be exhausting and overwhelming for space operators and teams that are already stretched thin with todos.

Events are time consuming, they take a lot of energy, they require big picture planning and strategizing, as well as detail work down to the level of napkins and name tags.

Delano, who has been hosting events at NextSpace for seven years and was an event organizer before coming into coworking, shared nine tips to prevent event burnout in your coworking space.

Coworking Events and Tips to prevent Burnout | CloudVO

1. Understand what works for you, your staff and your budget

“Don’t set yourself up to fail by hosting events that are too large, too detailed, too expensive or too frequent,” says Delano. “Be clear with yourself, your team and any collaborators about what is realistic.”

2. Partner on events with local organizations, including your Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 

“This way,” says Delano, “you have two organizations putting their time and resources into one event each month. Doing that has taken a lot of pressure off of both of the organizations, and it’s increased our reach and attendance.”

Cloud VO Partner NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Partners with Small Business Development Center

3. Host events during the 9-to-5 work day

“When you work a full day of coworking and then you have to go into a 6-9 p.m. evening event, you have just pushed yourself too hard,” says Delano. “After the event you have clean up and the next thing you know, you’re not getting home until 11 p.m. Then you’re turning around and you have to be back in the space—with a smile—at 9 a.m.”

Delano and the NextSpace team focus on daytime and lunchtime events, and leave the evening networking events to other people. That way, events fall within the time and structure of the work day.

The team does three large evening events per year—a holiday party and two networking events, including a women in tech event and speed networking—but they limit those large, evening events to three per year.

4. Keep it simple and consistent

NextSpace does a second Tuesday of the month event, a Friday at 3:58 happy hour, and a quarterly breakfast on a Tuesday at 10 a.m. 

“By having this structure, you can avoid overbooking yourself with numerous events in one week,” says Delano. “Signature events in your space help everyone get on the same page and lets everyone structure their time accordingly.”

Coworking Events and Happy Hour at NextSpace Santa Cruz | CloudVO
Happy Hour spread at NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz

5. Manage your personal expectations

“You can’t do everything, so plan your ideal situation,” says Delano. “If you’re just starting out, try one event per month, or one event per quarter.” She explains that events can be overwhelming if you don’t have an events background and suggests letting other people—a member or an events mentor—help you.

“Let someone show you the ropes,” she says. “The learning curve going from zero events to a bunch of events is huge.”

6. Do member-focused events

In-house events, such as a Wednesday Walkabout lunch, are not about retention and sales. They’re simply about connecting with members and helping them connect with each other.

“Let the members tell people how great your coworking space is. That way you can leverage word-of-mouth.”

Coworking Events and Member Participation NextSpace Santa Cruz | CloudVO

7. Plan your event schedule annually

“Sit down with your team and look at the entire year, one quarter at a time,” says Delano. “Look at all the things going on and make sure each quarter’s event schedule is realistic.”

She also advises considering your operational procedures, such as billing, as well as other events when planning your schedule.

Coworking Events Planning in Advance | CloudVO

8. Curate your events

“You have to do events that you like,” says Delano. “You’re the cool one. You’re the one bringing in the trendy, interesting, fun factor. If it’s not interesting to you, don’t do it.” 

She adds that, as a coworking space manager, take feedback and suggestions from members, but your events need to reflect you and, in turn, your community.

9. Be mindful and express your values

“We’ve become the clubhouse for women in tech in Santa Cruz,” Delano says. “I’m not a tech person, but I have the wherewithal to support women in the space, which is really important to me.” 

She adds, “So I’m addressing the needs of the community, which is really important, as well as my passion, which is supporting women in a safe working environment.

Cat Johnson is a coworking storyteller and content strategist. She blogs about coworking, the workspace industry, community and content marketing at catjohnson.co

Join our global network of 750 workspace operators at www.CloudVO.com. Listing is free!


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at 750 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.


