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.


CloudVO ‘In it to Win It’ at The 2019 Office Evolution Franchisee Conference

This year’s Office Evolution Franchisee Work Empowered™ Conference was themed, In it to Win It!
Amanda Leffew, CloudVO’s Director of Operations and Tracy Wilson their COO, were delighted to participate in this week’s two-day extravaganza. Office Evolution’s ‘Base Camp’ is in Colorado, so we were fortunate to join the annual gathering of operators in the Rocky Mountain city of Denver.

CloudVO Sponsor Booth at Office Evolution Conference 2019

CloudVO was among a handful of industry sponsors at the event. Office Evolution, through its franchisee program, has grown to be the 5th largest shared office operator in the United States. They expect to continue double-digit annual center growth trajectory into the future. We appreciate their partnership and are happy to grow our relationship as they grow their vibrant business.

Tracy participated on a panel Leveraging the Power of Partners to discuss the importance of building and maintaining solid industry partnerships to increase the number of virtual office, meeting room and coworking clients and to help grow revenue.  She and Amanda also hosted roundtable discussions on CMRA Best Practices.

Tracy Wilson COO of CloudVO Panel Discussion Office Evolution Conference 2019
Tracy Wilson (furthest left), COO of CloudVO, on a panel discussion about leveraging partnerships within the Coworking & Flexible Office Industry

Office Evolution’s culture and values tie in perfectly with that of CloudVO’s. Theirs are: Respect, Win-Win, Ohana, and Authenticity. We couldn’t agree more. These are values that make for a solid business operation.  CloudVO is honored to be a part of Office Evoluiton’s extended Ohana.

Office Evolution Conference 2019 Denver Colorado Opening Session
CloudVO Panel Discussion Office Evolution Conference 2019

CloudVO offers free resources specifically for workspace operators. Visit   www.CloudVO.com   to partner with us and join our global network of 750 workspace operators. 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.

7 Yelp Quick Wins for Coworking Space Operators

Should Yelp be part of your coworking space marketing?

Maybe.

Yelp can be a valuable tool to generate membership leads, meeting room rentals, day passes and office rentals. Or, it may not be right for your space and town. Determine whether you’re in a market that relies on Yelp for reviews and searches. If so, it’s worthwhile to fill out your Yelp business profile, at the very least.

If you have the budget and market for it, you can make Yelp part of your marketing plan. Dig into your cost per acquisition and align that with the cost per click of a Yelp ad campaign. 

Start small, measure results, test, adjust and grow your ad campaign.
If you don’t have the budget for Yelp ads, there are several things you can do to have a presence on the platform and increase the chance of people finding your space. Here are seven quick wins to get started.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Spaces | CloudVO Resources for Space Operators

1. Fill Out Your Yelp Profile

First things first, fill out your profile. The more detailed the better. 

The Yelp algorithm is sophisticated and it’s not going to serve up results to a half-baked profile with no helpful information. The platform exists to help people find quality products and services. Make it clear that you’ve taken the steps to help users—and the Yelp algorithm—understand you and your workspace offerings.

2. Include Photos and Update Them Regularly

Make sure you include photos of your space, community, and different products and services in your profile. Then update those photos regularly. Photos are one of the most popular features of Yelp listings, so give searchers and Yelp fresh images of your space, your community, your events, your offices and your team.

Pro tip: Use keywords to name your images, rather than some generic image file name like IMG_2345.png.

3. Show The Humans

This point deserves reiterating. In your photos, be sure to show Yelp users who is in your space. Meeting rooms all start to look the same—no matter how nice they are. 

The thing that differentiates you from the other workspaces in your area is your community. Make sure your photos and description reflect the humans in your space.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Spaces | NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Yelp Images

4. Encourage Reviews

Customer reviews are an important aspect of building your brand. Encourage satisfied users of your space to leave a Yelp review about their experience.

Yelp is strict about not aggressively soliciting reviews. However, we’ve all seen those signs on counters and front windows encouraging people to find the establishment on Yelp. 

This goes hand-in-hand with encouraging day passers, members, day office users and virtual mail members to leave a positive review when they have a positive experience.

