Talking to coworking people about the importance of community is, as my dad would say, preaching to the choir.
Most of us coworking professionals understand the power of collaboration, cooperation, mutual support and social connection. We experience it every day in our workspaces.
But it’s always nice to have some data and muscle behind our anecdotal understanding. That’s why we love the Global Coworking Survey and the Coworking Forecast and the growing number of reports and studies that confirm what we already know: that our happiness is linked to other people.
As Ravi Kaneriya, Head of Asia, Social Engagement Team, World Economic Forum Geneva points out, studies at Harvard University, the London School of Economics, and other research have consistently identified the root of happiness: having rich social bonds and meaningful relationships.
“In spite of cultural differences, the value of having strong communities is universal,” he writes. “Stronger communities enable emotional support, access to the resources and networks of other community members, exchange of knowledge and skills that leads to personal and professional development, friendships that add joy to life, and the potential to collaborate with others to generate greater impact in the world.”
Kaneriya shared eight ways managers and leaders of communities can build and create stronger ones. These strategies are based on his experience working with communities of “young and socially-oriented leaders” in Asia, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Here’s a synopsis. See the full post on the World Economic Forum blog.
1. Have buy-in on common values and shared purpose: Good communities share a common purpose.
2. Create rituals: Embed values and build culture through shared rituals.
3. Use storytelling to reinforce culture: One of the most powerful ways to embed culture in a community is through stories.
4. Enable connectedness: Good communities are communities where people know large numbers of other people in their group.
5. Facilitate the building of trust: It’s not enough for community members to know each other. They also have to trust each other.
6. Maximize interactions: In addition to trust and connectivity, the frequency of interactions between members of a community is also crucial.
7. Instill identity through branding: Brands give people a common symbol or name which binds them together and becomes a vessel for a common identity.
8. Create and encourage shared experiences: Shared experiences are a powerful way to build bonds between very different people.
Are you doing these things in your coworking space? What are you doing well when it comes to community-building? What could use some work?
In my experience, many of these things already happen in coworking spaces. If that’s the case, maybe it’s just a matter of recognizing and amplifying what you and your community are already doing. What do you think?
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