The Secret to Creating an Irresistible Community

The Secret to Creating an Irresistible Community

This guest post was written by 2019 GWA Conference speaker Hannah Walker, Chief Consultant at Big River Consulting.

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What if I told you that coworking has the potential to dramatically impact the loneliness and social isolation epidemic?

What if I told you that your community manager has the most important and difficult job and is responsible for the most undervalued aspect of the coworking industry: community building.

If you’ve instantly dismissed this idea as Pollyanna fodder, keep in mind that the following points have a direct impact on your space’s growth, retention, and ability to out-perform the competition.

Social Isolation and Coworking

We can all agree that our industry is growing rapidly due to the changing workspace landscape. We know the market is abundant with an increasing number of entrepreneurs, remote workers, and creatives looking for affordable, diverse spaces. But working remotely in a coworking space where you don't know many people can be lonely.

According to the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, 1 in 5 Americans labels themselves as lonely or socially isolated. Additionally, 2 in 5 Americans feel that their “relationships are not meaningful and they are isolated from others.” The desire for community is clearly evident in these studies. Coworking is on the rise among such groups as entrepreneurs, remote workers, and creatives because people are seeking to satisfy their innate desire to feel a connection; they want to belong. Even the word “coworking” lends itself to the idea of “togetherness” and “belonging.”

I am not suggesting that our industry play the predator, profiting off the pain of the human condition. On the contrary, I am suggesting that the coworking industry recognizes an opportunity to respond with compassionate insight to the loneliness and social isolation epidemic, utilizing the role of our community managers. Respond with authenticity. Respond with synergy.

Community Managers Create Communities

A community manager is the foundation for the culture of your business. Their ability to cultivate an irresistible community is vital. Their success directly links to your growth, retention, and competitive status. No pressure, right? Plenty of spaces are professional and edgy, but not every space declares unignorably, “You are welcome; you belong here” and generates a sense of authentic warmth and hospitality. In fact, many spaces completely miss this level of excellence.

Established industry norms are not enough. Your community manager is your differentiator. Your competitive edge. They require the emotional intelligence as Brené Brown says, “to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable and learn how to be present with people.” Their personality creates connection while consistently serving and caring for your members. This is your secret weapon to how an irresistible coworking community is created.

People are thirsty for connection and belonging. If you don’t believe me, consider what popular shows like Friends and Cheers have in common with coworking: A tribe where you belong and where everybody knows your name. If customers find these qualities in your space- your curated community wins every time. On a larger humanitarian scale, your meaningful work contributes to solving the loneliness epidemic. Just a thought.

This fall at the 2019 GWA Conference, we will take a deeper dive into community building in a one-hour session titled “Community Building: Show. Don’t Tell,” where we’ll unpack culture setting, engagement strategies, and authentic hospitality.

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