Do I have to participate in the community events at a coworking space?
At Groundwork, we take pride in the authenticity of our community. Time and again when we ask our members, they tell us community is the aspect of our space that they most value.
And yet, not everyone who works at Groundwork wants to socialize. Some members simply want a place to get good work done.
When community goes bad…
I recently read a great article on Coworking Insights about when community goes bad. The gist? That coworking operators can miss the point of community entirely by focusing on who showed up at the happy hour and how many members opened the last newsletter. This pressure can make members feel uncomfortable and cause the opposite of what we really want, which is a productive work environment and an authentic community.
At Groundwork, we hold monthly member events like pancake breakfasts, happy hours, potlucks, and all the things. Some members participate, while others stay at their desks, headphones on, concentrating on the task at hand. Both sets of members add immense value to our community.
The best moments I observe here are spontaneous one-on-one interactions. I love it when I see one member helping out another with her area of expertise. I also love it when a member is in the zone for hours and tells me what an amazing, kick-ass productive day he had. And sometimes, without any prodding from staff at all, a bunch of folks gather at the kitchen counter and eat lunch together.
A thriving community includes all types of workers
The point is that a thriving community doesn’t look like any one thing. What matters is that you build an environment where everyone feels comfortable and accepted to be who they are, and to work the way they want to work. Introverts are more than welcome, along with social butterflies and the rest.
So if you are considering joining a coworking space but you are unsure about the pressures of social interaction, give it a shot. The right space will offer opportunities to be social but will also respect your space when you need to get work done.
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