14 Ways Coworking Spaces Can Build Community Over the Holidays

The holidays are upon us, in our homes and in our workplaces. If the traditional office holiday party elicits a been-there-done-that sort of feeling, we encourage our CloudVO partners and friends to shake things up with events and projects that build community both inside and outside of your space.

Here are 14 tips for spreading holiday cheer and giving back to your community inspired by the community managers from our sister company, Pacific Workplaces (PAC).

1. Potluck Lunch
Keep things low-key with a potluck lunch. Invite employees and members to join and have each person bring something. This is a great addition to any of the other events, drives, or contests you’re planning to hold in your space. It’s the perfect opportunity to bring members together to enjoy food and chat. Themes can be around a specific holiday or just to celebrate your community.

Pacific Workplaces Oakland Holiday Potluck Event

2. Charitable Drive
This holiday season, several PAC locations are hosting charitable drives for clothing, food, coats and jackets, sleeping bags, blankets, toys, monetary donations, socks and more. The East Bay spaces have a competition to see who can collect the most food donations for the local food bank, the San Mateo location is holding a relief drive for those affected by the California wildfires, and Greenhaven is doing a blood drive.

Pacific Workplaces Oakland Food Bank Drive Holidays 2018

The Sacramento Capitol location is doing a donation drive for My Sister’s House, an organization that helps women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking by providing a safe haven, job training, and community services.

Pacific Workplaces Sacramento My Sisters House Dontation Drive Holidays 2018

3. Celebrate Member Strides
PAC Sunnyvale is hosting a New Year’s Social and “champagne day” to celebrate members whose businesses have made great strides during 2018. Members of the space have published books, had multiple FDA approvals and landed major accounts, so the community wants to celebrate with them.

4. Workspace Decorating Contest
Bring holiday cheer to your shared workspace by holding a decorating contest. Encourage members to decorate their dedicated desk, meeting room, or office in an effort to win best décor. Winners can be voted on by community managers and the award ceremony can take place during a holiday activity.

5. Gift Wrapping Stations
One of the simple joys of the holiday season is wrapping presents in cheerful paper and ribbons. Make it easy for members to wrap their gifts (and keep them secret) with an in-house wrapping area. Pleasant Hill and Palo Alto PAC teams create gift wrapping stations or rooms for members. PAC provides the wrapping paper, bows, gift tags, tape, hot cider, snacks and holiday music.

6. New Year’s Wish Board
A wish board is a great way for members to participate in something and have it displayed for everyone to see. In preparation for the new year, have members fill out a paper star, snowflake or other design with their 2019 resolutions and anything they’re looking forward to in the next year.

Pacific Workplaces Greenhaven Wish Board for Holidays

7. Ugly Holiday Sweater Day
Spark fun and laughter all day long with an ugly holiday sweater day. This is also the perfect opportunity to snap some pics for social media.

Pacific Workplaces Ugly Sweater Party Holiday Member Event

8. Care Bags
Holiday traditions at NextSpace San Jose include making care bags for the homeless. These bags are filled with everyday essentials, such as socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, snack bars and hygiene items.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Care bags for the homeless member event

9. Secret Santa
A Secret Santa is a fun way to spread holiday cheer. The Bakersfield team makes Secret Santa gift buying easier on members by displaying a poster in the lounge showing all the Secret Santa participants’ names and “Things I Like” underneath each name.

Pacific Workplaces Bakersfield Secret Santa Display Holiday 2018


If you want to add a new twist to your workspace Secret Santa, try doing a “modern” secret Santa where members exchange e-gift cards. No one has to worry about running around and shopping for something. Plus, who doesn’t love Target or Amazon? Tip: You can still draw names the old-fashioned way.

10. Holiday Tree
In Palo Alto, PAC members participate in a group tree decoration and lighting event, complete with popcorn strings, ornaments, tinsel and lights.

11. Gratitude Projects
You may have heard of a gratitude jar, where people write down things they’re grateful for and put them in a jar to be read later. Pacific Workplaces San Mateo is putting a twist on the practice with a Thankful Tree, where members can write what they are thankful for and display as little notes on the tree.

Pacific Workplaces San Mateo Thankful Tree Holidays 2018

12. Cocktail Classes
In San Francisco, PAC VO member company SF Mixology does various cocktail-based events for the space’s annual holiday party. This year, they’re teaching a cocktail class for members.

13. Giving Tree
The San Mateo PAC team has an annual Giving Tree to helps kids in need. The tree has a list of children’s names and what they need (basketball, toothbrush, backpack, etc.). Members can choose a name and supply the requested items.

14. Here Comes Santa
PAC Capitol in Sacramento invites Santa to make an appearance in the space. They have a member who volunteered for Santa duties and they invite parents to bring a small pre-wrapped, pre-labeled gift before the event for Santa to give to their child(ren). It’s a great photo-op and a good way to spread the holiday cheer to members and their families.

However you celebrate the holidays in your workspace and home, be safe and may your days be cheery and bright. Happy Holidays from all of us at CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces.

Ways Coworking Spaces Can Build Community Over the Holidays

Written by   Cat Johnson  and Sasha Bonar.


