5 Reasons You Should Start Coworking Online

Post Author: Wendy Chen.

For small businesses, joining a coworking space can bring some game-changing benefits. Working in the same environment as like minded businesses and ambitious entrepreneurs, networking, finding potential clients and partners could be just what your small business needs. While coworking spaces are an exciting development in the business world, we can’t forget that the world as a whole is rapidly going digital and work 2.0 is taking over the coworking market.

In this post, I look at five important features of virtual coworkingtake a look at an introduction to virtual coworking here! i.e. coworking in an online environment, that can make your business even more successful.

It allows you to work from anywhere, anytime

If you’re the kind of person that likes working at times that are convenient to you, virtual coworking is definitely up your street. Be a part of the most recent developments in your company, your clients’ businesses and partner enterprises from the comfort of your own home, your favorite coffee house or even your parents’ country home. Staying connected and keeping on top of developments is a key factor for sustainable growth, and virtual coworking is an excellent tool to achieve just that. Just connect and join the show. It has never been easier.

It expands your talent pool and network

The biggest advantage of virtual communication is the ability to work from home. The broad spectrum of online communication platforms that are now available mean you no longer need to have all of your employees in house, as they can report to you online. However, that is not always efficient. The choice of channels through which employees work from home is so large that it’s often hard to track all actions and developments and that could potentially discourage you as an entrepreneur from hiring people who can’t be in the office every day. This is where you stand to gain a huge advantage from virtual coworking. There is now a universal tool for literally all communication between you and your employees.

Not only that, they will have a complete and transparent overview of all developments in other departments and will be in close contact with their coworkers, clients, and partners. Your talent pool will be extended far beyond the city in which your business is located – and we all know that a business is only as strong as its staff. For employees, this also opens up a much broader and more efficient employment network. Yet another win for virtual coworking!


It’s in the cloud

Digital times are upon us, that is no secret. So don’t hesitate to use digital developments to your advantage when running a business. Having all of your company’s documents, notes, tasks, schedules, deadlines, and even conversations online and in one place will save you valuable time and the trouble of browsing through stacks of paper. Keeping your files online also means you no longer have to worry about losing or breaking your laptop. What used to be stored in the hardware can now be stored in the cloud. You can access these files from anywhere and at any time. This really is a no-brainer.

It comes at no extra cost

Cost-effectiveness is crucial for a small business. Let’s not ignore the fact that more often than not, capital is what dictates what you can and cannot achieve, and sometimes this can be a question of life or death for a business. So while you can manage your affairs from your office or coworking space, there is also a strong need to be able to continue working on the same things, with the same benefits but for no extra cost . Here is the kicker: virtual coworking will cost you less than you spend on toothpaste. If you are a risk-averse business person, this provides a very low-risk, high-reward opportunity that is not to be missed out on.

It promotes transparency in your business

Working with your team is important. What is even more important is working efficiently. There is nothing more frustrating than writing a blog post and finding out afterwards that your colleague is working on the same idea. You know it can happen: emails get lost or overseen all the time. With virtual coworking, you will be able to track all relevant tasks, deadlines, and ideas that your coworkers are working on. Not only that, you can post new ideas in a note for the rest of the team to see. Virtual coworking will enable you to manage your business more efficiently than ever before, and sometimes that is really what a business lacks to make that big leap.

Although I could go on all day about how beneficial virtual coworking could be for your small business, the gist of it is that virtual coworking spaces are amazingly efficient. In a tough business world, small businesses must catch every break possible, and virtual coworking can be a HUGE break.

The Best Coworking Space For You!

Post Author: Wendy Chen.

Let’s say you decided to try coworking. Now it’s the right time to choose a shared office and jump straight into business. Yet, there are different types of coworking spaces, so how do you know that you’ve chosen the one that fits you (and your business) best?

Modern cities provide vast opportunities for coworking. The more coworking offices that are out there, the harder it is to choose a place that suits you. The first thing to consider would inevitably be the subscription costs. Skipping the money talks, we give you an overview of shared office specifications like design, location and other perks that might influence your decision.



You are looking for a substitute to your home office, so the new location has to be at least just as much comfortable for business as your cabinet. Assess the size of rooms, the degree of privacy and noisiness, quality of furniture and kitchen facilities, and bathroom cleanliness. 