Partnering with Your Local Small Business Development Center: an Overview for Coworking Space Operators

Coworking Space Partnerships with Small Business Development Centers | CloudVO

I’ve watched many people come into NextSpace Santa Cruz to meet with Keith Holtaway, business advisor for the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Keith is a celebrated local businessman, an award-winning consultant and mentor, and a longtime member of the NextSpace community, Keith has a desk here where he meets with SBDC clients all week long. He’s available to offer advice and business mentorship to members and the local community, at large. I’ve personally met with Keith three times in the last year or so as I’ve grown my business.

Coworking and the SBDC

Partnering with the local SBDC is a no-brainer for coworking spaces. It benefits spaces, members, the local community and the SBDC. 

“The SBDC fits within the culture of coworking, which is communities that are here not just to better themselves, but to better their neighbor,” says Brandon Napoli, director of the Santa Cruz SBDC. “The SBDC is a cornerstone of that foundation. We help business owners become more entrepreneurial. That’s really what the SBDC is aiming for.”

Napoli stresses that having a network of other entrepreneurs, service providers and supporters is essential to creating a thriving business.

“There’s a need to be part of a village as a business owner,” he adds, “not just a frontiers person, when it comes to creating your own business.”


In-house Strategy and Success

Through partnerships with the SBDC, coworking spaces have a stream of local professionals and business owners coming into the space, members have in-house business mentorship, the extended community has access to (oftentimes free) business consulting and professional workspace, and the SBDC positions itself in the heart of the professional ecosystem.

Partnering with a coworking space also gives the SBDC a place to have events, and to stay current with local business trends, challenges and opportunities.

Cloud VO Partner NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Partners with SBDC

“Partnership with a coworking space puts the SBDC advisor/mentor in the middle of the target market in a way that allows for trust to develop between potential clients and the advisor over a period of time,” says Holtaway. “It also allows for the SBDC to understand emerging businesses before they become more mainstream. In other words, the SBDC is on the ground floor of new stuff that is getting ready to launch.”

NextSpace Santa Cruz Senior Community Manager Maya Delano stresses that the vision for a coworking space and the SBDC is aligned: to help people succeed in work and life. She describes SBDC partnership as enabling spaces to serve as business incubators without being incubators.

“All these SBDC resources are housed under our roof,” she says. “We have informational materials in the space and we mention that we have an on-site SBDC advisor during tours.”

Delano adds that the partnership brings a fresh audience of business owners—and prospective business owners—into the space and introduces new people to the idea of flexible workspace.

“This benefits members at all stages of running a business, from needing basic business mentorship, to launching a startup, to getting a loan and beyond.”

Win Win Win

Since providing business advice to members is not a service generally offered in coworking spaces, SBDC partnerships allow a space to differentiate and provide a valuable community service at little cost to them. A partnership may be as simple as an open coworking membership, or it may include a dedicated desk, meeting room hours, or office space.

Services offered by an SBDC depends on the location, but they usually have a wide range of offerings, including technical services and access to a team of advisors who, as Holtaway explains, “can take care of almost any business need.”

“Such a service would be very expensive to engage for both the coworking space and the member,” he says. “For smaller coworking spaces, it would be a feature that would allow them to compete with larger coworking spaces that have a large marketing budget. There are also approximately 1,200 SBDC centers throughout the U.S. so finding one would not be difficult. Since SBDCs operate on a tight operations budget, offering low or no cost space would be very attractive to them, as well.”

Small Business Development Centers across the United States

Creating an SBDC Partnership

For coworking space operators interested in partnering with the local SBDC, Napoli advises having a clear understanding of how the needs of the coworking space align with the goals of the SBDC.

“If the need of the coworking space is to bring in new blood, host more events, fill office space, and increase retention of members,” he says, “align that with the focus of the SBDC, and with who the SBDC is serving and willing to serve.”

Napoli stresses that it’s vitally important for SBDCs to understand the local business environment and stay relevant to local business owners. 

“An SBDC that’s focused on the future of work is an SBDC that knows the trends of the workplace,” he says. “An SBDC needs to move from the corner office in its host institution into becoming a cornerstone of the ecosystem serving business owners.”