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 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

CloudVO City Guide: Los Angeles, California

In this CloudVO City Guide series, we are highlighting a few of our shared workspace partners in Los Angeles. The “City of Angels” is famously known as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry, as well as the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. It happens to be one of the most substantial economic powers within the United States, making it a prime location for your distinguished business address, as a headquarters, or for business expansion. L.A. holds a large and diversified market that is making headlines in Silicon Valley in terms of new business growth and tech startups. We are breaking down Los Angeles into a few of its most popular areas: Downtown L.A., Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Glendale.

CloudVO partner, Titan Offices, provides three locations in downtown. One is located at 5455 Wilshire Blvd., offering Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms in a prime spot on Miracle Mile. It’s conveniently within walking distance to several restaurants and cafes, including the “Original Farmers Market”, making it a great location for business meetings.

CloudVO City Guide Los Angeles Titan Offices Meeting Rooms on Wilshire Boulevard

The second one is located at 1055 West 7th Street and offers Virtual Office and Meeting Room solutions for those who wish to work remotely, but maintain the professionalism of having a penthouse in downtown L.A. West 7th Street offers workspaces in the heart of Los Angeles’ financial district. The third location has Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms available at 811 Wilshire Blvd., and is also located in Downtown Los Angeles’ Financial and Central Business District. Both shared workspaces are conveniently situated across from the well-known Staples Center, Convention Center, city courthouses and more. There is also easy access to Interstates 110, 10, and the ever so popular Highway 5,  commonly referred to by locals as “The 5.” A few of the most popular restaurants in the area include SUGARFISH, Tender Greens, and Bottega Louie.

CloudVO City Guide Los Angeles Titan Offices Meeting Rooms 1055 West 7th Street

CloudVO partner, Apollo Business Centers, located in the respected Beverly Hills 90210 area, offers Virtual Office services that allow you to have a business presence in one of the most desirable areas in the country. A Beverly Hills Virtual Office will not only lend credibility to your business, but also reduces overhead costs associated with full-time office space. Another partner in Beverly Hills, California Virtual, provides you with all of the essential tools and services necessary for running a professional business, while giving your company the prestigious corporate image it desires. Our Virtual Office and Meeting Room solutions are ideal for start-up companies, small or home-based businesses, international businesses looking to expand to the U.S., and any company invested in reducing costs while maintaining a professional presence.

CloudVO City Guide Los Angeles California Virtual Beverly Hills Day Office
California Virtual Day Office located in Beverly Hills.

CloudVO partner, IgnitedSpaces Hollywood, offers Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms located on the top floor of 7080 Hollywood Spaces and has spectacular #views. This is home to a dynamic community of entrepreneurs and thriving businesses.  A “radical convergence of workspace and content creation studios,” IgnitedSpaces is a community for brands and artists to leverage their voice for cultural and technological advancement. Another CloudVO partner, 8335 Sunset- West Hollywood, is perfectly located on the iconic Sunset Strip and offers Virtual Offices designed with modern flare.  Members here range from a wide variety of professionals from the entertainment, internet, social networking, and creative entrepreneur sectors. After work, enjoy incredible hotels and restaurants in the area including the very hip Standard Hotel right across the street, which is also a great place to stay. The world-famous Chateau Marmont is next door, and world-class shopping is minutes away.

CloudVO City Guide Los Angeles Ignited Spaces Meeting Rooms

CloudVO partner, Virtuoso Offices, is located in Glendale and offers Virtual Offices within a stunning building that will give your clients a powerful first impression. This building is strategically placed next to high-energy commuter Glenoaks Boulevard giving you quick and easy access to the Ventura Freeway. One of the greatest amenities is the street level and garage parking available at this building. In addition, the immediate area offers tons of fine restaurants and retail stores due to its close proximity to the Glendale Galleria and The Americana at Brand. There are also a wide variety of top-notch golf courses nearby, which makes for a perfect business outing opportunity.

CloudVO City Guide Los Angeles Virtuoso Offices Meeting Rooms

Whether you are looking to make Los Angels the headquarters of your business or you need a professional L.A. address, we have many options that are up to par. Virtual Office plans are available at all of the aforementioned partner locations and offer standard mail services, sophisticated meeting rooms, as well as use of the business address with options to add live phone answering services. Being that Los Angeles is a very high-profile city, it would be an ideal location to have a business address or to hold meetings.

Check us out at  www.CloudVO.com  to list your location for free and become part of an awesome network of operators.


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  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Coworking Supports Mental Wellness, But We Can Do More

Mental illness used to be talked about in hushed voices behind closed doors. It was stigmatized and relegated to fringe conversations. The alarming rise in mental health issues has brought the topic of mental health and overall wellness from the fringes into the mainstream. But we still have work to do around destigmatizing it.

Nearly one in five U.S. adults (44.7 million people) lives with a mental illness. Of those, an estimated 56% don’t receive treatment. People who suffer from mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, often try to manage alone.

CloudVO Blog Coworking and World Mental Health Day Working alone is isolating

Coworking and Wellness
The coworking movement, at large, is making remarkable strides in supporting wellness and connection. Shared workspaces around the world prioritize well-being for members, through fitness programs, on-site yoga, meditation rooms, nap pods, wellness challenges, work-life balance programming and more. Steve King from Emergent Research argues that reducing loneliness is the new value proposition of coworking.

