The onset of COVID-19 in the early months of this year brought about an unprecedented amount of challenges for coworking spaces, with many facing government-ordered closures. However, as the number of people working from home rapidly expanded on a global scale, many coworking operators found ways to adapt their offerings and accommodate new and existing remote workers virtually.
After months of closures and lockdowns, coworking spaces around the world are finally reopening their doors to members with new adjustments and safety policies in place. But in this new post-COVID-19 environment, how can spaces still engage their communities—especially when social distancing and wearing masks is the “new normal?”
We chatted to seven Space Leaders from WOTSO WorkSpace to gain insider tips about building community in a post-COVID-19 workplace environment. WOTSO implemented a suspension policy in response to COVID-19 in March, allowing all members to pause their memberships until June 30. This allowed members to keep their office or desk without payment.
As one of the leading coworking providers in APAC, the WOTSO team definitely knows a thing or two about creating tight-knit communities where collaboration thrives. Here are seven tips for building community post-COVID-19 from the team at WOTSO Workspace.
1. Katrina – Space Leader, WOTSO Penrith
Tip: Be present for your members. Be readily available on Slack channels and via phone and email. Check in with your community regularly and ask how they’re doing. It’s all about creating a sense of belonging. After all, WOTSO is their second home. Keeping the bar fridge stocked also doesn’t hurt!
2. Jacinta – Space Leader, WOTSO Hobart
Tip: Reconsider what community means. It used to be about the physical aspect of events and gatherings, whereas now it can be about personal connections. When people feel like they can talk to a WOTSO Space Leader about their day, it feels more personal, rather than just being another member in a system. In other words, keep your door open for members to have a chat.
3. Mira – Space Leader, WOTSO Kuala Lumpur
Tip: Know the special dates of your community! Be it a birthday, anniversary, or other milestone worth celebrating, going out of your way to say ‘Happy Birthday,’ congratulate them, or be there for them really makes someone’s day. You can connect with your community emotionally while keeping your distance physically – sending a care package is a great way to do this.
4. Alanah – Space Leader, WOTSO Woden
Tip: Ensure your members feel heard, known, and appreciated in the space. Going out of your way to understand their business situation so that you can network them with other like-minded individuals or businesses goes such a long way. It shows them that they not only have a staff member in the space to make them coffee and tea, but that they have a connection they can go to for help in their business ventures. Make the community feel like a team of professionals that can help and support each other.
5. Fiona – Space Leader, WOTSO Adelaide
Tip: Focus on your relationships by building and maintaining rapport with your members, previous members, and local community. People naturally want to belong to something – after months of difficulties and isolation it’s all about creating an inviting and nurturing coworking community.
6. Katie – Space Leader, WOTSO Gold Coast
Tip: Stay connected to your members and communicate with them throughout the difficult periods. This makes them feel appreciated and heard. Whether it be a five-minute chat in the kitchen, grabbing a coffee, inviting them to participate in our NRL footy tipping competition, or encouraging friendly office banter, we strive to ensure no one feels left behind.
7. Alain – Space Leader, WOTSO Neutral Bay
Tip: Understand the needs of your members, support them with flexible solutions, and encourage them in their ventures while creating a happy and familiar environment. If you start every day with a smile, it makes your whole day better and, chances are, it will brighten the whole workspace around you.