Many people jump to the conclusion that punishing coworking members for policy infractions is the best way to keep them in line. This is a convenient idea, because it often means that we gain monetarily when somebody messes up. I’d like to offer a few alternative ideas here on how to keep members in line with community standards and possibly make them happier for it. While these ideas may cost money in the short term, I believe we gain significantly with increased loyalty and community cohesion.
For example: late payments. If you’ve managed a space for any amount of time where you’re billing members, you already know that getting on-time payments from some members is a real problem.
Typical Punishment Policy – Late Fee
If the member is more than 5 days late, they incur a fee of some amount that feels painful.
The problem with the late fee policy is that it actually makes it harder and more painful for the member to actually pay.
Alternative Reward Policy – Consistent On-time Payment Pricing
If the member pays on time for 3 months, they begin paying a discounted rate for subsequent months.
As a catch-all reinforcement of policy following, use RAOK (Random Acts of Kindness) rewards. Following seemingly no pattern at all, give a gift to a member who consistently follows an important policy, whether it’s always making sure their guests check in, cleaning up after themselves (and even others), or another good behavior. The gift can cost as little as $20 or as much as $100, but it’s always the thought that counts. Write a personal note explaining the gift and why they’ve received it.
Reward policies can be a powerful coworking community building tool and can be applied to many aspects of your coworking space. Try these or experiment with your own (I’d love to hear about them).