Workplace Wellness Emerges as a Core Theme NextSpace Coworking San Jose Wednesday Walkabout
NextSpace Coworking San Jose members walk to a local lunch spot together each week during their Wednesday Walkabout.
Workplace Wellness Emerges as a Core Theme in Coworking Spaces Treadmill EcosystmSF
Treadmills in coworking spaces to promote wellness in the workplace 

Mental Wellness in Shared Workspaces
There’s a growing notion in our industry that coworking spaces should contribute to our well-being—not just give us a place to work. Coworking is already ahead of traditional workplaces when it comes to member happiness and well-being.

Surveys of coworking space members found that 83% of respondents are less lonely since joining a coworking space; 89% report that they are happier since joining a coworking space; and 79% said coworking has expanded their social networks.

CloudVO Blog Coworking and World Mental Health Day Expand Social Networks
CloudVO Blog World Mental Health Day Coworking Reduces Loneliness

The Power of the Global Workspace Network
We are, as an industry, working to dismantle loneliness, and the growing wellness trend is heartening. The global coworking network is uniquely positioned to respond to member needs. What would it look like if we put the power of our network behind addressing mental well-being? We could do something truly remarkable.

Angel Kwiatkowski, Cat Johnson, Iris Kavanagh - Exhibiting The Power Of Being Vulnerable In A Group | Women Who Cowork
Angel Kwiatkowski, Cat Johnson, Iris Kavanagh – Exhibiting The Power Of Being Vulnerable In A Group | Women Who Cowork

Moves are being made in that direction, with increased focus on wellness at industry conferences, breakout sessions, small industry events and in-space conversations. Space operators are taking mental health first-aid courses, the CheckYoMate movement reminds us to check in on one another, and there’s a growing awareness around destigmatizing mental illness in coworking spaces as part of our movement to dismantle loneliness. But we could be doing more.

World Mental Health Day
October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The objective for the day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

As the website explains, World Mental Health Day “provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.”

CloudVO Blog World Mental Health Day Coworking Creates Collaboration

So let’s talk about it. How do you address mental health in your space? How could members of the global coworking movement better harness the power of our network to bring more mental wellness to coworking? What mental health resources would you like to see, both in your own space and from the global coworking community? Contact us and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

by Cat Johnson, storyteller and content strategist for the coworking movement.

Join our network of 700 locations around the globe. Visit us at   www.CloudVO.com    to list your location for 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  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

The “new work” model

The CloudVO team recently sponsored and attended the 2018 Global Workspace Association (GWA) and NAIOP Flex Office Conference in Austin, Texas.

There were many fantastic presentations on the changing landscape of commercial real estate in this new Workspace-As-Service world.  However, Antony Slumbers, the keynote speaker was particularly impactful.

Flex Office Conference 2018 - Antony Slumbers

Mr. Slumbers laid out his view of the very real, and very rapid changes that are occurring in this latest revolution of work. He shared that the ‘old work’ model of structured, repeated and predictable work tasks will be automated and that 49% of all tasks our workforce currently does, falls under this model and will be automated. The future of work, “new work’ will include tasks that incorporate skills of design, imagination, inspiration, creation, empathy, intuition, innovation and collaboration’.  Our workspaces need to be available to make this new work workable…that is, be places that maximize the productivity of these ‘thought’ workers.

McKinsey quote from Antony Slumbers presentation at GWA Austin 2018

As approximately 70%+ of US workers work for companies with less than 500 people, this means that the corporate mega-headquarters (think of Facebook and Google campuses) are not an option for most workers. Flexible, workspace-as-a-service space need to be ready to cater to the needs of the ‘new workers’.  In fact, Mr. Slumbers tells us that currently 60% of large companies embrace the flexible workspace, outsourced model as an option for some of their space needs.

The trends for continued growth of this model are very favorable as is seen in explosion of sharing economy business models.  People no longer embrace ownership as in the past, they just want access, on their terms. In fact, the very motivation for businesses is not to own an office but to have a productive workforce. Ownership is only required to the extent it enhances the productivity of the employees.  This means, that for those of us operating in the shared services workspace industry…our job is not real estate, it isn’t even hospitality, it is something far more important and action-oriented – it is creating the place that enhances and allows the most productivity of our clients.

The ‘new work’ force actually makes the office more important, but creating the right experience to match the new skills and the new mindset is more complicated.  The success of our businesses will be decided upon which companies best create and curate space and services and are prepared to monitor, measure and shift, nearly on demand, to meet the needs of its clients.

This is exciting stuff, folks!

View Mr. Slumbers’ Keynote slide deck from the conference.


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  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Yes, Working Alone Does, In Fact, ‘Suck’!

I was able to experience recently the truth, for me, at least, that coworking is a very real social/emotional requirement.

I’ve always had an office job with a place and people to go to and see every day.  On occasion, I love the very real privilege of getting to work from home, if for no other reason than a change of pace.  I’ve always been pretty sure that I do not have the personality conducive to regularly working from home – as in, having no office space to go.  If I ever had a doubt about this, I now have none.

Remote Work Has Its Benefits

I recently realized a dream of spending an appreciable amount of time experiencing my favorite city, Edinburgh, Scotland.  I did a Home Exchange for 6 weeks, including the whole month of August – during The Fringe, Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Coworking in Edinburgh Scotland

As COO of CloudVO, online provider of virtual offices, meeting rooms, and coworking spaces, my job has become more and more achievable with just me and my laptop, so I decided that I could manage some extra time working VERY remotely. I swapped houses with an architect and university professor and temporarily ‘moved in.’  (Side note … another amazing option in this sharing economy, house and car swapping.  It’s brilliant!)