Be picky: if anything bothers you now, then it will distract you even more when working on projects.

Tip: Don’t forget to check lighting and ventilation. Everybody has their own preferences, so maybe you will have to bring an extra desk lamp.


While you must like the place and feel comfortable to be productive, also consider whether the coworking office has an interior that serves your business needs. 

In case your job involves a lot of meetings and you need to invite clients, we suggest a high-end office. This kind of office design will impress the visitor and  you will appear professional. Take note that usually this type of offices are open at normal business hours and are occupied with freelancers and entrepreneurs in their 30’s. 

On the other hand, if your tasks and responsibilities don’t require meetings, an artistic or comfortable environment would suit you best. People working in such relaxed offices are notably younger and are occupied in creative industries and IT. The communication between members is more casual and it resembles a shared home-office.

Tip:  To get the feel of the place, book a visit for several coworking spaces in your town. Approach its people and consider whether this environment appeals to your personality and business.


Research says that people with shorter commuting time to work are the happiest. Nevertheless, don’t get carried away and choose solely by the distance from home. It is also useful to consider whether your location will be convenient for the clients. Proximity to certain amenities like day care or fitness centres, shops and restaurants should also be considered.

Tip: You might want to avoid the coworking space next door. It’s hard to switch to and from the office mood in just a couple of minutes and it might be tempting to leave for home sooner.


Apart from the age of the general crowd in your future coworking space, you should check the culture of the place. It is important that you feel confident and trust the people you will be sharing the office with. Investigate whether the shared offices have a community manager who facilitates the socializing. 

The coming together and collaborating is one of the main reasons to get out of the home office, so don’t miss the opportunity!

Tip: In case you are short in time and cannot visit all the offices of your choice, check their pages on social media. Instagram and Facebook often give a great insight into events of the place and introduce some members.

Special facilities.

Make a list of office supplies and facilities you need and try to go beyond “printer, coffee machine, wifi”. In case you need to call your clients quite often, seek for a shared office with special call-zones or separate meeting rooms. There are also shared offices with resting areas or terraces equipped with table games and yoga rooms.

Tip: Make sure you come to the office not only to have a good time, but also to get things done. And don’t forget that perks might come with extra costs.

Choosing a coworking space is a time-consuming activity, but it is worth investing your time. Carefully chosen, a shared office might become a new home for your business while not burdening you financially and mentally.  Keep our advice in mind, yet follow your heart when subscribing for a shared office!

Is Bigger Better in the New York Coworking Scene?

Post Author: Michael Gasiorek.

As a startup business owner, have you ever asked yourself how your company can overcome a much larger funded competitor? You may be imagining your competitors using all their capital to hire developers, an aggressive sales team, building out a savvy Mad Men-level marketing department, and getting involved in the next three largest global markets. Can you go up against this Goliath? Yes – and more ably than you’d expect. Our big tip here: using the community and personal attention found at coworking spaces, you can compete with larger businesses by using resources available on-demand at arm’s length from your hot desk.

Aiming to work at the level of a large funded startup? Take advantage of the new corporate office rental model: coworking spaces. Heating up in New York City, the Bay Area, and even in Shanghai, Budapest, and around the world, coworking space allows multiple companies and agencies to share a fully outfitted office. Currently, the largest companies in this space are Wework, a startup with a $5 billion valuation, and Regus, the biggest public competitor.

While there are several competitors in the space, there are only a few with multiple locations. A new privately funded firm is carving out its market share in the rapidly growing business of providing shared office space to startups, entrepreneurs and creative companies in New York City. Coworkrs, a much smaller shared office space community, has locations in Gowanus, Brooklyn, the Flatiron District, and they just recently signed a 13 year 30,000 square foot lease in NYC’s Financial District (Fidi) at 55 Broadway.

As a startup cofounder myself, I was curious about the best coworking spaces from which to work. I got a chance to try a community membership in Wework’s Fulton Center location, and then I tried a community membership at Coworkrs’ Flatiron space.  Here is what I learned from the experiences.

What was the Same

Both of these coworking spaces offer more than just space, with options of shared desks or private offices. Expect networking event mixers, arcade video games, high speed internet, free micro-brew beer on tap. The perks and people form a cohesive community that makes these environments more than just workspaces. When you compare either of these companies to the boring corporate office space provider Regus, they are both building and providing an atmosphere that merges work and life. Their cultures are ones that celebrate who we are as people and attracts those who seek to find a sense of purpose in their work. They are bringing several dozen professionals together to build a community where you belong and contribute.

