If cozy coworking is your thing, you’ll love the Cohere Community in snowy Fort Collins, Colorado. The space is led by coworking pioneer Angel Kwiatkowski, author of the Ultimate Coworking Launch Workbook. From slippers at the front door to a living room that probably looks a lot like your grandma’s house, Cohere, has coziness dialed in.
We chatted with Kwiatkowski to get her best tips for creating a cozy coworking space during the winter months.
While in Montreal for GCUC Canada 2016, Kwiatkowski visited the Anticafé, a coffee shop and workspace. Near the door, the space had a suitcase of slippers for patrons to borrow. She loved the idea and brought it back to Cohere.
The slippers solve two problems. One, they keep people cozy and comfortable on wintery days and, two, they prevent people from bringing snow and ice into the space on their shoes. “I got tired of mopping the floor,” says Kwiatkowski. “When I saw the suitcase at the Anticafé I thought, ‘A-ha, slippers.’”
2. Hot Water Maker and Hot Chocolate Mix
Hot water makers have one job: to make hot water. And they do it well. Kwiatkowski keeps a giant tin of hot cocoa powder on-hand, which “can turn a member’s day from meh to amazing.” The hot water maker is, as she explains, just one step easier than microwaving your water. “It’s for days when you can’t be bothered to push the microwave button for your hot water.”
3. Aromatherapy Rice Bags
Aromatherapy rice bags are pouches made out of flannel and filled with rice and a few drops of essential oils. They’re microwavable and a great way to keep feet, back, hands or shoulders warm.
What’s cozier than coworking with a blanket? Members of Cohere “use blankets constantly,” says Kwiatkowski. The members prefer the space on the cool side because it’s easier to layer up than to try to cool down in a hot space. If they get chilly, there are plenty of blankets to go around. Kwiatkowski looks for gently used Afghan blankets for the space, admitting that she “has an Afghan problem” and now the space is full of them.
5. Electric Fireplace
If you want to take coziness in your community to the next level, get a wall-mountable electric fireplace. Cohere has a real fireplace but Kwiatkowski would like to have a wall-mounted, electric one. She particularly likes the idea of having one in the space’s living room, which has “two granny chairs, what looks like your grandma’s couch, a gold swivel chair and, of course, the Afghan collection.”
6. Delightful Coffee Mix-ins
“Surprise your members with fancy coffee mix-ins, like this caramel flavored coffee topping latte foam”, Kwiatkowski advises, adding that “A jar of rainbow sprinkles never hurts either.”
7. Shovel and Rock Salt
“Nothing spells stress like mincing your way to the door of your coworking space,” says Kwiatkowski. “Save your sanity and a hip by shoveling and throwing down sand or salt.”
“This workhorse should be a staple in any cozy coworking space,” Kwiatkowski explains. “Heat up apple cider, serve chili, or keep those rice bags hot and ready for sore muscles.” Another Kwiatkowski idea for the crockpot is to make a batch of spicy taco soup and have members all bring a topping to share.
9. White Holiday Lights
Adding a few strands of white lights makes any space feel homier. There are even some super flexible, remote controlled, LED ones.
10. Visiting Kittens
This kitten strategy, Kwiatkowski admits, is not possible in Cohere because of allergy issues. But, if allergies aren’t an issue in your space, bring some kittens in for an hour of fun with members. “Contact your local kitty shelter to see if they’ll loan you a basket of kittens for a hour,” says Kwiatkowski. When asked if this is really a thing, she replies with a laugh, “I saw it on the Internet so it must be true. Now that everybody’s doing animals and yoga, I think the next logical thing is kittens and coworking.”
Popcorn is the perfect cold weather snack. It’s fast and warm and now you can make it in the microwave with plain kernels if you have this special bowl.
Cat Johnson is an industry leading brand community coach for coworking space operators and visionary leaders. She runs Coworking Convos and The Lab, the club for indie space operators. She writes about coworking, content and community on her blog and weekly email and consults 1:1 with leaders creating a brand community strategy.