Working Remote: The Loneliness Problem

At first, my work/life/vacation balance worked great.  The time difference (8 hours) actually wasn’t much of a problem because I was able to enjoy the sites and delights of Edinburgh with my son during the day and then start work in the afternoon. I’d planned a few days of actual vacation, plus weekends and I was able to also enjoy the Festival and nightlife.

Festival at Edinburgh Scotland and working remote

My problems arose when my son left to start school and I was alone doing activities and alone working. Within only a few days of his departure, I started feeling an uncomfortable depression settle in, I felt stuck – realizing I’m mostly without friends and family, and was unhappy in the place I worked so hard to be.   Finding the energy to do any work that wasn’t mandatory was difficult.  I started thinking I’d made a terrible mistake, that I really couldn’t stand being that unhappy and was looking into options for going home.

Edinburgh Scotland and working remote
Tracy’s homeshare in Edinburgh, Scotland. Cozy but lonely.

Overcoming Loneliness and Isolation through Coworking

Thankfully, my very career held the answer.  I booked myself for a half-day at The Melting Pot, a coworking space I’d worked in on a previous trip.  Honestly, it was nothing short of magical.  Just the initial interactions with the staff, and particularly, Sam, returned me from my emotional teetering off-balance.  ‘I’m not alone’, ‘the world is my oyster’, ‘look at all these nice people working next to me!’

CloudVO Tracy Wilson Coworking at Melting Pot Coworking Space Edinburgh Scotland

When I left the office I was marveling at the activity along Rose Street, the loveliness of the city and relishing my opportunity to be there.  It took less than a week before I needed another ‘fix’ of coworking – but, it was there for me.  Although it meant that I needed to work off hours from my home base in California, I ended up needing the space, the vibe, two more times before my adventure was over.  For some of us, loneliness is real, and coworking can be a solution.


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  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

CloudVO City Guide: Austin, Texas

CloudVO’s City Guide Series continues. Today, we are highlighting our partner location, Executive Workspace (EWS), located in Austin, Texas. Austin is not only the capital of the state of Texas, but it is also known for being the live music capital of the world, home of the Longhorns, The University of Texas, and so much more. We are excited to share more details about these workspaces in Austin, since the CloudVO team is heading to Austin in September for the 2018 FlexOffice Conference! If you are also heading to the conference and are planning to stay an extra few days in the city and need a space to work, be sure to check out these shared workspaces.

CloudVO partner, Executive Workspace, offers a professional, ready-to-work environment, prestigious business address, featuring  fully-equipped meeting rooms and private day offices with high-speed internet. These spaces also offer a friendly administrative team to greet your guests and receive mail and packages, and a community lounge serving coffee, tea, and water. They are equipped with all the amenities necessary for promoting success in a workspace.

CloudVO Partner Executive Workspace in Austin Texas

Luckily, we had a chance to hear first hand from Nick, the Executive Workspaces Austin regional director about these spaces. “One of the, many ☺, great things about Executive Workspace is that we will customize your office needs to fit you. We won’t charge you for services that you don’t intend on using; but we have so many services to choose from! Memberships, phones, mail options, custom office build outs, day office rates, private offices, group offices, conference rooms…. We can do it all.

Our locations are each unique to themselves but have a great culture. Downtown is right in the thick of things. Many of our clients walk or bike to work. It’s a fun floor and everyone gets along. We have people who have officed there for 10+ years, and some who are just starting. One of the great things we see that I really think embodies Austin, is that the clients all help each other. Many end up referring business to one another, or will talk shop in the break room. Our Wild Basin location is beautiful. It’s modern, clean, and some offices have their own private balconies. The building has a live forest and creek in the atrium! If that doesn’t sound like Austin, well, it sounds like Austin.

For me, Austin is a community of friendly people, including business people. Everyone is willing to sit down and have a cup of coffee and discuss what partnerships we can create. I love that about this city. It’s vibrant, innovative and active. My family and I kayak every weekend; this place is beautiful. EWS is creating something to match that culture and environment.”

If Nick doesn’t have you ready to move your business to Austin, here are some more facts: There are two Executive Workspace locations offering virtual office plans and meeting rooms in Austin- Wild Basin and Downtown. All of the meeting rooms available are furnished, beautifully decorated, and include complimentary beverages for you and your guests. These meeting rooms provide a quiet, collaborative environment to host your next meeting, conference, or training session. Other resourceful amenities include Wi-Fi, whiteboards and projectors, state-of-the-art technology and video conferencing equipment.

As we heard from Nick, Wild Basin offers excellent Virtual Office Plans and Meeting Rooms, located in the West Lake Hills across from The Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve in Austin, Texas. Highway 360 is also easily accessible from the Wild Basin location which makes it an ideal spot for anyone traveling to the area due to its convenience.

CloudVO Partner Executive Workspace Wild Basin Meeting Room Austin Texas

Located in the heart of Austin’s Central Business District, the downtown location also offers Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms and is just a few blocks from the Texas State Capitol. This beautiful Austin Virtual Office is an ideal location for anyone wanting a business presence in downtown Austin. Within walking distance is the Courthouse, fine dining restaurants and everything else that downtown Austin has to offer.