5. Use Target Keywords

Use target keyword phrases throughout your Yelp profile and descriptions. 

When writing the copy for your space, get your target keywords front and center— Yelp looks at the first 8-10 words used in the specialties section as keywords. If you have private offices, or meeting room space available in San Diego, make sure that “office rental in San Diego” and “meeting room rental in San Diego” are at the beginning of your description.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Space Operators Benefits of Keywords

Pro tip: Target keywords should be top-of-mind across all of your content. If you’re marketing online, and you’re not being strategic about how you use keywords, you’re missing a huge opportunity to boost your results on Google, YouTube, Yelp and everything else.

6. Respond to Comments and Reviews – Especially Negative Ones

Responding to a negative review is an incredible opportunity to turn someone from a dissatisfied user into a brand advocate. 

Find a way, when possible and reasonable, to make things right with them. This not only shows a dedication to members and people in your space, it reflects your brand values for anyone who reads the review today and down the road.

7. Let the Yelp Team Help

Yelp representatives have a reputation for being very persistent in trying to sell you ads. Whether or not you decide to run ads on the platform, let the representative help you optimize your description and profile. They know all the ins and outs of the platform and can help you make the most of it. Also be sure to leverage the Yelp Support Center for Business Owners that also contains a wealth of helpful information.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Space Operators Business Owners Support Center

Do you use Yelp to market your workspace? What are your best tips? We’d love to hear from you. Contact the team and let us know.

Looking for more resources related to social media? On October 16th, CloudVO Marketing Director Karina Patel is co-hosting, along with Coworking Content founder Cat Johnson, an Advanced Instagram Training to market your coworking space. Register here.

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


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.


3 Reasons to Use Videos to Streamline Coworking Member Onboarding

CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Member Onboarding

Joining a coworking space or shared office can be a game changer for independent professionals, freelancers, remote workers and teams.

The benefits of coworking are many, from increased productivity and connection, to in-house amenities, meeting rooms, media production facilities and event programming.

Joining a space and community, however, can be disorienting initially. New members have to round a learning curve that includes software, facilities, rules, norms and culture.

Helping people transition smoothly into workspace membership is an important part of being a community manager; but community managers are busy doing all the things that keep a space humming along, so tools that help them do their job more efficiently are always welcome.

Onboarding videos are an efficiency tool that help space operators as well as members who receive a lot of information at the same time during the onboarding process. Videos can cover topics such as how to connect to the printer, booking a meeting room, creating a member profile and using in-space tools, such as an electronic whiteboard.

Here are three reasons to use orientation videos to streamline your onboarding process.

1. Efficiency

It makes sense for a community manager to help a new member feel welcome, introduce them to other members, give them a tour of their new coworking space and help them ease into the community.

It does not make sense for a community manager to take every new member through a play-by-play of connecting to the printer, how to login to their member portal, or booking a meeting room. The time taken doing these repeating tasks is time taken away from engaging with the community. Automating this process with a video helps community managers do their job more efficiently.

CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding Member Portal
CloudVO partner and sister company Pacific Workplaces orientation video on how to navigate the member portal.

2. Value

A nice orientation video delivers immediate value to members and gives a good first impression of the space and brand. 

Short videos give members the information they need to complete the onboarding process visually, as opposed to reading lengthy emails or documents with instructions. They also demonstrate the space operators’ commitment to making membership easy and convenient.

CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding How to Book A Meeting Room
2-minute video on how to book a meeting room.

3. Showcase your space and community

Settling into a new space takes time. However, you can help new members fast-track their understanding of the norms, culture and values of your coworking community with videos.

Consider creating a library of videos that answer commonly-asked questions about everything from connecting to wifi and using meeting room screens, to making coffee and hosting a lunch and learn. 


CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding Member Portal for Pacific Workplaces
Pacific Workplaces new member onboarding orientation video library.

These help showcase your community and your workspace values. The videos can be fun and engaging, while highlighting features of your space for new members from day one.

Videos that help members onboard easily and efficiently can only help to strengthen engagement and retention.


CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding Pacific Workplaces Values and Culture Video


Cat Johnson is a writer, content strategist, teacher and coworking space member. She blogs about coworking at catjohnson.co.

Partner with us and get free resources specifically for workspace operators. Listing is free. Go to   www.CloudVO.com   to learn how to join our global network of 750 workspace 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 grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 750 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

A Survival Guide for Coworking Conferences: A Workspace Operator’s Playbook

Over the last five years, I’ve been to eight coworking conferences and dozens of coworking-related events, meetups and retreats. I’ve covered these events for various publications, I’ve given presentations, moderated panels, participated in unconference sessions, created content for the events, set up tables and even re-potted centerpiece plants for one.

Coworking conferences provide resources for operators and valuable insight into the workspace industry. They also serve to strengthen and grow the community of coworking space operators, which is remarkably close-knit. Flexspace operators, workspace owners and community managers, industry service providers and coworking movement pioneers all gather at these events to share ideas, resources and best practices.

Here are my best tips for surviving–and thriving–at a coworking conference.

Global Coworking Unconference Conference Opening Session

Before the Conference

Know who will be there

Take a look ahead of time at the people attending the conference. It’s challenging, in a sea full of people all wearing little badges, to know who is who. Take time to get a sense of who will be there and who you’d like to connect with. 

Make contact ahead of time

Reach out to people and let them know you’re interested in connecting. Give them some context about why you’re interested in talking with them.

Schedule must-have meetings in advance

Don’t wait until the conference to try to schedule time with someone. Set up a coffee, breakfast or meeting in advance of the conference.

Set your intentions

What will make the conference a great success for you? What would you like to learn? Who would you like to connect with? What would you like to leave with? Get clear about your intentions in advance.

Bring business cards

I find that the only time people ask for my business card is when I don’t have them. Be sure to bring some cards along so you’re prepared when the moment comes.

Get social in advance

Before the event, get active on social media using the event hashtags. Mention that you’ll be attending, connect with other attendees, and start conversations around hot topics. This will help you make connections and generate interest in the event.

During the Conference

Be human

No one wants to be spammed at a conference. Show up as you, be real, focus on making genuine connections.

GCUC2016_JamieRussoBeckyandLD_2

Ride the social momentum

Once the event has started, take advantage of the social media momentum. People will be using the event hashtag to share quotes, thoughts, feedback and photos. Join the conversations. Twitter and Instagram are particularly good platforms for conferences.

Participate

Don’t be a conference wallflower. Get in there and participate. Introduce yourself to people, share generously of your experience and ideas, and take part in as much of the event as you can.

CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Global Workspace Association Conference

Ask questions

Now is not the time to sit back and pretend you know everything. Now is the time to ask questions, keep an open mind and learn. Everyone there has something to teach you, even if they’re a brand new space operator. Plan to leave the conference knowing more than you did when you arrived.

Take notes

You think you’ll remember everything you’re hearing and experiencing, but you won’t. Take notes throughout the conference. When you get home, you’ll be glad to have a record of highpoints, things to research, and people to connect with. Most venues have wifi access, but don’t count on it. Have an offline option on your laptop, or keep it simple and just take a notebook.

Talk to vendors

Now is the time to learn about all the products and services available to level-up your coworking space and operations. Get to know the vendors, ask them questions about what they offer, and don’t worry about being sold at. I know many of the coworking conference vendors and most of them are in this business because they truly believe in coworking and they want you to succeed.

CloudVO Booth at Global Coworking Unconference Conference Denver

Don’t try to do everything

If you race around trying to do everything, you’ll likely miss the most valuable things. Go to the panels and presentations that most resonate with you. You can’t take it all in, so don’t try. If you’re in the middle of an engaging, important conversation, then by all means, continue it. Don’t rush off to the next thing if you’re making a great connection.

Be present

Conferences can be exhausting. Do your best to be present in whatever you’re doing, whether that’s listening to a presentation, having lunch with colleagues, or making new connections at a happy hour.

Charge up

Access to power is almost always an issue at conferences. Charge up your devices, use power when you have access to it—even if you’re not particularly low at the time. If you tend to use your gadgets a lot at events, bring a portable charger.