The largest social shifts can happen when an infectious new kind of culture is developed and adopted, where a new set of values change and advance society in a more positive way. By removing the whole corporate office cubicle structure and building a true, interwoven community, I believe they are heading towards a better and more collaborative way to work and live.

What was Different

When I worked at either of the two different Wework locations I felt lost inside their sprawling campus. The community managers did not go out of their way to find out my name, and people were more focused on their work or on interactions with those they already knew. In meeting the Ben Kessler, Wework’s Director of Marketing, I learned about their marketing and customer acquisition strategies. Their employees “sell the why,” targeting mostly startup companies. Despite the fact that they are scaling so quickly, they feel the need to tell their employees to be humble so they can continue to empathize with the small startup customer instead of appearing to be a mega corporation. Wework’s founder Adam Neuberg has publicly said “We are not competing with other co-working spaces.”

When I visited Coworkrs’ flagship Flatiron location, I immediately felt that people were really friendly, especially the community managers. I was greeted by Eric Steiner, the COO, who showed me around and even introduced me to a number of the other members – by name, no less. As I rode the elevator into the space during my trial month, a member invited me to stay for an “Internet of Things” happy hour meetup. Despite being a much smaller coworking space, I got a sense of a family-like community environment. I asked Eric about their marketing strategies. Differing from Wework, Coworks’ staff is vigilant about shared office space competitors like the Grind, Impact Hub, AlleyNYC, The Yard, and others. They admitted to having done intense market research, even speaking with a number of Wework’s former community managers to crystallize strategies to differentiate the space and make it an attractive place to get work done. They even discovered an opportunity in Wework’s Boston location, where the member tenant turnover rate is quite high there because people from Boston have a sense of pride and like to support smaller local coworking spaces over non-local corporate expansions. Coworkrs currently has 4 NYC office locations and they have not taken any outside venture capital investment – all of the funding has come from the cofounders and their immediate networks.     


Bigger may not always appeal to your customer base. Does the company that raises the most money or has the largest valuation mean they are the best?  Every startup wants to grow, gain more customers and eventually increase revenue, but if you are growing so fast that you are losing sight of the customer experience, this may not be the best strategy for your business. If your business is in an industry that has much larger competitors – which is true in almost every vertical – focus on what makes your company unique and different, focus on your niche product or experience, and your company will compete just fine. Listen to your users and customers and stay authentic to what your brand stands for, and your people will be loyal to you.


This piece was originally published on Startup Grind, the global entrepreneurship community, by AndrewBroadbent.

Andrew covers topics like entrepreneurship, conversion optimization, digital marketing and strategies for the startup and investor community. He co-founded Vab Media, a digital marketing startup agency in New York, with a specialty in the latest SEO tactics. A known growth specialist, he aids companies with branding, visibility, and customer experiences online through a variety of strategies. He builds and optimizes profitable websites, some of which hold first page rankings for major keywords in Google.

Fit Space – Don’t Sell Space

Post Author: anthony thompson.

Say it with me, “Fit – Space – Don’t Sell It.” 

I’m still not a fan of pop up ads (although millions of blogs inundate you with them to sign up for their damn newsletter) but if I knew what would be better I’d invent it. For now, we deal with banner ads and clicking out of them as fast as we can. 

I would argue I’m one of the fastest pop up destroyers in my small town of Rouse Hill, a suburb north west of Sydney. I destroy those things like it’s my passion. In fact, it is my passion. Maybe my next book will be 38 ways to destroy pop up ads. 

Pop up ads in a coworking space can be just as annoying and the Australian startup Posse sheds some light on why. 

When Posse signed into the space they were pitched an offer for a select group of small business services at ‘mates rates’. Seems like a good idea from the business. They work at a hipster, cool coworking space and receive mate rate business services. 

Posse eluded that this early pitch could be felt as a pop up ad instead of a human connection. They also quickly discovered that coworking spaces when full can be loud. 

Let’s look into what Posse really needed in a coworking space. 

They were building software and were used to a certain environment. Loud chatterboxes on mobile phones would eventually break their focus and it did. This also falls into my category of pop up ads. Loud, obnoxious mobile phone users are distracting and = pop up ads. 