CloudVO Partner Executive Workspace Downtown Austin Central Business District

For breakfast and lunch, Bird Bird Biscuit is a fast-casual breakfast- and lunch -only biscuit spot with savory and sweet options. This spot is very unique and Instagram-worthy. For dinner, Arlo Grey is an in-hotel, lakeside eatery that’s open everyday from 5-10PM. This debut restaurant from Top Chef’s Season 10 winner Kristen Kish features her fresh take on classic dishes and techniques using Texas ingredients.

CloudVO City Guide Austin Texas Bird Bird Biscuit

Join the CloudVO team at the Hyatt Regency in Austin for the 2018 FlexOffice Conference. This is a sophisticated hotel on Lady Bird Lake that offers an exceptional location near SoCo, 6th Street and Downtown. The Omni Austin Hotel Downtown is another great option that offers modern comfort and luxury amenities. With either hotel, you’ll be in close proximity to the conference action.  If you are planning to attend, be sure to stop by and say hello to the CloudVO team at our booth!

CloudVO City Guide Austin Texas Hyatt Regency Site of 2018 FlexOffice Conference

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  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Why Women-Focused Coworking is on the Rise: a Conversation with Iris Kavanagh

Not too long ago, female-focused coworking was a whisper from the fringes of the coworking movement. Now it’s a quickly-growing niche of the workspace industry, with new models and spaces popping up regularly around the world.

What’s behind the rise of these spaces? Why do they appeal to women? And how do they fit into a movement rooted in inclusivity?

I chatted with Iris Kavanagh (pictured below), co-founder of Women Who Cowork and founder of Coworking with Iris, about the rise of female-focused space, the importance of supporting women entrepreneurs, and the many branches of the coworking tree. Here are the highlights of our conversation.

Iris Kavanagh | Women Who Cowork
Iris Kavanagh | Women Who Cowork

 
Cat Johnson: What was your first impression of female-focused coworking?

Iris Kavanagh: Hera Hub, a female-focused coworking brand founded by Felena Hanson, opened in 2010. At the time, it seemed like a really interesting concept, but I was one of those people who didn’t understand the value of it. I didn’t understand the purpose of a women-focused coworking space, but I thought it was great that another model of coworking was being created.

I try to be a really inclusive person, and our brand of coworking at NextSpace at the time was to open the doors, let everybody in, and see what happens. That was our philosophy and that’s been my philosophy that I carried forward from there. I think I didn’t pay as much attention to women-focused coworking in the beginning because it didn’t meet a need I had, and I preferred a more inclusive option for people.

Do you still feel like that?

No. My thinking started shifting in 2015. I had a long conversation with a former NextSpace member, a female entrepreneur. She raised a concern that I hadn’t considered before—that NextSpace could have done a better job providing support to female entrepreneurs in those early days—that it really was a man’s club. She pointed out that the resources we provided were sort of vanilla resources. What I understand now is that vanilla means created by, and dominated by, the male business archetype.

That was my first foray into seeing the unique needs of female business owners from the perspective of someone who had been in coworking. Prior to that, I had spent a year and a half in a women’s business coaching program. In a very supportive environment around other female entrepreneurs, I learned a lot about being a woman, and about the unique offerings of women, and that it’s okay to come into a situation with your feminine ways—that you can actually build a business on those feminine ways.

Felicity Maxwell, founder of FiberCove in Austin, Texas | Women Who Cowork
Felicity Maxwell, founder of FiberCove in Austin, Texas | Women Who Cowork

 
I landed in that group coaching program because I had lost my job at NextSpace. I had put my heart and soul into the company. To do that so completely and then to be completely removed from that work I had done, I almost immediately knew that, whatever I did in the future, my kids were going to come first, and I was going to be 100 percent, authentically myself.

At NextSpace I hadn’t been 100 percent myself. I was working for a company that was owned by, and run by, people with pedigrees. They were establishment people and I am highly from the fringes of society, and still skirt the edges. I was the token hippie socialist on the team, so I curtailed a lot of the feelings I would have around the idea of NextSpace having world domination, and all those terms the guys would use.

I came to this idea of female entrepreneurship and female coworking through a journey of my own as a female supporting entrepreneurs, then deciding that I could also be an entrepreneur myself.

I realized I really wanted to start telling the stories of the females in the industry—and there are so many females in this industry. I was able to interview women I really admire, like Ashley Proctor, Nicole Vasquez, Liz Elam, Jamie Russo, Angel Kwiatkowski. The more I did that, the more I got excited about interviewing these women who were creating these amazing experiences and community efforts.

In the last couple of years, we’ve gone from a few women-focused spaces to such a fast-growing movement that it’s getting challenging to keep track of all the female-focused spaces. What are you seeing from your vantage point?

In 2015, when I met Laura Shook Guzman and we decided to work together on Women Who Cowork together, there were just a handful of female-focused spaces. In 2017, more female-focused spaces opened, and some exclusive spaces opened—and there is a difference between the two. We started to notice a trend and that trend got a lot of pushback from people who would say that it’s not inclusive and if it’s women-only then you’re excluding men. There was a pretty big learning curve for people around that idea.