Take care of yourself

At some point during every conference, I burn out. It’s hard to be mentally, physically and emotionally present for days on-end. When this happens, I usually go outside and walk around for a bit. Be sure to take care of yourself during the conference. Don’t worry about missing out on a panel, or skipping a group lunch. Take time to refresh and decompress. Doing so will improve your whole conference experience.

Connect with industry leaders

Conferences are one of the best ways to connect with industry leaders. Workspace pioneers, visionaries and game-changers are all there to connect, learn and share. Take advantage of the easy access you’ll have to speakers, sponsors, industry insiders and your workspace colleagues.

Global Coworking Unconference Conference Panel Discussion New York 2018

After the Conference

Get organized

After the conference, take time to organize your contacts and todos. Who do you need to reach out to? What do you need to research? Which items do you need to take action on? 

Be speedy

Follow-up with people within a few days. This keeps the conversation fresh and, let’s face it, if you don’t connect within a few days, you’re probably not going to reach out at all.

Implement what you’ve learned

Hopefully you’re now full of ideas and insights. How will you implement and incorporate them into what you’re doing? Create clear strategies to put your conference experience into action.

Share your experience

What were your big takeaways from the conference? What was your experience? What went well? What would you like to see in the future? Share your thoughts and ideas in a blog post, on social media, or in online groups. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s takeaways and your insights help conference producers make improvements for the next one.

Cat Johnson is a writer, teacher and content strategist. She blogs about coworking at catjohnson.co.

CloudVO is looking forward to seeing you at the 2019 Global Workspace Association Conference on September 18th in Washington, D.C. Let us know of any conference tips you would like to share!


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.


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

In the past week, I’ve watched a dozen or so 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 sbdc

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.


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.


8 Ways Coworking Communities Can Make Positive Local Impact

Coworking spaces are nicely positioned to make a positive impact on members. From helping people level up their business to creating communities of mutual support and friendship, coworking can be a game-changer.

Spaces and communities can also make an impact on their broader local community. From supporting local organizations to partnering with neighborhood businesses, here are eight ways your coworking community can make a positive local impact.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Carebags for the homeless 2019

1. Support Neighborhood Businesses

Get to know your neighbors and find ways to support them.

“Relationships are everything,” says NextSpace San Jose Community Manager Julie Kodama. “It’s so important to be engaged with the community. Whether that’s checking out the new cookie shop or doing group lunches at local restaurants. There’s a reason when the mayor came to speak here all the food was donated from local eateries.”

Kodama explains that when daypassers come into NextSpace, she can recommend places to eat and they’re all places she and the community have been. Kodama then turns to neighboring businesses when she throws an event, needs catering, coffee or anything else in her space.

“If they’re good, and you continue to patronize them, you will build up a relationship.”

2. Be a Connector

The best community managers are excellent connectors. They know which members they should introduce, who is looking for help and who is expanding or seeking new opportunities. They also know of interesting events, opportunities and more.

Extend the natural connecting you do as community managers into your larger community. Look for ways to connect people, organizations, schools, businesses and community leaders.

3. Support Local Organizations

One great way to make a positive impact locally is to support organizations that are already making a positive impact. You can do this by inviting them to come tell your community about their work, hosting an event in your space, offering free or reduced memberships, giving them discounted meeting room space, and mentioning them on social media or in your newsletter.

Tip: All Good Work connects nonprofit social impact organizations with donated workspace. The organization is currently in New York City and Silicon Valley.

Urban community farm, Veggielution, finds donated workspace at NextSpace San Jose
Through the All Good Work Foundation, urban community farm, Veggielution, finds donated workspace at NextSpace San Jose.

4. Participate in Food and Clothing Drives

During the holiday season, local food banks, shelters and other organizations do food drives, clothing drives, toy drives etc. These drives are easy ways to give back as a community and make a positive impact on someone’s life.

Look for ways throughout the year to participate in drives. For instance, does your community host book drives, or back-to-school drives, or drives to send local high schoolers to prom? Do a little research to find out. You may be able, as a community, to do some off-season good work.

