The concept of coworking is about so much more than just about providing desks and plugs for people to work. It’s about reinventing the work environment from one that is competitive, stressful, and rigid to one that is collaborative and flexible. But more importantly, it’s about building a network of talented individuals who want to share ideas and learn from one another.
According to an article in the coworking publication Deskmag, 96% of coworkers said that community was the most important thing they looked for in a coworking space and 81% said it was the people that ultimately brought them there, not the location or price. That doesn’t surprise us here at Talent Garden. When we ask our members why they chose Talent Garden, they always say they loved the community and wanted to be surrounded by young, smart entrepreneurs like themselves.
People choose coworking spaces over shared desk or renting office space because they are looking for a community to support them, boost their ideas, and give them inspiration on the lonely road that is entrepreneurship. However just working in the same room isn’t enough to spark this connection. Coworking spaces put a lot of thought into designing their space to foster collaboration by using communal spaces, round tables, etc. However the most important ingredient to facilitating this exchange is the community builder.
The work that community builders do is what truly differentiates coworking from other shared desk opportunities. Their job is to get people talking and communicating, ensuring meaningful connections that lead to the exchange of ideas. They need to find ways to create a sense of loyalty and ensure trust among their members so people feel comfortable in the space.
They are sometimes called “connection catalysts,” tasked with community hosting and creating opportunities around the space for coworkers and developers to get out of their shells and take full advantage of their coworking network. They have to get to know each member in and out in order to find creative ways to support them and further their work experience. Sharing experience and knowledge, starting and growing a business side by side, and being able to access the collective intelligence of the network for brainstorming and strategizing is what makes coworking such a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs. The tricky thing is that community builders must do all they can to make sure these connections happen organically, so the right people end up finding the right people to inspire and support them.
The most important task of community builders is community hosting. This can mean anything from organizing a program to give members a chance to pitch their projects to encouraging members to come together and eat and drink after a long week. They provide inspiration by bringing speakers to the office and hosting meetups and opportunities for people to collaborate and challenge each other. Community builders are also in charge of creating connections online, through social media and content to inspire members.
Here at Talent Garden, we work hard to make our community one of the main advantages that draws people to our space. Like most successful spaces, we have a kitchen that allows people to come together over coffee or lunch and recreate those spontaneous “dinner conversations” that many of our young, traveling coworkers are deprived of at home. We try to encourage our members to socialize and get to know each other after work while sharing beer and snacks at our space. We organize events and meetups that foster collaboration and provide education in areas that are beneficial for our coworkers. We give our members opportunities to use our space to promote their ideas, and do all we can to get their projects heard in our network. We create online content to bring together our virtual community and to advertise things we think our members might be interested in.
We hope our members are taking advantage of our community events and everything our network has to offer. We are constantly looking for more ways to grow and strengthen our community. Want to give the job of community builder a try? If you have any ideas, post them here and we will try to make it happen!