In light of this information, I’ve written a few questions that you can use when engaging prospective new coworking members. Or, you can use a version of these questions when seeking out the perfect coworking spot for you or your business. 

What type of environment do you get the most work accomplished? 

Provide in detail what that looks like for you and why? 

Can you explain a work environment that you hate and why?

I’m not a rocket scientist (I have fired bottle rockets) but I truly believe if the space curator was more interested in the benefits of the coworking member – a Posse scenario like this could be avoided. 

This is not to throw dirt on any one individual but instead to come together as a whole and say – let’s do better. 

The story continues as Posse experienced more pop up ads from members in the space interested in their success. They accrued a bit of press which becomes like light to moths. And, the moths came fluttering. 

Some would pop over and pitch ideas, others would cozy up in an attempt to use their information for their good. 

More pop up ads continued when space sponsors provided swag to space members. The free gifts ranged from pizza to massages but instead of it feeling like a benefit, it once again became a pop up ad to the Posse team. 

Another distraction, loss of focus, loss of time and more importantly, loss of energy. 

The Posse team finally gave up on coworking after a competitor in the space approached one of their engineers and offered them a more lucrative offer to join them. 

This is a sad, sad story for coworking. It breaks my heart to hear of instances like these but we should be forever grateful to the Posse team for sharing them. 

They are giving us insights into what not to do and that is sometimes more important than what to do. 

I work out of Space&co in Rouse Hill, NSW. It’s a magnificent space with a sister location in Melbourne which is pretty cool as well. 


Country Profile: Coworking in Kazakhstan

Note:  This blogpost was written by Faraz Majidulla, of  Astana Multispace, as part of an informal series to introduce us to Coworking spaces and how they function all over the world.  So let’s start the series off with a little bling bling from Kazakhstan.  

Thanks, Faraz!  


Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in world based on land mass but only boasts a population of about 18 million people.  Astana is the newly formed capital city and it hosts some of the world’s best new age architecture, from the Norman Foster designed tent shaped shopping center, Khan Statyr, to the multiple new skyscrapers scattered around the city.  One of the most fascinating sites in the city is the Batirek monument, which towers over the city and from the top gives you the best view of Astana.   Kazakhstan is most famous for being an oil rich country but it also has abundance of other natural resources like: gas, gold, copper, uranium, which has given it the opportunity to attract investors from all over the world.

Coworking is a relatively new concept in Kazakhstan and most people are yet to grasp it.  With Astana Multispace being the first real coworking in Kazakhstan we have been entrusted with not only providing world class services that coworking members around the world are accustom to but also with educating the public on how coworking can help them.

Astana Multispace is situated on the top floor of Astana Mall, one of the most popular and unique malls’ in Astana.  The mall has previously hosted many concerts featuring some of the region’s most famous talents.  It has also hosted other great events like drift racing competitions in the underground parking lot and MMA fights in the middle of the mall.  All of these things have helped make Astana Mall one of the destination spots in the Astana.  In recent months however the trend has changed as most people are visiting the mall for more business oriented events that are generally hosted in Multispace.  On a daily basis there are hundreds of people coming for seminars or conferences hosted by the likes of big financial institutions, the national railway company, big oil companies, and big media institutions.

Multispace is considered to be the ‘third place’ filled with eager entrepreneurs, creative designers, and inquisitive journalists.   The sensible design gives it unique ambience that makes it comfortable whether you want to work or relax.  Our design is often compared to Google Office designs.  There are a host of different types of workstations available, individually themed private meeting rooms, a large conference room, a library, an amphitheatre, individually themed private offices, a cigar lounge, a coffee shop and relaxation area.  In addition to this there is a reception area that offers a concierge services.  In Multispace we focus on giving our coworkers the right ‘props’ and best possible conditions to achieve their goals.  This includes high-quality eco-friendly furniture, proper lighting, and the ability to relax in the special twilight recreation room, this is all so that people can work more productively. Our main task is to give young entrepreneurs a new lifestyle.

The future of coworking in Kazakhstan looks very bright as more and more people are choosing this concept opposed to the traditional office.  Most of our coworkers claim that it would be near impossible to switch back to the old ways and see this as the better alternative.   The reason for this is mostly the social aspect that has been injected into their work life making them more open to new ideas and productive.