5. Get Involved with Mentor Programs

Presumably your coworking space is full of programmers, writers, designers, photographers, financial planners, developers, artists, attorneys, etc. Can you help pair these folks up with local young people looking for mentorship opportunities?

Find existing mentor organizations to partner with to bring a mentoring program into your space. If necessary or preferable, start one of your own.

6. Create Local Partnerships

Beyond simply supporting neighborhood businesses, find ways to partner with these businesses. Doing so has the potential to help both of you.

When the NextSpace San Jose kitchen was out of commission, a local coffee shop sold them big pourers of coffee at a huge discount because we had a good relationship with them.

“When someone wants to grab a fancy coffee,” says Kodama, “of course I send them there.”

7. Support Local Initiatives

NextSpace San Jose fills Care Bags for local homeless. The bags are filled with everyday essentials, such as socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, snack bars and hygiene items. What local initiatives could your members easily participate in? Ask around and get creative.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Care bags for the homeless member event

8. Provide a Platform for Community Discussions

Coworking spaces are home to a variety of professions, opinions, cultures, backgrounds and perspectives. Your space can be a place to further community discussions and dialogue in a supportive, respectful environment.

For instance, the mayor of San Jose has visited NextSpace San Jose numerous times for events and conversations. The goal was to have conversations about issues that affect all local residents.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Event Mayor Sam Liccardo group discussion
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in a group discussion at NextSpace Coworking San Jose.

Beyond being a place to support your members, your space can be a place to make a positive impact in your larger community. What do you do to make an impact? Let us know. We’d 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 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.


Instagram Stories: an Introduction for Coworking Space Operators

Instagram Stories are temporary posts—photos, graphics or videos—that have a 24 hour lifespan and play in the sequence they were added.

They take some getting used to, but Stories can be a fun, effective way to drive traffic, sales and membership sign-ups in your coworking space.

You can add as many Stories as you like to your Instagram, and use them to target new audiences and generate leads to your coworking space.

You can also add calls to action (CTAs) in Stories, which can be especially useful for workspace promotions or highlighting new posts and content about your space.

CloudVO Tips on Instagram Stories for Coworking Operators

Behind-the-Scenes Content

Stories can be used to capture behind-the-scenes content that doesn’t have to be as high quality as regular Instagram posts. Because Stories disappear after 24 hours, they tend to be more in-the-moment and timely. They can, however, be used very effectively to market upcoming events and promotions.

One of the benefits of Stories is that the most recent ones appear in the top of your followers’ app, directly below the Instagram logo. So, unlike posts in your feed, which may or may not be seen depending on the platform’s algorithm, Stories are always there.

Using Stories to market your workspace takes consistency. Post regularly—even daily—to stay in front of your followers. If you have too many Stories, however followers will just tap through to the next account. We suggest doing 5 or 6, with no more than 10.

Posting frequently ensures that you’ll end up in the top five or six Stories, where you have a better chance of your followers seeing your content than they will in a post.

Link to Your Content

Once you have momentum with your Stories, link people back to your profile and, eventually, to your content, website or landing page.

If you have over 10,000 Instagram followers, viewers can “Swipe Up” to see more information or an outside link. However, if you have fewer than 10,000 followers, best practice is to link viewers back to your Instagram profile where they can click a link in your bio.

CloudVO Blog Instagram Stories for Coworking Space Operators Link to your content

You can share other Instagram Stories onto your Story, if the other account is public. Tagging other Instagram accounts in your Stories is ideal for collaborations as you can easily share each other’s Stories, posts and information.

Stories include fun additions, such as the ability to ask questions, conduct polls, and add text and stickers to edit images on-the-go. Hashtags in Stories allow you to extend your reach and make your Story discoverable to anyone following specific hashtags, including #coworking #coworkingspace #coworkinglife and over one hundred more.

Highlights

While Instagram Stories only have a 24 hour life, you can add any Story to your Instagram Highlights, which are the circles between your Stories and your feed.

Highlights are curated collections of Instagram Stories that your followers can tap into and watch any time they like. They live permanently on your profile and are a fun way to group your best Stories thematically.