Coworking and Small Business Development Center Partnership for Members

What partnerships have you formed within your local business community that align with your coworking space? We’d love to hear from you.

Written by Cat Johnson, storyteller and coworking member at NextSpace Santa Cruz.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.


How to Curate Community in a Space with Private Offices: 15 Tips for Shared Workspace Operators

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Shared Workspace Wine Tasting Member Event
Wine Tasting Member Event at Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space

In open coworking spaces, casual networking and connections take place throughout out the day. People sit near each other, they ask each other questions, they share resources, they visit over coffee. By being in the same space, community-building happens naturally.

But what about shared workspaces that have a lot of private offices? How do you curate community when a majority of members are working alone, or with their team, in an office separated from the common space?

Here are 15 tips for curating community in a workspace with private offices, including several pro tips from Lori Campbell, community manager of Pacific Workplaces, our partner location in Sunnyvale, California. Campbell manages 15,000 square feet and 51 full-time offices in her space and is still a community builder extraordinaire.

1. Introduce New Workspace Members
When a new member joins your workspace, whether as a coworking member or an office member, introduce them to existing members. By breaking the ice for new members, you accelerate their transition into the community and help them start building their network of friends and professional connections.

“Members feed off the other members’ personalities,” says Campbell. “When we have a new coworking member, virtual office member, or office member, I introduce them around, and tell our existing members to make them feel at home. That’s an icebreaker.”

2. Make Sure the Community Manager is Accessible
In her Sunnyvale space, Campbell sits in the open area so, as she explains, “members can’t help but see me.” She’s able to greet members and guests, make connections between people and start group conversations.
“I describe our environment as electric,”  says Campbell. “Once I make the introductions between people, it takes off from there.”

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space Community Manager Extraordinare
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space Community Manager Lori is accessible to members and always welcoming (clearly!)

3. Celebrate the Seasons and Holidays
Seasonal and holiday events are a great excuse to get members out of their office and into the common space. Campbell advises celebrating major holidays, as well as inviting members to suggest holiday or cultural events and celebrations.

Celebrations in Sunnyvale include St. Patrick’s Day, the winter holiday season and the 4th of July, as well as Cinco de Mayo, Mardi Gras, and international celebrations.

Pacific Workplaces Coworking Space Sunnyvale Community Member Event International Holiday Mixer
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space International Holiday Event

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Shared Workspaces 4th of July Member Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale 4th of July Member Event

4. Host Impromptu Events
One of Campbell’s best tips is to host impromptu socials. She and her Pacific Workplaces team have hosted wine tastings with cheese and grapes, lunch socials and community breakfasts, where they cook eggs and bacon for everyone.  “Everyone comes out of their offices to join in those, Campbell says with a laugh.

5. Be Creative with Event Ideas and Let the Community Help
“I call my mind Disneyland,” Campbell says. “I think of the craziest things to do and our coworking members and office members are onboard with my madness.” She advises letting members suggest events for the community and explains that one of the most fun community-building things they’ve done was a mannequin challenge, which was suggested by a member. Plans are in the works for a 1970s disco party, another idea suggested by a member.

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space At The Beach Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space ‘At The Beach’ Event

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space Game Night Member Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale ‘Game Night’ Member Event

6. Create a Member Wall in Your Workspace
A member wall in your coworking space lets people see who their fellow members are and what they do. Member walls can also be informal networking tools so when a member needs a service or product, they can see, at-a-glance, if there’s an office member or coworking member who might be able to help them.

7. Know Your Community and the Culture of Your Workspace
Every shared workspace is different, and every workspace community is different. Some spaces are informal and casual, while others are more traditional business spaces. Workspace staff should have a good understanding of the community in your space and its unique culture. This way, events, communications and connections are relevant to members and aligned with the culture of the space.

The Sunnyvale Pacific Workplace has a lot of mature, established businesses, including attorneys, financial planners and CPAs, as well as startup members in the coworking area. For her community, Campbell has found that members prefer surprise socials and traditional holiday socials to regular networking events, such as weekly happy hour.

