Cohere Community is on Loosecubes

 

Hey guess what?! Cohere is moving some of our member and prospective member functions over to Loosecubes. Our friends started this company that helps connect coworkers and spaces all around the world. They’ve issued a coworking challenge and we’re up to the task. Earn points and get sweet prizes for participating. Read more below…

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This summer, we’re making work fun again. Join us in kicking off the first ever Summer Coworking Challenge. From June 6th until July 4th, we’re spreading the word about coworking to the ends of the earth and allowing anyone to give it a try for free via Loosecubes.

Throughout this month-long initiative, every ‘cube may be instantly booked by members of our community at no charge. We’re also offering a series of awesome prizes to those hosts and members who cowork (or host coworkers), connect with other Loosecubers, and refer friends & spread the word.

Head on over to the official Summer Coworking Challenge page where you can see who else is gettin’ in on the action, familiarize yourself with the rules of the game and stay updated on who’s leading the pack. Every Monday we’ll post a video that features a clue or riddle than can earn you extra loot, too. So tune in!

Get involved: Tweet about it (#loosesummer), Instagram your ‘cubes (and ‘cubemates), and share your experience on Facebook – we want to see it all! The more you spread the word, the more work happiness you’ll deliver to potential coworkers everywhere.

 

We’re Growing! AKA How To Be Nice To A Coworking Newb

hello-my-name-is

As you may or may not have noticed, there are some unfamiliar faces around Cohere Coworking Community these days (and we’re not just talking about Eva, although hers is arguably the cutest).

Please join me in welcoming….

Madison Crowley, Social media specialist
Chris Lenfert, Freelance designer
Derek Haynes, Co-founder at Scout Monitoring
Dani Grant, serial entrepreneur
Lauren Garrison, independent contractor at Cognitive Change Concepts
Lee Porter, Founder of Innovation News

All of these new members are great because it means the message of coworking is reaching a greater number of the Northern Colorado entrepreneurs who need to hear it. It also means that we’ve got work to do.

The main benefit of coworking is the community and camaraderie it provides. In traditional work environments, this community forms around water cooler chatter or mutual hatred for the TPS Report. As a coworking space, most of us love what we do, so we form connections based on skill sets, or hobbies, or caffeine addiction levels.

Many of us are seasoned veterans of the coworking scene, and it’s easy to forget what it was like to be newb (more on that in a future post). Before you can drink the kool-aid, someone has to invite you to the compound. And in order for new members to have their “aha” moment and become firmly rooted in our community, we’ve got to show them how awesome it is to be here.

Of course, we can’t make people love us. But we can make it hard for them not to. Tomorrow (or the next time you’re here) try a few of these (newbs, this goes for you too!):

1. Sit at a completely different desk than you usually do.
2. If someone comes in that you’ve never seen before, take out your earbuds and introduce yourself.
3. Come to Uncles Pizzeria next Monday, and find out what the heck colunching is.
4. Ask the person next to you what their ideal project would be.
5. Bring donuts (this will automatically make you VIP for the day)

Most of all, just be your awesome, creative selves and never become so buried in your work that you can’t flash someone a smile. Sometimes that’s all that’s necessary to go from feeling like an outsider to a cool kid!

Image via Alan O’Rourke/Flickr

Home Is Where The Cohere Community Is: Check Out Our New Place!

New Cohere Front Door

Our collaboration-loving crew has taken up a new residence–Cohere is now located HERE:  418 South Howes Street, Fort Collins, Colo. 80521.

Check out our new digs!