Coworking in Medellin Colombia

Post Author: Eddie Arrieta.

Without a doubt Medellin is one of the most important and recognized cities in Latin-america. It is evident that the difficult that came as a result of the growth and consolidation of Narco-traffic in Colombia have made many decide to leave. Fortunately, this panorama has changed in the last 10 years. Government and private institutions have made an effort to make of Medellín the next innovation center of Latin-America

The support given by government institutions such as Ruta N and iNNpulsa have helped entrepreneurs in the city. Likewise, there are local initiatives such Coffeegrid, which gives a plataform for discussion in topics such as innovation, entrepreneurship and technology. These spaces have provided young entrepreneurs a plce to do networking. Johanna Molina Co-Founder of Intern Latin America expresses that ¨Medellín City is more attractive than ever before¨. and she is not the only one ¨I can see how a digital initiative can grow in an environment like this¨ says Jesse Hopps CEO of Demand Metric.

Evidently, Medellin needs more than just one tool or institution to become a hub of entrepreneurial suggest. The ecosysten in Medellin, similar to others in Latin america, requires a different mindset. Such mentality should favor the entrepreneurial culture. This is why public and private organization in Medellin have become so crucial to the environment. Clearly, every actor involved in entrepreneurship has responsibility in this process and a role to play in the ecosystem.

Conrad Egusa and I have tried finding different ways to support entrepreneurship in Medellín. This is the reason why we founded  ESPACIO. This initiative started in October of 2012 in the heart of Parque Lleras an affluent area of this city. ESPACIO has partnered with: .CO INTERNET, the Founder Institute and Ruta N. Our goal is to cultivate and ecosystem of entrepreneurship, collaboration and networking in Medellin. We facilitate to entrepreneurs such as Ana Corena, founder of eSe Conectivo, the possibility of growing in a well located office, getting advice from mentors and co-workers and launching her startup successfully.

¨Co-Working¨ is a concept that goes beyond working at the same office. Co-Working, as well as startup life is way of living. For members of a Co-Working space it is almost required to collaborate. In fact entrepreneurs such as Giovanny Gomez Founder of GTEKSYS, sharing their ideas and supporting other entrepreneurs has become a common practice.

It evident that there is a lot of work to be done before Medellin can compete with the largest entrepreneurial centers of the world. However, the hard work of leaders and entrepreneurs in the city will continue transforming it into an innovation center. Every entrepreneur still needs to grow and to learn, but the tools they have available will help them get there. Medellin will certainly depend on the success of these entrepreneurs and their ideas. As Stacy Blackman President of Stacy Blackman Consulting mentioned ¨A profession needs to know where he is going. Never playing with ideas, but implementing them.¨

Eddie Arrieta is the Co-Founder, ESPACIO and tuCaribe. ESPACIO is the first Co-Working space in Medellin, Colombia. tuCaribe is the first tour operator in the Golfo de Morrosquillo, Colombia.


Austin Cospace’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem-as-a-Service Supports Accelerator in Serving Entrepreneurs Downtown

Post Author: Paul O’Brien.

cowork in austinEntrepreneurship took a leap forward today in Austin, Texas with the announcement by Cospace of their partnership with Capital Factory, a leading startup accelerator, in managing a new facility sponsored by the City of Austin through Austin Tech Live, downtown. Cospace recently reached an agreement with Capital Factory to manage operations of the 22,000 sq ft startup space and provide the entrepreneurial classes and events there to Austin’s startup community and entrepreneurs.

Austin Tech Live

An initiative supported with staff and resources through the Austin Chamber’s Opportunity Austin funding and executed through the Chamber’s Technology Partnership team, Austin Tech Live is the local initiative to develop a community of entrepreneurs working in a state of the art environment and coworking space in the core of Austin’s creative center – the downtown central business district of Austin.

The partnership is the first of many changes for Cospace in the expansion of it’s entrepreneurial ecosystem-as-a-serviceworkplace, business networking, resources, educational programming, and lean product development services — which helps entrepreneurs start, build, and grow companies.  Akin to SaaS (“Software as a Service”), Cospace serves members and entrepreneurs with the familiar meeting space, workplace, resources, as well as educational programming, project management and product development services, and business networking.