Women Who Cowork retreat
Women Who Cowork retreat

 
My thinking around it is that coworking is only continuing to branch and broaden. We started with a trunk of the coworking movement, and from that trunk have come all these branches that look very different from that original movement. The original Citizen Space in San Francisco is very different from your typical Galvanize, and yet it’s all coworking.

If you can have a space that’s exclusive to writers, why can’t you have a space that’s exclusive to women? I also really recognize the need for women to gather in a space for women. Statistics show that women do better in an environment that’s predominantly female because we feel safer about making mistakes and not knowing everything we don’t know.

2018 is an explosion of women opening spaces—coworking spaces, in general, and female-focused coworking spaces. My take is that this is part of a sea change of female leadership across the globe. Women are no longer sidelined in the business world. We are creating our world of business now. And it will be inclusive, because we are inclusive. It will be more inclusive than any of the traditional spaces have been because we will include things like childcare, and we will include opportunities for minorities and other females, because that’s what we do—we think of the village and not just ourselves.

What does it mean to you for a space to be female-focused?

Felena said it best. When she talks about the difference between female-focused and female-only. The idea behind Hera Hub is that it’s designed for women to feel comfortable. That doesn’t mean it’s just pretty—it also means that there are opportunities, in different ways. The kitchen is well-designed, not just a last-minute, thrown together aspect of the space. The environs are pleasing to enter into, they’re pleasing to sit in, they’re pleasing to experience.

We know that people do better when they work in an environment that is designed to enhance the human experience in the environment. So, when Felena talks about Hera Hub’s spa-like environment, she’s referring to a calming, well-designed environment that’s designed to help you stay in your parasympathetic nervous system and work in a nurturing and supportive environment.

Angel Kwiatkowski, Cat Johnson, Iris Kavanagh - Exhibiting The Power Of Being Vulnerable In A Group | Women Who Cowork
Angel Kwiatkowski, Cat Johnson, Iris Kavanagh – Exhibiting The Power Of Being Vulnerable In A Group | Women Who Cowork

 
The traditional coworking space caters to the women who can work anywhere—who feel comfortable in a room full of men. It’s great that we can have a supportive environment for women who, for whatever reason, don’t excel in a room full of men so they can also experience an environment that nurtures and supports entrepreneurs and meets them at their need level.

A majority of those women are probably not doing business ventures that men would consider traditionally viable. Women are opening businesses all over that are coming from their feminine, and their female experience.

Do you want to speculate about where this is all going? What’s the future of women-focused spaces?

In general, coworking is going to continue to fill a niche for a while until we reach the point where coworking is a household term. I do think that more and more women-focused spaces are going to open up because there’s a need for it. There’s a need for women to feel like we can be business owners, and child-rearers, and women all at the same time.

It took me having that conversation with my entrepreneur friend in 2015 and identifying my own needs as a female business owner to really understand why female-focused spaces are important. My hope is that through the MeToo movement, and the women’s equality movement, and through this aspect of our own industry, that we will reach equilibrium and come to a point where a woman-focused coworking space isn’t seen as a negative thing and maybe isn’t even necessarily needed as much as it is needed today.

What are your thoughts on the pushback around exclusivity in female-focused spaces—that it’s not coworky?

Feminism became a dirty word for a lot of people in the ‘70s—they assumed it meant you were somehow less of a woman if you identified as a feminist, or you were a man-hater. We have to stop making these zero-sum qualifiers. Just because women need a place to be where they feel supported by other women does not mean they’re excluding men from their lives overall.

A lot of clubs and organizations have been men-focused for a very long time. In order to be accepted into those organizations, women have had to become more male-identified. For women to have serious business clubs, like a coworking space, in which we can take ourselves seriously and be taken seriously, provides us the opportunity to continue to be ourselves, and come to the table with our strengths, and do so without the fear of condescension because we don’t know something. In a co-ed environment, women have less tendency to speak up because we’re taught not to speak up.

Girls do better in all-girl schools and women do better in women-focused environments because, generally speaking, we’re not going to rile each other for asking “stupid” questions.

In the male-dominated world, there are only a few slots for women, so those spots become competitive and women end up competing against other women for those spots. Then you have the sisterhood glass ceiling. In a female-focused environment, there is no sisterhood glass ceiling because we’re not competing—we can be our naturally collaborative selves.

Women Who Cowork unconference session at GCUC, USA 2017
Women Who Cowork unconference session at GCUC, USA 2017

 

by Cat Johnson, a content strategist, 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 operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

CloudVO City Guide: SoHo Manhattan – New York

In today’s CloudVO City Guide Series, we are taking a closer look at a workspace in Lower Manhattan, specifically South of Houston Street, commonly known as SoHo. This area is located in the southernmost part of Manhattan and is the central borough for business, culture, and government. When looking to conduct business from this sought-after location – we’ve got you covered with our CloudVO partner, The Farm.

If you are searching for an affordable New York coworking space with meeting rooms, day office, and a training room in the heart of SoHo, look no further. The Farm SOHO is a beautiful, spacious facility filled with natural light and uniquely organic designed interior. There’s also a pretty cool backstory to this one-of-a-kind shared workspace; the building is actually an age-weathered barn transported from the farmlands of southern Missouri to New York City and was built entirely by hand. Its purpose now is to provide for the needs of the community of innovators and entrepreneurs that call ‘The Farm’ home. If you’re interested in mail or phone services at this location, Virtual Office Plans start at just $55.00 per month.

