Coworking tips for every operator and manager
There will be seasons in your coworking space where nothing goes wrong. Everything is easy, fun and relaxed. But when the bumps in the road come, here is some advice to hold onto.
Customer relations is key but you’re not going to be able to make everyone happy all the time.
Have any of your members asked to do something that should’ve been a flat no, but you accommodated them? “Can I just bring in my bike inside for 20 mins?” And oops, someone else saw it and now you have a herd of mountain bikes in the corner? What about the whole “can I bring my dog to work?” Aw, cute now snuffles just peed all over the plants. What about a visitor wanting 24/7 access even though they’re only in the country for a week?
Bending rules to accommodate people is not worth the stress or the money. Your time is valuable and should be spending time relating to members, making your space welcoming and nailing your marketing. You set the standard, so make sure you’re implementing the rules. We have an induction book we sit down with each member and go over. To grab it, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Not everyone who wants to join wants to be apart of the community.
This took us a while to get used too. We thought that everyone who wanted to join The Collective would attend our morning teas, meetups and events and become apart of the family. Not so.
People will use your space as just a service. A place to plug in, and get working. It's okay if they're not interested in networking or being your best friend. They like working around people and don’t want to be isolated at home. They won’t necessarily be the first person to volunteer to help a meetup or watch the front of a house while you pop out for a meeting.
This is okay! Many people will want to join your space and use your facilities. Make sure you still have a convo when they're in, grab them a coffee and check in from time to time. The feeling “I think they’re going to quit any day”, can be avoided by a quick chat. Don't treat them different, they'll appreciate it.
Tension is unavoidable.
You’d think that there wouldn't be a hint of conflict in a community-driven environment, but there will be the personalities who question you, doubt your ability and challenge you. You might not necessarily gel with each member and that’s okay. This is a rare occurrence but prepare for it.
The key to dealing with unnecessary conflict is killing that person with kindness. Be patient at their requests but don't bend over backwards. These types of people don’t stick around long, so just hang in there!
The most transparent you are, the more support you’ll get from your members.
If you’re a solo operator and run the space on your own, your members will take care of you, just let them! Is the stress of finances weighing on you? Wondering how to expand or dealing with conflict from the local council? If you’re overloaded and need some help, just ask some members you're really connected with to help you.
Maybe it’s getting someone to run the Instagram, check the mail or oversee the rubbish for a few days. You’ll be surprised to hear the comments “I had no idea how much you do”. Once you make room for people to help out, your day to day stresses will diminish. A couple coffees or a case of beer to say thanks will go a long way.