We asked around the office, and here’s what the Cohere crew had to say about why the new space and creative community feels like “home”:

“The new location is the perfect distance from anything I could want to walk to: campus, old town, the bank, and numerous restaurants.” –Hannah

“The new space is much more open, great amenities and the kitchen is an incredible upgrade.” – Jerry

“As a college student with a busy schedule its incredibly helpful to have a reliable work space in close proximity to campus. I love space, the resources, and the environment.” – Andrea

“I feel the active energy of the new location, even though I’m hundreds of miles away :)” -Ashok

“The natural light, and house-like layout of this new space provides a really comfortable working environment even though it has all the professional amenities I need, like a conference room and places to take phone calls. Love it!” -Beth

If you’ve been looking for a way out of your home office or the coffee shop, coworking with us at Cohere could be the solution. Don’t forget to sign up for our free day pass and give it a no-risk try!

Members: please post this blog article to your social media networks to help spread the word about our new office location!

The Cohere Quick-Start Guide For New Coworkers

New Cohere Pink Room

Cohere is preparing for it’s official launch at the new location, 418 Howes, in downtown Fort Collins. We soft launched last week, and since then, members new and old have stopped by to check out the hot pink desks, expanded kitchen and lunching area, and general good vibes that the new building has to offer.

The official grand re-opening of Cohere is February 1, so if you’ve been thinking about requesting a free day pass to check out the world of coworking for the first time, that would be a good day to do it!

To some the concept of a shared workspace might seem bizarre, and to others it comes naturally. It’s true that working in close proximity with other mobile professionals might take some getting used to in the beginning. It’s also important to note that what makes coworking at Cohere so special isn’t the location (or color) of the desks, but the talented freelancers and small business owners that will inhabit them on a daily basis.

In the spirit of welcoming you along on this coworking adventure, I’ve rounded up a few classic posts that examine the best ways to acclimate to and participate in our community. (It will also demonstrate in a nutshell why you should always read the weekly Cohere blog post). As always, please don’t hesitate to ask a Cohere staff member or veteran member if you’ve got questions about anything!

Be More Than A Seat Filler

There are some universal attributes that apply to coworking in any setting, whether it’s a massive space in New York City or a tiny community in rural Virginia. The importance of community engagement and participation is one of these universal truths. Basically, the more you put in to your coworking experience, the more you’re going to get out of it. Period. This post includes quotes from current Cohere members about “getting what you give.”

How To Avoid Fragmentation In The Presence Of Private Offices

Private offices are a new feature of the new Cohere. In the past, everyone always worked in the same room. Without conscious effort from both office-dwellers and flex desk-sitters, there’s a risk our community could become fragmented. Isolation is bad for both groups and defeats the purpose of coworking. This post contains a quick list of reminders that I hope will help us maintain the level of communication and collaboration we’ve enjoyed in the past.

How To Collaborate With Other Freelancers

With the proper preparation and foresight, collaborating with fellow coworking members can reduce stress, improve the quality of your product, and enrich your life as a community member. This post points out some things to keep in mind when looking for a collaborator.

Sharing Your Work And (Co)Working To Share

The coworking movement is becoming huge, but it’s only one part of something even bigger–something we’ve talked about before called “collaborative consumption.” Learn more in this post.

Why Failure Is The Best Part Of Coworking

A community where everyone keeps their failures to themselves is shallow and uninteresting. It’s way more fun to be real. Life as an independent is messy and complex, and all we’ve got is each other! Here at Cohere, we want to see the roughest draft, hear the first/worst idea, and feel the pain of the client you knew you shouldn’t take. This posts explains why you should always show’n’tell us about your hot mess.

Why A Coworking Space Is Important To The Local Economy

Most people can imagine what shared office space looks like. It’s harder to understand the larger economic benefits of participating in such a space until you experience it first hand. If you’re on the fence about joining a coworking space (or just recently joined!), this post lists some big picture positive impacts to think about.

Is there an ancient Cohere blog post that really made your day? Share the link or title in the comments below!

Tips From The Coworking Community: Welcoming New Members

Welcome New Coworkers to Your Coworking Space

In our casual culture, the art of welcoming someone into a new situation seems to have gone the way of the newspaper or the hand-written note: it’s nice, but who has the time?

