How to retain your coworking community Vibe as your coworking business grows.
Many startups archieve succes by harnassing the power of their local network. For coworking centers the atmosphere of the community comes from the core members, early members and the interactions with the new members.
To balance a healthy ratio for the coworkers, a community manager has to actively balance out the type of corporations it accepts, such as, startups, hotdesks, big corporations, professional coworkers, persons with own rooms, clients with a webshop in need of a virtual office and flexible dayworkers.
Each of these target groups have (slightly) different expectations, wishes and bring different challanges in managing your space.
Besides the coworking community aspects, sustainability and increasing the local participation for a better world has grown tremendously.
Craudereuff & Associates
Robert Craudereuff had started Crauderueff & Associates exactly with this goal in mind. To try and attain for a higher sustainability for his clients.
Certain companies hire internal staff to work on the sustainability challenges. Craudereuff & Associates aims at providing consulting to this target audience. Instead of an internal position, many companies might be well off with an external consultant.
Crauderueff and associates had set up their shop in a coworking community in Manhattan. The space was very beneficial to their concept, they found different individuals that have various ideas how to contribute positively to society and the world. Many of these ideas would not have been actively pursued by the traditional corporations.
Many coworking communities provide solutions for entrepreneurs to network, to find people that are like-minded, or people that have like-minded goals and interests.
Coworking spaces do provide possibilities to attain a higher sustainability and lower the impact the shared resources have on the environment.
Sustainability in the coworking communities is a higher goal than the traditional corporate environment. Since the community is responsible, more views and stakeholders can decide the policy.
In traditional top-down hierarchies, the upper management is only responsible to the shareholders (And the end result). And usually considers sustainability only if it contributes to a neutral or (preferably) positive net result for the company.
Even though more traditional organisations are becoming green and sustainable. Many coworking communities take a very active role in the day-to-day activities of the spaces. Reducing waste, recycling, buying paper from responsible sources, having a contract with a green energy supplier, contributing to the local community (local non-profit goals), providing organic or sustainable food, or simply connecting locals for a noble cause.
Innovative and IT inspired coworking
Certain coworking communities are sprung up from the creative vision of (IT) or information technology professionals. IT specialists often have an ideal set of circumstances to work in a ‘start up hub’ or in collaborate creative sessions such as ‘Hackathons’. Start up hubs and exactly these type of creative professionals are the ideological precursor of coworking spaces in the view of many in the industry.
The idea to work in a collaborative and flexible entrepreneurial environment, in the IT sector, simply predates coworking by some years or arguably some decades. One of the examples of a creative IT professional that has founded a coworking space involves Andy McMillan, founder or Core coworking space in Belfast. Andy showed and still is showing a visionary amount of innovation in his business dealings. Core Belfast was the first coworking space in Northern Ireland (and Belfast).
Andy quotes on a forum in 2010 ”Andy McMillan: I run a small web design studio, I organise technology & design events and I manage Core – Belfast\’s first Coworking space – all while drinking a dangerous amount of coffee.”
Core was already up and running in 2009, a time before many have heard from the idea of ‘coworking’. Andy, a famous name in the tech community (also know for a dispute with PayPal, in which the CEO of PayPal was forced to answer and change policy), seemed to be involved in the industry long before businesses worldwide knew of the potential and dramatic shift in office usage that coworking was to become.
Coworking branch and world-changing ideas
WeWork is another concept that is a multinational organisation. Founded by Adam Neumann. The concept was to create a socially different dynamic, a sort of local-traditional type community. Everyone has heard of WeWork. But how familiar is the average entrepreneur with smaller coworking communities, also ones that do not exist anymore?
The White Board for example was a coworking community project based in Issaquah, Washington. Inspired individuals collaborated and are motivated to share ideas (hence the name ”The White Board”).
The White Board group was formed to support local business owners, self-employed professionals and startups in the region. But through strong networking, collaboration and sharing, opportunities arise. The membership contracts offered were at great value in comparison to the multinationals rates in certain cities.
The coworking market is a bit strange and has many types of businesses entering the space. Community type of projects such as the White Board group, small- and local collaborations, a local family business, a commercial investment groups, equity groups, real estate magnates and multinationals such as WeWork.
The traditional real estate markets usually have institutional backing. The behavior of these companies in the market is sometimes contrary to actually making solid earnings and responsible growth, because the shareholders want to strive for a bigger market share.
Accelerators, incubators and other business communities have a tremendous increase in numbers over the recent years. The goal of these type of businesses is more or less the same as that of a coworking space, you combine energy, ideas, space and resources to accelerate the business. The accelerators and incubators usually involve some kind of funding and participation by a traditional investment firm, hedge fund or financial institution.
Meadow Creek has an active business center location, and is one of at least 35 coworking spaces that has been around since 2015 in Seattle. While most business centers are based in the center of the city, Meadow Creek is based in the more tranquilly Issaquah. An excellent variation to the buzz of the city atmosphere.
Business centers tend to focus in city centers, but that doesn’t mean empowering a local community cannot lead to great results. Many smaller communities lead to a much higher loyalty and mutual respect for the individual members, which leads to potentially more powerful (local) collaborations than could be achieved in a highly dynamic or mainstream coworking community.
Also check the coworking wiki if you are interested in the coworking community.
What do we facilitate in our space?
In our coworking spaces we have all sort of clients, such as craftsmen, painters and locksmiths who use the office sporadically. These type of clients do not use the office space for their main craft (as they travel to the client), but for the back office, administration, point of contact and other type of supporting work.
Since we support our clients, we used our client, a local locksmith to install secure locks for our locations. The locations have been equipped with SKG 3 safety locks, camera security and an alarm system.