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.

The Importance of Customer Reviews to Market Your Coworking Space

If you’re not focused on getting customer reviews for your coworking space, you’re missing out on a golden marketing opportunity. Reviews for your workspace can be found on Yelp, Google, Facebook and more. Potential members pay attention to these reviews and you should, as well.

Forbes reports that online reviews are the best thing that ever happened to small businesses, explaining that “97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses and three in four people who use their smartphones to search for something nearby end up visiting a local business within a day.”

The Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces

When people search online for a coworking space in your town, reviews can attract them to you if they’re positive, or keep them scrolling if they’re negative or if you don’t have any.

Customer Reviews and Social Proof

We rely heavily on social proof, including customer reviews, when making decisions about where to shop, eat, visit and work. We tend to search for these things when we actually need the product—meaning that people searching online for a local coworking space are likely to need a space right now.

“When a consumer uses a review platform like Yelp or Google My Business, the decision and urgency to buy are exactly what prompted the person’s search,” the Forbes article points out. “If traditional advertising is a megaphone that enables businesses to shout and see who’s listening, review sites are tractor beams that pull consumers toward local businesses precisely when they’re actively looking to spend money. That’s an invaluable opportunity for small businesses with tight — or non-existent — marketing budgets.”

Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces NextSpace San Jose Yelp Reviews

The Importance of Reviews for a Coworking Space

Karina Patel, Director of Marketing at CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces explains that customer reviews are important for workspace operators because they:

  • Help provide a baseline for prospective members because customers rely on reviews from peers more than they trust the taglines of a brand.
  • Boost local listings for SEO. The more reviews, the more likely your local listing appears in search results, including, Yelp and Google. These local listings are integrated into organic search, paid ads, and map views.
  • Search engines see that you are an active brand when you receive a steady stream of reviews.

Customer reviews can also help strengthen your brand and, as Patel points out, “Brand reputation is everything.” Here are four ways customer reviews can help with your branding and marketing, from Patel and Kim Seipel, Marketing Manager at CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces:

  1. Reviews establish brand authority and trust. Reading what others have to say about your space and services will move prospects further down the sales funnel.
  2. Having a healthy mixture of ratings allows customers to trust that you aren’t soliciting reviews or incentivizing for 5-star reviews. If a brand only has 5-star reviews, customers are less likely to trust that brand.
  3. With coworking spaces becoming increasingly popular, prospects have more options to choose from. A solid establishment of reviews can differentiate your space from another.
  4. Customers trust online reviews as much as they value personal recommendations. They look to reviews in helping them make their final purchasing decision.
Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces CloudVO Trustpilot Review

Using Third-Party Review Products

The CloudVO team recently started testing Trust Pilot, a reputation service that enables companies to automate the review collection process for online purchases. Trust Pilot users can add rich snippet widgets to webpages, which optimize those pages in an organic search by displaying a Google Seller Rating (GSR).

Google gathers ratings about your business from licensed review sites, including Trust Pilot. Strong seller ratings not only speaks to the validity of your business, but also helps the performance of your Google Ad Campaigns.

As Seipel explains, “There are 32 Google licensed third-party review sites, and after research we decided Trust Pilot would serve our particular needs best. Pricing and features vary between all the review sites, so it’s best to compare several and choose the platform which is aligned with your business goals.”

Benefits of using a third-party review platform for a coworking space include:

  • Automating the collection process saves time
  • Space operators don’t need to remember to follow up with all new purchases and incoming members on a daily basis
  • Space operators can trigger invites for new purchases by sending people a customized invite several days after a purchase, with at least one reminder if they haven’t submitted a review. “The invite template is easy,” says Patel. “You just select the star rating and add a comment if you wish.”
Importance of Customer Reviews for Coworking Spaces CloudVO Trustpilot invite

Soliciting Customer Reviews for Your Coworking Space

When soliciting reviews, make it easy for customers. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Be consistent with how you ask, and when you ask, for reviews. Creating a process will also allow you to keep track of members you have asked per time frame (month or quarter)
  • Do not set a precedent with incentives for reviews. Members will expect a reward for submitting a review.
  • Use templates for your community managers to send out with customized information, links, do’s and don’ts.
  • Handle negative reviews with patience and understanding. Responding to a negative review is a potential opportunity to mend a relationship, demonstrate your brand values, and express your calm, cool handling of an uncomfortable situation. You can use a template for this, as well, but be sure to personalize your response to address—and fix when possible—the complaints of your unhappy customer.

Turning Casual Searches into Marketing Leads

Customer reviews can (and should) be part of the strategy for marketing your coworking space. Reviews help showcase your space and community, they provide social proof to people looking for a workspace, they provide a glimpse into your brand values, and they’re a powerful tool for turning casual web searchers into marketing leads.

How do you use customer reviews to market your workspace? Contact us and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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


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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pacific Workplaces Coworking Space Sunnyvale Community Member Event International Holiday Mixer
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space International Holiday Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Shared Workspaces 4th of July Member Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale 4th of July Member Event

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

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

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

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space At The Beach Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space ‘At The Beach’ Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Coworking Space Game Night Member Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale ‘Game Night’ Member Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Shared Workspace Dosa Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale coworker and Community Coordinator Lauren making dosas.
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Shared Workspace Cinco de Mayo Member Event
Pacific Workplaces Sunnyvale Shared Workspace Cinco de Mayo Event.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn how to join the CloudVO family of 650 shared workspaces around the globe at www.CloudVO.com. Partnering is free and easy!


About CloudVO

CloudVO  is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the   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.