CloudVO Blog Instagram Stories for Coworking Operators Highlights

To create a cohesive brand experience, create thumbnail images or graphics for your Highlights.

Instagram Stories Tools

Stories have built-in tools, including GIFs and stickers, and there are plenty of apps to help you level-up your Instagram Stories game. Here are some of our favorites:

Livestream: You can stream video to your audience as part of your Stories. If you do livestreams consistently, consider posting them to your Instagram TV (IGTV). (IGTV best practices will be shared in a future post).

Boomerang: Boomerang is a fun, built-in tool that creates mini-videos that loop back and forth.

Superzoom: Superzoom is what it sounds like—a tool that lets you zoom in on an image. It also includes numerous effects so you can let your creativity play.

Rewind: Rewind is a tool that rewinds video footage to provide a special effect.

Unfold: This tool provides templates for Instagram Stories

Inshot: Inshot is a video editor and photo editor created for Stories

Canva: Canva is an easy to use image editing tool, with templates and graphics for Stories.

Pro Tips for Creating Instagram Stories

  • Add text to your photos
  • Play with size and color
  • Tag people in your Stories using an @ mention
  • Draw on your photos using different pen styles
  • Use stickers. You can access them by swiping up
  • Add your location
  • Use relevant hashtags
  • Create polls
  • Ask questions
  • Swipe right or left to apply different filters to your Story
  • Add additional images to your story. Pick the image you want to use, pinch it to make smaller, copy the image then paste it into your story.
  • Check performance by swiping up while viewing your story. You’ll see how many people have viewed it. You’ll also see the results if anyone took the poll or answered the question
  • Add music to your Stories. You can find this option in the sticker pop-up
  • Post anytime of day, whenever something interesting is happening
  • Use the built-in emoji slider tool to get feedback from followers
  • Use the built-in countdown timer to promote an upcoming event or launch

Be Strategic

As with all your marketing, be strategic about how you use Instagram Stories. Plan it out and create a schedule that’s realistic and focused. If you post a lot of Stories all at once, your followers will expect that trend to continue.

That said, Stories are a somewhat informal way to share your brand, company, community and values. If you’re creating Stories in real time to share with your followers, don’t think about it too much, just share.

CloudVO Blog Instagram Stories for Coworking Space Operators Share Special Events

A Landing Page for your Brand

Instagram is like a landing page for your brand and Stories can be an important part of developing and sharing your brand identity and creating a cohesive experience for your followers.

Instagram Stories has its own culture and norms. Spend time researching how other brands and workspaces use Stories and start experimenting with your own Stories. It’s a powerful tool for expanding your reach and showcasing your community and brand.

CloudVO Blog Instagram Stories for Coworking Space Operators Showcase your brand

On May 29, CloudVO Marketing Director Karina Patel is co-hosting, along with Coworking Content founder Cat Johnson, a virtual training on using Instagram to market your coworking space. Register here: Instagram Marketing: an Introduction for Coworking Spaces


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.


6 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Update Your Coworking Space Website

As the workspace industry continues its remarkable growth, potential members have an increasing number of spaces to choose from. So it’s essential that your website catch—and keep—the attention of people browsing for coworking space, meeting rooms, a virtual office, mail services, event space etc.

CloudVO Blog 6 signs you need to update your coworking website

If potential members encounter a website that is slow, sluggish, non-intuitive, confusing to navigate or lacking essential functionality, they will leave and move on to another one.

It’s easy to set-it-and-forget-it when it comes to your workspace website, but it’s important to revisit and update it regularly to turn casual web searchers into leads, customers and members. Here are six telltale signs that it’s time to update your workspace website.

1. Pages Load Slowly

You have a few seconds to catch peoples’ attention with your website. Searchers have lots of options and will take any excuse to click away from your site.

If your pages take more than three seconds to load then your website speed is an issue. As CloudVO Marketing Manager Kim Seipel explains, “Users expect fast loading times when it comes to websites. If your pages take too long to load, it creates a poor user experience and a bad first impression for your brand.”

