10 Unconventional Tips to Build a Thriving Flex Space Community and Culture

It’s true. A vast number of professionals have become comfortable working from home. They have their home office set-up, there’s no commute to battle and they can finally gain full-utility of that coffee machine they purchased. But there’s something missing. A washing-free room to hold their meetings, that casual chat that lifts them up to battle on with the next challenge, a really fast internet connection… There are many reasons we see a growing number choosing to work from a dedicated space.  

But how do you attract those flexible workers to pick your space over their home office, or another space? Whilst the essentials are core to this – great (and clean) facilities, a reliable and secure connection. It also requires creating a desirable, enjoyable environment. On top of the essentials you need some innovative strategies to keep your community engaged, connected, and eager for more.

These ten lesser-known yet effective tips will help you build a vibrant, connected, and inclusive community. The result will be members that are excited, engaged, and proud of where they work.

1. Start a Member-Matching Program

Launching a member-matching program can strengthen your flexible space’s sense of community by nurturing organic connections and collaborations among members. Pairing up individuals with complementary skill sets, similar goals, or shared interests can lead to valuable exchanges and promote a more cohesive environment.

– Periodically survey members to gather personal and professional information.

– Facilitate regular meetups between matched members.

– Encourage matched members to collaborate on projects or exchange ideas.

Easy win: 

Tools that can help you with this – Slack + Donut 

Slack is a great platform to help your digital community form connections and start conversations. The add on of Donut prompts members to connect via direct message, right in Slack. Donut can help you by posting topics that inspire lively conversations and friendly debates in the Slack channel of your choosing. https://www.donut.com/

2. Choose a Workspace Ambassador

To ensure staff remain engaged and attuned to members’ needs, establish a dedicated “Workspace Ambassador” position. Appoint one staff member as the primary contact for member support, responsible for gathering feedback and identifying potential collaboration opportunities.

– Train the designated staff member to proactively address challenges and opportunities within the space.

– Encourage the workspace ambassador to foster relationships between members.

– Hold regular meetings with the ambassador, discussing observations, insights, and potential improvements to maintain a deep understanding of the community’s needs.

Easy win: 

For space owners with limited staffing resources or those who prefer to operate without full-time staff, consider identifying a highly engaged, long-standing member in your community. Offer to subsidise their monthly membership fee in exchange for taking on the role of a community liaison. This approach not only promotes peer-to-peer connection but also provides invaluable insights while maintaining a lean team.

3. Introduce Pop-Up Spaces

Curate temporary, themed activity areas that cater to various member interests or address seasonal trends. These strategically placed pop-up zones keep the space dynamic, encourage spontaneous interactions amongst members, and support a diverse work-learn-play ecosystem.

– Feature pop-up fitness classes or mindfulness sessions, games days or park runs.

– Establish creative spaces with arts, DIY projects, or hobby-centric activities.

– Host seasonal pop-ups, such as a holiday-themed area or summer reading nook.

4. Launch a Knowledge Exchange Initiative

Invest in opportunities for members to learn from each other. Develop a knowledge exchange platform that facilitates knowledge sharing, mentorship, and professional growth within the community.

– Create a digital or physical bulletin board for members to offer and request skills exchanges.

– Plan career development workshops, roundtable discussions, or peer-learning sessions.

– Develop a mentorship program, pairing experienced professionals with those seeking guidance.

5. Make Inclusivity and Accessibility a Priority

A welcoming and empowering space should be accessible to everyone. Focusing on inclusivity and accessibility can distinguish your flexible space and attract a wider range of professionals.

– Incorporate Universal Design principles, ensuring that your space accommodates varying ability levels and user preferences.

– Establish diverse facilities, offering dedicated quiet spaces, multilingual resources, and customised areas tailored to members’ unique needs.

– Cultivate diversity and inclusivity through dedicated staff training, community events, and awareness campaigns that educate and empower members.

6. Embrace Community-Built Playlists

Involving your members in music selections can create a unique, custom soundtrack that resonates with your community. Launch initiatives to encourage location-specific playlists, built by members, for members.

– Set up a digital platform or mobile app for members to contribute song suggestions.

– Host monthly or quarterly “Music Mixers” to collectively build playlists in a fun, social setting.

– Highlight local artists within the community, injecting local flair into the listening experience.

Easy win:

Spotify shared playlists are an easy way to allow all members to contribute to the music selection within your space.

7. Create a Space for Reflection and Gratitude

Implementing spaces or rituals to encourage reflection and gratitude within your community can enhance overall morale, promote emotional well-being, and increase member satisfaction.

– Designate a “Gratitude Wall” where members can share positive thoughts or thank their peers.

– Organise regular gratitude-focused group discussions, meditation sessions, or workshops.

– Encourage staff to express appreciation to members and each other, nurturing a culture of gratitude.

8. Develop Business-Focused Education Programs

Curating education programs tailored to your members’ professional needs can not only elevate the value of your flexible space but also lead to growth within your community. Supporting members in their business journey by providing relevant, practical skills attracts a motivated and ambitious clientele.

– Assess member interests and industry trends to create relevant workshops or courses.

– Partner with local educational institutions or industry experts to run high-quality sessions.

– Encourage members to share their expertise by leading educational events or training sessions.

9. Foster Business Connections and Mentorships

Creating opportunities for members to forge meaningful business alliances can have a profound impact on their professional growth, whilst boosting your flexible space’s reputation. Act as a catalyst for invaluable connections, providing networking opportunities, and introducing members to potential mentors.

– Create a mentorship program that connects experienced professionals with aspiring entrepreneurs.

– Host regular networking events where members can pitch their businesses, exchange ideas, and forge alliances.

– Collaborate with local chambers of commerce, councils, startup incubators, or professional associations to expand networking opportunities for members.

10. Engage the Local Community with Weekly Events

Tried and true, organising weekly events that offer compelling incentives to attend, such as free food or drinks sponsored by local businesses, can strengthen your community’s bond while promoting local establishments. These events offer a consistent opportunity for members to engage, network, and discover new connections.

– Partner with nearby restaurants, breweries, or cafes to offer free refreshments during the events.

– Encourage different local businesses to sponsor each week’s event, increasing community involvement and diversifying offerings over time.

– Curate themes for each event, such as “Tech Tuesdays” or “Wellness Wednesdays,” to cater to various preferences and spark continued interest.

Prioritising member satisfaction through innovative programs, mentorship, and fostering connections will lead to a nurturing environment that builds a foundation for success for everyone involved. And remember, our community cultures are dynamic beasts – remain open to change along the way. If you experiment with a blend of unconventional strategies and consistent effort you’ll find your unique approach to community and a thriving flexible space.  

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