The Farm Soho Coworking Memberships and Virtual Office Plans

This is the perfect place to boast as your business address or to hold your next business meeting when in SoHo. Lower Manhattan is widely known for its many artists’ lofts and art galleries, as well as its variety of trendy upscale shops and boutiques. You will enjoy all these perks when conducting business at The Farm.  

The Farm Soho Meeting Rooms and Venue Space

When it comes to places to stay in SoHo, there are some great options. A few of the most popular are: The Crosby Street Hotel, known for its great service and offers a private leafy garden, guest drawing room and a gym; The Arlo SoHo, a hip and trendy lifestyle boutique hotel with phenomenal views from their rooftop terrace and garden that also hosts a bar; SIXTY SoHo Hotel is another popular option and is known to be luxurious and often offers great deals on rates.

The Arlo Soho front entrance

The Arlo Soho rooftop terrace

For breakfast and lunch, the Cupping Room Café is well known and has been voted “Best Brunch Spot in SoHo” (serves brunch until 4pm!). If you’re planning a business dinner, the Lure Fishbar (sushi and seafood) and Mercer Kitchen (American and French) are two of the trendiest spots around.

Mercer Kitchen Soho Manhattan New York

If you’re in the area on business or for pleasure and need a space to spark creativity, The Farm SoHo is the ideal workspace and will not disappoint. Situated within walking distance of shopping centers, banks, hotels, restaurants and bars, this is an excellent location. Local public transportation gives easy access to everything that New York City has to offer. Join us for a unique workspace experience at The Farm SoHo.

Not a CloudVO partner yet? Join our growing network of 700 locations around the globe. Visit us at:  www.CloudVO.com  to list your location for 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   CloudMeetingRooms.com     and   CloudVirtualOffice.com    e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

How to Use Coworking Day Passes to Generate Leads (and Why You Should)

As a coworking space operator, you’d rather have someone become a member than buy a day pass. But, from the perspective of a potential member, a day pass is an easy way to retain flexibility and test drive a space before deciding on the right one.

That’s a good thing. When someone works in your space for a day, you have an opportunity to impress them, showcase your space and community, and move them further down your sales funnel toward potentially becoming a member.

Coworking Day Passes to Generate Leads NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz First Friday Special Day Pass

Coworking Day Passes are one of the most powerful lead generation tools you have. Yes, they can generate some revenue, but if you’re thinking of day passes primarily as a revenue stream, you’re missing out on their most valuable aspect.

I spoke with CloudVO CEO, Laurent Dhollande, and NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Senior Community Manager, Maya Delano, about using day passes to attract leads and drive membership. Here are the key takeaways and best tips from our conversation.

Make it Easy to Purchase a Day Pass.

Don’t overcharge for day passes because you’re not doing it to make money—you’re using it as lead generation. You want people to come back.

Leverage Channels

Leverage channel partners, such as CloudVO, to sell day passes. This way, you make it easy for people to purchase a day pass online, you expose people to your brand, and you can attract people from outside of the area. Once someone has purchased a pass, they’re already invested in your space.

Sell Monthly Day Pass Subscriptions

Selling a single day pass is fine, but then you only see the person once, and maybe for only a few hours. A day pass subscription that renews each month is a better way to bring people into the space and community. The day pass holder gets more interaction with the community and sees that the vibe in the space can be different depending on the day and time. They can attend different events and experience the natural ebb and flow of energy in the space.

Day pass subscriptions, such as the Pacific Workplaces 3-Day Monthly Pass option, let people who may not be ready for full-time membership get a toe in the water and experience coworking in a meaningful way.

Using Day Passes to Generate Leads Pacific Workplaces Coworking Membership Plans

Move People from Day Pass User to Subscriber

As mentioned above, a membership subscription is more valuable to both the space operator and the customer than one-off day passes. They get a better value and the space gets recurring income. Once someone is a subscriber, you can move them to full membership when the time is right because they’re already in the space and a member of the community.

Price Day Pass Subscriptions Aggressively

Make subscription plans as enticing as possible, whether it’s for day passes or meeting room hours. Subscribers may not use as many days or hours as they think they might each month, so you can sell more hours or space than you have. Dhollande compares it to a gym membership. Everyone doesn’t show up at the same time and, while some members go regularly, others retain membership so they can use it when they want or need to.

Strategically Give Away Day Passes

Complimentary day passes can be strategically given to people and groups in your target market. This includes freelancers, remote workers, independent professionals, and startups. The idea is to invite people to come in and get a sense of the space, let them experience coworking then, ideally, convert them into a membership package or other products, such as meeting room time or day office rental.

“I don’t give day passes to just anybody,” says Delano. “If someone comes in and didn’t have enough time for a tour, or if I feel like they’d be a really good fit for the space, I give them an incentive to come back.”

Delano, who estimates that she converts 60 percent of day pass users into members, explains that she physically puts a day pass in their hand. “That way,” she says, “it’s an experience versus just clicking something online.”

Make it Easy for Members to Purchase Day Passes

When members of your space bring in guests, and if they stay for longer than a meeting, they should purchase a day pass. Make it easy for your members to inexpensively secure guest day passes for visitors.

