Good food. Cozy clothing. A soft blanket. Hot coffee. A tropical vacation. The definition of comfort varies widely. At Groundwork, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make members comfortable.
It occurs to me on a daily basis when I see people at Groundwork dressed in jeans, workout gear, suits, heels, snow boots, and even walking around barefoot, that there’s no dress code for coworking. We tell our members to come as you are, make yourself comfortable, and get to work. Of course, comfort is much more than clothing and footwear, so I dug a little deeper into what comfort truly means to people.
Pay attention to your members
Coffee is a big deal around here, and it’s always available to our members. One thing I learned soon after starting to work at Groundwork was that people here genuinely care about this space and the people in it, and want to pitch in. While we would never expect our members to make the coffee, just the offers to help make me smile.
One particular coffee incident stands out in my mind: I’ll never forget the day I glanced over to the coffee pot, where a member had graciously started making a fresh pot before I got the chance. But something went wrong and it was overflowing onto the coffee station and floor. And he was barefoot! I had never noticed him being barefoot while he was here before. Fortunately, his feet were fine. He was mostly concerned that he ruined a good pot of coffee. And from that day on I was more aware of people’s footwear in the space.
This is hardly a lesson on footwear, but important to note because two of his comforts here are clearly being barefoot, and drinking fresh hot coffee.
For others, I’d say seating would be the first thing that comes to mind when I ask them about their comfort at Groundwork. Our plush cafe style seating is a big hit with many members. A few have even jokingly mentioned that we can kick them out of those seats anytime. Ha! Then there’s the amazing hammock and mega bean bag chair in the small conference room. So is it a cozy seat that comforts YOU when you’re away from home? Interesting.
Be mindful of change
Change is another factor that can really rock the comfort boat for some people. Even tiny changes. Like moving a piece of furniture, a change in lighting, or even the void of a certain seasonal snack no longer being offered. The comforts of food and feng shui have a huge impact!
Change is constant and inevitable in all environments. But we can adapt, and in the end, those exact changes could be the very things that help us to grow outside of our comfort zones and become happier, more successful, more fulfilled!
Get them comfortable being uncomfortable
A big lesson in comfort is to “get comfortable being uncomfortable,” as noted in an article on Lifehacker, discussing the phrase used by the NAVY Seals. As Patrick Alan mentions in the article, “if you can be comfortable being uncomfortable, you’ll be prepared to handle whatever situation comes along in your own life.”
This can be applied DAILY in coworking: You’re an introvert? Consider showing up to the next potluck! You don’t know how to make a pie? Come to the pie contest and learn from those that love to bake. You’ve stopped making progress on a work project and need some professional advice? Bring it to the table at our next Breakfast of Champions. Don’t hide under a rock. Get comfortable being uncomfortable!
Be yourself, and be open to others doing the same.
My biggest takeaways from this lesson of comfort? Whether I’m in business dress or snow boots and a big comfy sweater, my work still gets done and people still need me. That a pie contest, or potluck, or breakfast buffet is less about the food, and more about the people around the table. Just show up and be present. Comfort comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms, and you just showing up could be the exact comfort someone needs when they step out into the world.
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