“We are excited to partner with Capital Factory to support the goal of furthering entrepreneurship in Austin,” Shared Kirtus Dixon, Co-founder of Cospace. “At Cospace, we believe that ‘Entrepreneurs Live and Work Everywhere’ and creating a hub of activity in downtown Austin will ignite the downtown economy and give startups and entrepreneurs the resources they need to build amazing businesses in Austin.”

Home to Austin Entrepreneurs

Cospace, known in Austin as the home to entrepreneurs focused on Lean business and product development, is a collaborative business community that has facilitated the launch of more than 50 products, supported nearly two dozen startups, and hosted over 1500 students through classes in technology and entrepreneurship. Cospace has reached more than 5000 entrepreneurs and professionals throughout the Austin community with affordable workspace solutions and meeting space, highly accessible event space, and classes and programs to help entrepreneurs build businesses.

Via the partnership, Cospace and Capital Factory will take coworking to the next level and ensure that startups have the space, resources, and training they need to succeed.

“Today more than ever, executing on ideas is key to success,” added Dixon. “Cospace increases your odds of success by bringing critical elements together: space, people, education, and resources.”

Coworking as a Business: Which Model Is Best?

Coworking is part of a collaborative reorganization of the global workforce, but does that mean a traditional business model is out of the question?

(The below is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Shareable.net. I would encourage you to read the full version and let me know your thoughts! Like so many issues in the coworking community, it has to be decided on a space-by-space basis. I’d love to hear from space owners using these and other models to achieve a cohesive, sustainable community!)

…Most coworking advocates fall into one of two schools of thought on this topic: those that believe coworking is best when it exists as a non-profit, and those who believe coworking can (and should be) a profitable business. The coworking community demonstrates that both (and many hybrids in between) are possible.

Coworking As A Non-Profit

The thing that sets coworking apart from all other styles of working is that it has the welfare, success, and ultimately happiness of the members as its most lofty goal. The community is the most important asset, and everything else–the space, location and amenities–are meaningless if the community is absent. One of the most attractive reasons to choose the non-profit model is the ability to let the community evolve naturally…

Coworking As A For-Profit

What troubles some in the coworking community is that creating a coworking space with the sole purpose of making profit can drive the focus away from the coworking values of collaboration, community, openness, accessibility, and sustainability. “Coworking spaces that fully embrace the value of community are not owned by anyone,” writes the founder of C4 Workspace in San Antonio, Texas. “They may be funded by individuals and other sources but they are “owned” by the community.” One can’t just offer desks and Wifi, call it coworking, and wait for the money to roll in…

Coworking As A Not-Just-For-Profit

While it might be easy to equate “profit” with the cut-throat individualism that typifies the corporate world, space owners shouldn’t be afraid to make money from a business that requires hard work. Instead, many look for ways to provide additional, valuable services to both the freelancers in their coworking community as well as the telecommuters, small business owners, and creatives of the community at large. Workshops, camps, classes, and mixers bring people together and make them better at what they do. Better yet, all of these things can exist within the community without defining it…

Read the full version on Shareable.net…

Is Your Coworking Space Sending Mixed Messages About The Community?

Catalysts/owners: when a potential member visits your space or a traveling coworker stops in via the Visa Program you’ve got to take it up a notch…you’re the face of coworking for the entire community as far as visitors are concerned!

Just like a laptop or lucky suit, coworking spaces have to be cared for or they won’t perform.

In their attempt to create “friendly atmospheres” and “comfortable workspaces”, some coworking facilities have strayed far from (what I hope was) their original goal of creating a professional space in which the mobile workforce can be at its most productive.

Catalysts/owners: when a potential member visits your space or a traveling coworker stops in via the Visa Program you’ve got to take it up a notch…you’re the face of coworking for the entire community as far as visitors are concerned!