Invite Day Pass Users to Events

Events in your space can also be powerful lead generators and member magnets. At NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz, the weekly Friday Happy Hour is a lively event that attracts new members, longtime members, potential members and the extended community. This is a great way to introduce leads to the community and culture of your space. Events also give leads an opportunity to ask more questions about the space and offerings.

Using Day Passes to Generate Leads NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Happy Hour

Give Day Passers a Great Experience in Your Space

“Once a day passer is here,” says Delano, “it’s my job to make sure they’re meeting people throughout the day, they’re getting on the internet, they’re seeing what coworking is, and they’re getting introduced to the community as soon as possible.”

Delano adds that she wants day pass users to see that the NextSpace community is something special, which encourages potential members to join. “By the end of the day,” she says, “if someone really wants to work here, they’re going to sign up.”

Track Day Pass Users

Make sure you have a way of tracking day pass users so you can more easily convert them to a subscription package or full membership. If a day passer comes in frequently, let them know about membership options that make better financial sense than just purchasing one-off day passes.

“By tracking day pass users, I can offer them a membership that’s a better fit for them,” says Delano. It allows me to see who could potentially go to the next membership level and maybe save a little money.”

Use Day Passes for Donations

Day passes make good donations for local organizations and events. They introduce people to the space and brand without a lot of extra work for the workspace team.

“It’s promotion and a lot less to onboard,” says Delano. “The day pass is low impact on me and high impact out in the world.”

By Cat Johnson, content strategist  and coworking member of NextSpace in Santa Cruz, CA.

Not a CloudVO partner yet? We would love to add you to our growing network of 700 locations around the globe. Visit us at www.CloudVO.com  to list your location for 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   CloudMeetingRooms.com     and   CloudVirtualOffice.com    e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Workplace Wellness Emerges as a Core Theme of GCUC 2018

No longer a side conversation in the shared workspace industry, workplace wellness is now front and center. From small, neighborhood coworking spaces to scaled workspace brands with dozens (or more) of locations, workplace wellness is here.

Wellness was a core theme of GCUC 2018 in New York City last week. Wellness was covered in stage talks and panels, unconference sessions, planned breakout sessions and casual lobby chats.

Global Coworking Unconference Conference 2018 Opening Session

And it’s not all about warm and fuzzy, feeling good stuff. Workplace wellness contributes to productivity, long-term health, mental health, fitness levels, social connection and more.

Here are some of our favorite workplace wellness takeaways from GCUC 2018:

Think of the ways you can create wellness in your workspace. People should feel better when they walk in your door.

Design is important, but what matters is the people in your space. If they’re not happy and well, their work and your community will suffer.

It’s not enough to have a few yoga classes. You need to actively engage your community around personal and community wellness.

You can earn WELL Certification for your workspace to demonstrate that you put your people first. WELL Certification looks at seven areas: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind to assess the wellness factor of your space.

Workplace Wellness Emerges as a Core Theme in Coworking Spaces Treadmill EcosystmSF
During a visit to Ecosystm Coworking Space, we noticed members can get their heart rate pumping while staying productive on the treadmill.
Workplace Wellness in Coworking Spaces Pacific Workplaces San Mateo Courtyard
Pacific Workplaces San Mateo courtyard with wifi allows members to enjoy fresh air outdoors

Industrial chic is old news. Fabulous architecture and design are beginning to take a backseat to having a space with clean air, ergonomic furniture, standing and walking desks, natural light, healthy food, access to fitness services and a sense of comfort.

Workplace Wellness Emerges as a Core Theme NextSpace Coworking Berkeley standing desk
Standing desks plus lots of natural light at NextSpace Coworking Berkeley.

We’re facing a loneliness epidemic. Shared workspaces are nicely positioned to help dismantle loneliness, but space operators need to prioritize community building. It’s not a buzzword, it’s not something you commoditize and scale, it takes authentic connection day in and day out.

Workplace Wellness Emerges as a Core Theme NextSpace Coworking San Jose Wednesday Walkabout
NextSpace Coworking San Jose members walk to a local lunch spot together each week during their Wednesday Walkabout.

Mental illness needs to be talked about openly and honestly in shared workspaces. Depression and anxiety alone, two common forms of mental illness, are prevalent with young people, startups, independent freelancers and older professionals alike.

If you’re designing for magazines, you’re missing the point. Make sure your workspace is designed for humans, from the layout and desks to quiet areas, seating arrangements you can move around to keep things fresh.

You presumably have women in your workspace, but how woman-friendly is your space? Amenities including breast milk pumping rooms and feminine hygiene products in the restroom go a long way in making your female members feel supported and included.

Coworking spaces are about connections, community, people. Make sure you prioritize workplace wellness for the members of your space.

Workplace Wellness in Coworking Spaces Pacific Workplaces Palo Alto Community Members
Pacific Workplaces Palo Alto community members just enjoying being together.

Leave a  comment below about what you’re doing specifically to promote wellness in your coworking space.

Not a CloudVO partner yet? We would love to add you to our growing network of 700 locations around the globe. Visit us at:  www.CloudVO.com  to list your location for free.

By Cat Johnson, content strategist and coworking member of NextSpace in Santa Cruz, CA.


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   CloudMeetingRooms.com     and   CloudVirtualOffice.com    e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.