“The socials give them something to look forward to without burning them out,” she says.

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space High Tea Member Event
Coworking members of Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale enjoy ‘High Tea.’

8. Celebrate the Diversity in Your Workspace
Shared workspaces, including those with a lot of private offices, cater to a diverse array of professionals and personality types. Make sure all your members, regardless of what they do, where they’re from, who they are, and whether they’re introverted or extroverted, feel welcome in your space.

“We go the whole nine yards with celebrations,” says Campbell. For example, the team decorated the entire common area for the community’s Cinco de Mayo social. “It seems over the top, but members love it.”

For one social, a member prepared dosa, which is an Indian pancake that’s rolled like a taco. For an upcoming Culture of Celebration day in the space, Campbell encourages members to walk in another person’s shoes by wearing traditional clothing from a culture different from one’s own.

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Shared Workspace Dosa Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale coworker and Community Coordinator Lauren making dosas.

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Shared Workspace Cinco de Mayo Member Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Shared Workspace Cinco de Mayo Event.

9. Greet Members, Clients and Guests
When the workspace staff greets office members, coworking members, clients and guests, they set a tone of welcoming and belonging. Campbell says she focuses on making sure whoever is in the space feels comfortable, relaxed and welcome.

“Whoever walks in the door,” says Campbell, “is greeted with a smile and asked if they want coffee.”

10. Get Members Invested in the Safety and Wellness of the Space
Creating community in a shared workspace means that members look out for one another and they care about the space. This is a benefit to members and the community as a whole. As one Pacific Workplaces team member explained, “We don’t need a security guard because we have 300 security guards.”

11. Communicate with Office Members and Coworking Members
Communication is key to building community. This communication can be via email, in-person conversations, flyers in the space, whiteboard notices, etc.

“We have constant reminders about things,” says Campbell. “When members walk in the door, we remind them that we have a social coming up and we encourage them to take out their phone and put it on their calendar so they don’t forget. We do have some introverted members who are very shy, and we have some coworking members who work from midnight to 7 a.m., so we make a point of letting them know we have a social coming up and asking them to join us.”

12. Engage New Members
Existing office members of a shared workspace likely already know how and when to connect with people in the space. New members may need a little guidance. If there’s an event or other community gathering in the space Campbell makes a point of reminding new and established members, in-person, that something’s taking place. NextSpace Santa Cruz, a coworking space powered by Pacific Workplaces, has a chime that community managers ring whenever there’s an event, speaker or happy hour in the space. This way, everyone, including new members, is made aware of any gatherings or events.

13. Community-building at Lunchtime
People are busy, and members of shared workspaces, whether private office members or coworking members, are busy and focused on their own businesses. But everyone has to eat, so lunchtime is a good time to invite members of the community to connect. This way, members who can’t stay in the space for an evening event can still network and connect with fellow members.

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space Soup Day Member Event
Soup Day Event during the lunch hour at Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space

14. Encourage Informal Networking Conversations
Informal group conversations can lead to network connections, referrals and closer connections between community members. Campbell advises simply engaging people in a conversation in the common area. These conversations often grow into what she describes as “informal round table discussions.”

“I’ll just keep the dialogue going,” Campbell says. “That’s how most of our discussion and networking happens.”

15. Create a Comfortable Environment
If your workspace is comfortable and inviting, office members and coworking members will want to spend time in it. Greet people, make human connections and introduce community members. The community manager sets the tone in a shared workspace and they are key to cultivating community—especially in spaces with a high concentration of private offices. There’s no reason office members can’t be as engaged in a workspace community as coworking members are.

“Create a professional environment,” says Campbell, “but make sure it has a cohesive feeling where everybody is nice and everybody is saying hello.”

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space Member Community
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Community Manager Lori, and Community Coordinator Lauren (both wearing reindeer ears), set the tone for a vibrant and welcoming member community.

Learn how to join the CloudVO family of nearly shared workspaces around the globe at CloudVO.com. Partnering is free and easy.

About CloudVO

CloudVO  is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide.