Photo Courtesy of RISE Collaborative
The population of women entrepreneurs and freelancers is increasing throughout workspaces in both veterans and new spaces. In the Deskmag 2016 Global Coworking Survey, it was noted that women make up 33% of the people working in shared workspaces. That number is expected to grow given the recent growth of women-only workspaces with the growing demand for Coworking as a whole. Regardless of your location, profits, the age of the workspace, or whether or not you’re a for-profit or “lifestyle” Coworking operator, what makes a space attractive to a female coworker is catering to some certain criteria that allow women to continue thriving professionally. These criteria can be broken down into three categories: provisions, opportunities, and having the right culture in place.
Does your space provide for the female Coworker? Not the stereotypical sense such as painting the space pink, having more flowers, and having more of the “girly” décor… that doesn’t work at all. It’s being considerate of what goes on in the daily lives of women and being able to provide a safe, reliable, and convenient space to work and collaborate.
For instance, providing a space for women to prepare their professional look and freshen up, such as a locker room to keep extra pair of heels or clothes on hand or a place for hair and makeup, affords great convenience so that the female coworker doesn’t have to drive back home to get essentials i.e. feminine products. Providing services such as child care or something for expecting women is another ideal service that can show your space goes the extra mile.
One overlooked aspect to attracting female coworkers to your space is staffing. According to our ebook Staffing Your Coworking Space: The Survival Guide. Your staff should reflect the kind of members you wish to attract to your space. Hiring staff that is not only female but able to provide and understand the experience of being a woman in the workplace is another ideal arrangement for attracting women to your Coworking center.
It’s not just about showing that you respect female freelancers and entrepreneurs, it’s providing a space in which they can thrive. While staffing women to manage your space and providing all-women events and workshops is a must, what you also want to do is work with female-owned businesses. Whether by having them as members of your space or pairing with a neighboring business that’s owned by a woman, you can carve paths to greater success and collaboration by getting more women to work together.
There are also organizations you can find either nationally or through your local chamber of commerce that caters to female entrepreneurs. Reach out to these organizations who can assist you with funding, organizing, and even putting together mentorships to create a perfect storm of networking.
According to a Huffington Post article The Future of Coworking for Women, “Women are no longer living a linear path to success. Careers came with a built-in infrastructure. You were given your colleagues, networks, retirement accounts, insurance, etc. Today it’s different especially for women who want to design their own work lives. That structure doesn’t exist and we have to build it for ourselves. We have to collaborate to get access to the resources we want, which requires a heavy level of commitment, understanding, and community.”
As mentioned before, you want your staff to reflect the values of your workspace. When it comes to attracting female coworkers, this practice should apply to all facets of your overall culture. What you want to create is a space that feels as close to home for the female coworker as possible. For instance, if your space is too much of a “bro-working” facility, where the culture revolves around table games, kegs, and American Football as the only form of “water-cooler” conversation, you may want to shift the balance a bit. That’s not to say that women don’t watch the NFL or can serve ping pong like Serena (we like video games and telling raunchy jokes too), but it can be off-setting when activities become male dominant and detrimental to doing the work. You want to make sure that when planning events and activities you make them as all-inclusive as possible. By making your female coworkers feel like family, you can improve the balance of your workspace culture. The rule of thumb is to stay collaborative, not competitive (unless your competitors work in the same room; then it’s game on!)
In summation, this is a great time in the age of Coworking as the female population continues to grow in numbers, opportunities, and success stories. Keep in mind that this isn’t because women are suddenly more ambitious than before, we’ve been working hard for hundreds of years. This isn’t a new trend in the way women work, but rather the way in which cultures are responding to a growth in demand. The right way to respond is by providing the right tools, creating opportunities, and building a community and culture that celebrates the success of women in the workplace.
For any questions on how to transform your workspace for a better experience, and more opportunities, please feel free to contact me today.
This is a guest blog post in collaboration with WUN
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roxette Miranda is a Workspace Specialist for WUN who works in the Miami Office. WUN is an industry leader in providing a complete package for software, data, internet, voice, as well as 24/7 door access for Coworking and shared spaces. Currently, she works with several locations and has a passion to keep to her Latin American roots by collaborating with spaces there as well as all over the world. This year she was on the host committee for GWA. Roxette makes sure that anyone new to coworking is welcomed in a way that has become customary in her culture.