Photo credit: Pacific Workplaces, @pacificworkplaces
Coworking is all about community, and during these unprecedented times of isolation and social distancing, it’s been extremely challenging for spaces to keep the community spirit alive. With thousands of spaces around the world being forced to close their doors by government mandate, members are no longer able to chat by the water cooler or collaborate on projects during lunch.
Without having a dedicated workspace to go to (in a place other than your apartment or home), many coworking communities are struggling to connect with one another. As the situation evolves, coworking operators are under a great deal of pressure to reevaluate their operations and come up with new business models, sanitation practices, and flexible solutions for their members as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, many coworking spaces have shown an impressive resiliency to the new limits of daily life and have implemented fun ways for their members to connect from afar. Even if you can’t chat to your colleague in-person or see each other working in the same room as you, technology enables an alternative way to keep the community thriving.
In a recent Coworker survey about the consequences of coronavirus (COVID-19) on coworking, we asked operators at 14,000+ spaces worldwide how they were engaging with their members and offering support remotely. Here are some of the creative ways that coworking communities are creating a spirit of togetherness from afar and staying positive during these challenging times!
Utilizing Slack channels to keep in touch
“We utilize Slack Channels to maintain engagement, encourage community building, and avoid isolation/loneliness.” –Plug and Play Munich Co-Working Community, Germany
Organizing online hang-outs
“We have created a PDF for the whole community, encouraging them to keep in touch and be creative. Coworking is not just wi-fi it is above all a community. We organize online breakfasts, yoga classes, and online mindfulness. Plus, each coworker is offering their services for free and are always available online.” –The Beach Factory. Castelldefels Coworking, Spain
Offering virtual coworking
“We offer online coworking on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in a Zoom room to fight loneliness, especially with the national curfew. If possible, we are transferring events to Zoom conferences as well.” –Rayaworx, Spain
Sharing useful content
“We are writing and sharing blog articles, making videos on how to work remotely, what to be careful of, talking about COVID-19, the news, decisions of the government, etc.” –Manistal, Belgium
Creating a ‘community membership’
“We have a ‘community membership’ for members who are not interested in the space itself but in the community (network, events, support), so everybody is now on the community membership.” –Les Satellites, France
As we all adjust to many changes in our work and personal routines, it is important for coworking operators to share encouraging messages of positivity and community togetherness. By giving members the option to virtually band together and connect with each other, it will help the coworking industry weather this storm and emerge stronger than ever in the coming months.