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Your coworking space shouldn’t be a lonely dancefloor

coworking-dancefloor-loneliness

One of the loneliest moments of my life was on a dancefloor, with hundreds of other humans. It was New Year’s Eve sometime during my partygirl era and when midnight struck I was in a sea of people, completely alone. I had gotten separated from my friends and there I was, laughing and smiling, but internally cratering.

The same thing can happen in a coworking space.

The first coworking space I tried, back in 2012, was kind of like lonely-dancefloor-lite. Every day I would drive down to the space, set up my laptop and work, completely alone, for a few hours, then leave. What I had been taught about coworking at that time was that it was a community-focused movement rooted in collaboration and connection.

And it is!

I just hadn’t found the right space for me.

A colleague of mine worked out of the same space and she had no problem with it. She just wanted an office to do her work and be left alone. But I wanted more. So, I left in search of my coworking community, which, when I found it, I was part of for many years.

I’m telling you this because you need to make sure that people aren’t coming into your space, having zero conversations, hellos or connections, working in isolation, then going home. This is a recipe for loneliness … and member churn.

Why should someone pay to be a member of your space if all they’re doing is using your wifi?

They shouldn’t. There are a lot of places to get wifi, including home.

So make sure that when members come in, they’re not treated like they’ve just walked into a movie theatre, or chain restaurant, where they’re treated politely, but with zero real engagement.

It doesn’t have to be a lot. My friend Craig Baute from Denswap did some nerdy data collection and found that if people have one three minute conversation in their coworking space per day, they feel that sense of connecting and belonging that is the soul of a great coworking space.

Ask people how their day is, introduce two members who are standing near each other at the coffee machine, or, ask my favorite question: What are you working on? It’s a wide open opportunity for someone to share more about their work, their priorities, their challenges and themselves.

Give it a try and LMK how it goes.

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