Seipel adds, “Most users will simply give up, move on to the next site, and probably never come back.”

In July of 2018, Google’s algorithm changed so that slow-loading mobile sites would suffer the consequences. It was a call for action for quite some time before last year, however, Google officially decided to use loading speed as a metric for mobile search result rankings last summer.

2. Your Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly

It’s no longer acceptable to have a website that renders well on a desktop or laptop, but falls apart (or becomes a user nightmare) on mobile. Many people use mobile devices to research, shop and purchase workspace offerings, so your website has to serve them.

CloudVO Blog 6 signs you need to update your coworking website and make mobile friendly

Make sure your site is mobile responsive, meaning that it will detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.

“A mobile responsive site will look just as good on a smartphone as it does on a desktop,” says Seipel. “People need to be able to use their fingers to scroll, move from page to page, and easily access buttons, links and calls-to-action from their mobile device. Google also now indexes the mobile version of any website and uses those metrics to rank your site, so it’s a must.”

Google suggests the following steps:

1. Visit Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites. This page offers several ways to make your site more mobile-friendly, such as using software or a third-party developer.

2. Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how optimized your website is for mobile viewing. You can test a single page on your site or several landing pages and see exactly how Googlebot views the pages when determining search results.

3. Use Webmaster Tools to generate a Mobile Usability Report, which helps identify any issues with your website when viewed on a mobile device.

3. Your Website Lacks Visual Appeal

Website first impressions should be high priority. Visitors to your website are making snap judgements about your space and brand from what they see on your site.

Photos and images of your space and community should be high-resolution and reflect your workspace brand. Include a variety of images and be sure to include people in them. Visitors to your website want to see the space in use to see if it’s the right place for them.

Use images to break up large amounts of website copy, and make sure your text is easy to read and your site navigation intuitive. Site visitors should easily be able to identify all the services you offer without too many clicks. For instance, if you offer coworking memberships, virtual office plans, meeting rooms, and private office space, have separate areas on your home page for each service, with buttons that allow the user to quickly access the information they’re looking for.

CloudVO Blog How Coworking Spaces Can Redefine Marketing Strategy Partner YourOffice

4. Your Website is Not Optimized for SEO

If you’re not thinking about SEO in your website copy, start today. Google (and other search engines) can be powerful traffic drivers and vehicles to amplify your brand messaging.

SEO includes on-page target keyword usage and optimization, metadata, page names, URLs, content headlines, alt tags, internal and external links, H1-H6 tags, your calls to action, and a focused and distinct messages on each landing page.

This is all done in an effort to help search engines understand what your site is about and what services you offer so they can serve up the most relevant results to user queries. Create clear, focused, compelling, helpful content and website copy, and you’ll be well on your way to an optimized site.

SEO tools can be helpful in determining target keyword phrases and developing your SEO strategy. However, having a clear understanding of your target market and their challenges and goals is equally important. As CloudVO Marketing Director Karina Patel explains:

“There are many extensions you can integrate into your website that will audit the on-page SEO items before you publish the pages. For example, Yoast SEO is fantastic. It’s a WordPress plugin that makes it very easy to complete all of the on-page SEO components that Google loves. SEMrush is another great tool. With any tool or plugin, you take the recommendations with a grain of salt.”

5. No Clear Next Step for Site Visitors

Once someone is on your website looking at your offerings and services, it’s essential that you provide a way for them to take the next step. For instance, can site visitors book a tour of your space through your website? This call to action is a powerful, yet low-commitment, way to get people into your space.

“We highly recommend you offer this functionality,” says Seipel. “There are a ton of scheduling software platforms, such as Calendly, which let visitors schedule tours of your space without having to send an email or call. With Calendly, you can pre-set blocks of availability so when a user books a tour, they can easily see open time slots available and schedule straightaway.”


CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Calendly for booking workspace tours

Giving people an easy way to book tours saves time for space operators, improves the customer experience, and allows you to capture user information. As Seipel says, “Your website visitor just became a qualified lead since they booked a tour online.”