Here are some unsavory practices that could affect their impression of coworking and cost you a member:

  • The door is locked: There is nothing more confusing and off-putting than not being allowed to enter the facility during hours of operation. I once showed up well past 9 am (on a day that I’d informed the community manager I was coming) only to find the doors securely locked, with no one in sight. The only reason I eventually entered was because a member heard me rattling and opened the door. This member didn’t know me, and it wasn’t his responsibility, so he promptly returned to his office with a door (which he closed) and resumed working. I was left standing in the lobby, wondering whether I had the wrong direction. Which leads us to item 2…
  • No host on duty: I’m tired of arguments that the community can thrive without a manager, curator, or host. I don’t care what you call this person, but they need to exist and be located near the door during business hours. This smiling face should be available to show new people where the coffee pot is located, and where to put their coat. It’s also helpful if this person can get a few of the members to also smile, wave, and say a sentence about what they do. This makes people laugh, feel comfortable, and understand why coworking is so great. So do it.
  • A dirty bathroom: I hear you snickering already…”Thanks ‘Mom’ we’re all aware of how to clean a bathroom.” ARE YOU? In my travels, I’ve encountered coworking spaces with empty toilet paper rolls, hand towels that looked like they’d assisted in the open heart surgery of a car engine, and soap dispensers that made me want to skip the hand-washing all together. Think to yourself: if I were a member bringing my most important client in for a meeting, is this the bathroom I’d want to offer?
  • A cruddy kitchen: If you’re going to entice new members with kitchens or breakrooms in which to enjoy their lunch, for god’s sake, keep it enjoyable. I’ve seen kitchens with signs that say “please be courteous and wash your own dishes” with what looked like a 90 year-old sponge lurking in the sink and nothing but a dingy towel on which to place your “clean” dish. Unacceptable. We’re all adults here, so let’s nix the signs and act like it. Space owners, I’m pretty sure if you provide your members with soap, a touchable cleaning implement, and a rack in which to place them, the clean dishes will follow.
  • Weak power outlets: Freelancers are designed to travel light. Give them an outlet and a Wifi connection, and they’re happy. That’s why it shocks me that I’ve been in spaces where outlets are inconveniently located or missing altogether. If you want people to pay for a membership, they shouldn’t be forced to cross their fingers and plug their beloved computers into a scary tangle of extension cords and power strips.

Let’s face it people, even the most resilient community will falter and die if you can’t master the basics. Let’s not become so concerned with using our 30,000 foot lofts and cool-looking furniture to attract new members that we forget to care for the ones we already have.

Image Credit: funpicked.com

Welcoming New Coworkers to Your Coworking Space

You can make new members feel welcome to your coworking space by doing the basic “host”-type duties. Are you doing these things?

If you’re a coworking space catalyst or a coworking space owner, you should probably have a welcome mat in front of your space.

Okay—not a literal welcome mat.
Welcome New Coworkers to Your Coworking Space
I’m talking about making new members feel welcome by doing the basic “host”-type duties in your space: greeting potential & new members, giving tours of the space, introducing them to other coworkers, etc.

While these my seem like no-brainer things to do, I’ve discovered that in some coworking spaces, these things are simply not happening. Although not every coworking space has a dedicated host, for those spaces that do have a host, the following to-dos are musts. I’d venture that it’s a real challenge to get a community to grow—and grow bountifully—if coworkers don’t feel like they belong. The good news is that it’s fairly easy for you to help new members feel welcome.

In my mind, the following actions are musts:

  • Greet potential & new coworkers. When someone new walks into the space, is it clear where they should go or who they should talk to?
  • Provide a tour of the space. No matter how small the space may be, provide a tour to help new members feel comfortable and oriented. Heck, introduce them to the coffee-maker!
  • Connect them online. Provide the wireless name and password…and remind them of the website and any other communication tools available. For example, we use IRC at Cohere…old school geekdom!
  • Introduce new members to current members. With respect to people’s work and time, it’s amazingly helpful to introduce new members to current members—especially between members you think might have skills, profession or hobbies in common. This, too, helps foster community!
  • Orient them to the neighborhood. Do the current coworkers have a favorite lunch spot? Let the new member know what amenities, restaurants and other resources are near the coworking space.
  • Other community connections. Is there a calendar of events for the coworking space? Or a list of local meetup groups & events? Or simply a list of all the members? Show the new member! They can then explore these resources on their own time and get more comfortable with the community they’ve just joined.

The idea is to make new members feel comfortable. Imagine how intimidating it is to be the n00b in a group of people who already know each other and are established in their work and social patterns. This can be challenging, even for the most extroverted of people. Fortunately, it takes only a few simple actions to help welcome new members.

If you’re a catalyst or owner, do you have other or different ideas about how to welcome your new members? What has worked and what hasn’t?