“Be nice, be human, be authentic. Embody the culture you’d like to see reflected back.” – Tony B.
This article is part of our best practices series. You can read more articles from this series here.
There’s no easy or one perfect way to foster a healthy workplace community. The people are different, the space itself is different, the weather is different; there’s no simple way around it and no magic formula.
However, there are ways to make the task easier and more amiable for everybody involved. With insights from Tony Bacigalupo’s book: “No More Sink Full of Mugs”, we have condensed 10 ways to help you build a healthy, sustainable workspace community.
“Building and maintaining a healthy culture in a shared space is an elusive task. For things to work, you can work feverishly to maintain order yourself, but you might already know that this strategy isn’t sustainable.”
Flexible workspace options have become mainstream, not only because they provide a ready to go place to work, but also because they have made it their mission to put the emphasis on culture when it comes to workplace culture.
Still, focusing on culture is easier said than done. Community is not something that can be ‘sold’ or offered; it has to be built, it has to be organic, it has to be authentic. Because we are aware that this is no easy task, here are 10 methods to guide you in the right direction (all taken from “No More Sink Full of Mugs”).
Building and Maintaining a Healthy Community
It’s about fostering a sense of trust.
1. Celebrate when your members help out with the overall community and environment.
If they load the dishwasher, give them a shout out; if they take out the trash, give them a shout out; if they help set up for an event, give them a shout out. Basically, let them know you appreciate their help and that their being a part of your community makes the community better
2. Let members be in charge of the coffee.
Some people run on coffee and giving them the opportunity to have it whenever they need it without waiting around for an employee to make it will give them a sense of belonging, trust, and responsibility.
3. Make it easy for your workspace members to connect with one another.
Some workspace operators use a software platform, others might use a Facebook group, others might use Google, and even others might use Slack. It doesn’t matter which method or platform you use as long as it lets members connect with one another, as well as let them pose questions, start discussions, and ask for help.
“We give everyone a way to connect with each other through an online discussion group. I may know some people and some answers, but if you message this group, you’re far more likely to reach someone who has the exact answer you need.”
“People use this group to introduce themselves, post specific questions, post gigs they’re hiring for, post upcoming events they’re going to, and post about food they brought into the space to share.”
4. Onboard your new members, and let other workspace members do the onboarding themselves.
This is the perfect way to show members that you’re not in the business of renting space–help them get the ropes around your workspace, introduce them to other members, show them around, and give them the choice to decide how involved they want to be with your workspace.
“If a fellow workspace member shows them around, then that’ll immediately show them the culture you have fostered and it’ll make it easier for them to reach out to anyone if they need to.”
5. Have a Welcome Aboard Member Meeting.
“This is our monthly gathering that gives everyone a low-barrier way to get to know other members of the community.” When doing this, “you should have a way for people of varying dispositions to connect to the community. It should account for people who identify as introverts and people who identify as extroverts; it should account for people who prefer to socialize during business hours and people who prefer after hours.”
Remember, it’s about removing the barriers and making it easy for members to feel they are part of something.