6. Your Website Lacks E-commerce Capabilities

If your current workspace website does not allow users to purchase coworking memberships, meeting room time or virtual office plans, then it’s time to upgrade. Online shopping is growing at a tremendous pace and people want instant gratification. If someone shopping for your services sees something they like or need, they want to be able to purchase it immediately. An effective website gives them an easy way to do so.

“If your website is effective at educating users on the different types of memberships you offer, they should be able to buy what they need and checkout,” says Seipel. E-commerce allows you to sell coworking memberships to a global audience 24x7x365.”

Using Day Passes to Generate Leads Pacific Workplaces Coworking Membership Plans
Coworking Memberships for CloudVO Partner, Pacific Workplaces

Seipel adds that cross-selling or upselling is automated as you can provide suggestions or recommended add-ons for the buyer to consider once they are in the shopping cart.  You can also leverage your e-commerce to gather data on your overall sales effectiveness, which then can be used to personalize future promotions or other service offerings.”

A bonus to automating your e-commerce is that you save your community managers and other coworking staff members time.

“They can spend less time manually processing coworking or virtual office membership purchases,” says Seipel, “and focus on the important things like community building and member programming.”

Enjoy more free resources specifically for workspace operators when you partner with us. Listing is free and you automatically become a part of a larger network of 700 shared workspaces around the globe. Go to   www.CloudVO.com   to learn more.


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.


Re-purpose Furniture in Your Shared Workspace.
A Sustainability Tip for Coworking Operators

Tracy Wilson, Managing Partner at our sister company Pacific Workplaces, shares her experience on a simple and cost-effective way coworking space operators can freshen up the furniture in their space while achieving sustainability.

Pacific Workplaces Sacramento Capitol Repurposed Reception Chairs

As we close out the month of April, the month that we often spend a bit more time considering Mother Earth and what steps those of us can do to improve sustainability practices in our shared workspaces, I want to share an experience I had at one of my locations in Sacramento, California.

One area of the flexible office business that causes me angst is the disposability of office products, especially inexpensive furniture items.  As much as anyone, I struggle with the value of purchasing a $400 chair vs an $800 chair.  I wonder if, over time, the durability, quality, and style mean the pricier version is actually a better value.  Will it withstand the use and “abuse” my members will certainly impose on it, so I am not forced to get rid of it in 3 years?  At the forefront of my thought process is that, when I do dispose of furniture, even donation centers don’t want extremely worn or broken furniture, which means the only alternative is sending it to the dump which puts more burden on our landfills. 

Recently, the chairs in our Pacific Workplaces Sacramento boardroom were starting to look worn, so I realized I needed to start thinking about a solution, but the economics of purchasing twelve new boardroom chairs was overwhelming.  Basically, I was stalling. Then, nearly overnight, these chairs went from getting worn to a down-right embarrassing situation (shame on me!), so replacement was mandatory … or, was it? Could I really send these twelve chairs to the local dump?  We decided to see what hiring a re-upholsterer might entail, and I am proud to share the results.  Twelve new boardroom chairs would have likely cost nearly $12,000, but re-upholstering the old ones only cost $1,500. 

Pacific Workplaces Sacramento Capitol Old Boardroom Chairs

Pacific Workplaces Sacramento Capitol Repurposed Boardroom Chairs

Based on the success of this project, we decided to use the same technique on four of our reception area chairs.  While they still had a nice style and were holding up well, we always seemed to get negative comments from our member’s clients.  The chairs were so uncomfortable to sit on and you couldn’t lean back without the experience being physically awkward.  In addition, they didn’t exactly pop with color or energy.  So, in came our re-upholsterer.  Four new high-end reception area chairs could have cost as much as $6,000, but our re-upholstering guru gave us “brand new” (comfortable!) chairs for only $1,200.

Pacific Workplaces Sacramento Capitol Old Reception Chairs

Pacific Workplaces Sacramento Capitol Repurposed Coworking Furniture

I hope this will inspire my coworking industry friends to re-think the use, and mostly RE-use, of our shared workspace amenities.  Cheers to Mother Earth AND our bottom line!

Join our global network of 700 shared workspaces when you partner with us. Go to   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 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.