What we must remember as a global community is that while coworking may be as familiar as sending a text message, the idea of shared workspaces is still odd and sometimes intimidating for new or potential members. Since we’re all interested in growing our coworking spaces into sustainable communities and businesses, it seems that retaining new members plays a big part in our collective success.

I started wondering how that “first impression” of coworking plays a part in new members feeling like they belong. Are we missing an opportunity to create a lasting relationship by assuming that people can figure it out themselves? I asked 10 coworking space owners around the country to share their onboarding process for new members, and thoughts about whether or not it played a roll in new members becoming permanent members. Here’s a summary of what they said–I hope it will help us all be become better hosts and communities!

First, all of the space owners or managers that replied acknowledged that they had an onboarding process, though some were more formal than others. Alex Hillman of Indy Hall said, “the only theme I can speak to concretely is the importance of having an “Indy Hall moment” (IHM). It varies from person to person, and usually involves making a personal (non-professional) connection with at least one other member. When somebody goes longer here without having an IHM, the possibility of them not sticking around long-term increases. Looking at our last 6 months of member exits, the only people we’ve really lost were people who never got a chance to “buy in”, which is the main result of the IHM.”

I think most of us can agree that there was a moment when something unexpectedly cool or helpful occurred while we were coworking. This “moment” helped us decide that coworking was something good, and that we wanted more of it in our life. Of course, you have to feel comfortable enough in the space to reach out or participate in that moment, which is why there needs to be a process for encouraging new members to “take off their coat and stay a while.”

Liz Elam from Link Coworking shared her process for getting new members settled in, which included everything from a welcome folder to help them get acquainted with the space and surrounding area to the creation of a member profile on their website.

“Once they have the folder in their hands we ring a bell and everyone claps, whoops etc.,” said Elam. “I do think it makes a difference.  They feel like they’re part of something and official.” Elam also takes the time to introduce new members around and when a few join at one time she hosts a happy hour/mixer so current members can connect with new members. “I also recommend that they introduce themselves on Mavenlink (we use their networking feature for members to communicate) and toss out a question for members to ask them,” she said.

Most of us have member profiles on our websites, but as Craig Baute of Creative Density pointed out, making a literal member wall is an easy to spark conversation and make the community aware of new members.

“The member wall [has] fun facts about people and what they do. I notice several people drift over to it once a week or so to see if any new people are part of Creative Density. I also announce new members on the white board and remind people to give them a high-five. Overall, members pay attention and notice when new members are listed and seek them out so that this helps introduce people into the community.”

Baute also had an interesting suggestion about assigned seating for the first few days of membership:

” I recommend that new members spend a day at our high-top table where conversations usually flow and people quickly build relationships. Most members do spend a day or two at the high-top before moving off to the larger coworking floor with low tables and they end up being part of the community quicker because of it. If they don’t, I join them for half a day in the room that they choose. I figure everyone is pretty comfortable with me since I’m here all day and I might spark a conversation or connection.”

Although the general consensus seems to be that yes, having a process–however quirky–for welcoming new members makes a big difference in how quickly they become comfortable in the community, it doesn’t guarantee that they will fall in love and stay forever.

“As I think about the real life examples of the people who have done well and not so well here, I’m increasingly of the belief that the work we do in the beginning is less relevant than the person and their needs and expectations,” said Tony Bacigalupo of New Work City. “I think the onboarding is critical as a way of informing and empowering the people who will thrive and contribute, while it is less valuable to those who are more or less destined to not get much out of the experience in the first place.”

So if you’re planning new member soiree’s but people still drop out after a month or two: like we’ve said before, coworking isn’t for everyone, and its important for your community to coalesce organically. Don’t force it, factilitate it.

One key to truly facilitating a welcoming atmosphere is getting the rest of the community involved. You can hold a new member mixer, but if no one attends, it won’t feel that welcoming. You can introduce new members out loud in the middle of the space, but if everyone immediately replaces their head phones or returns to their private conversations, it’ll make the new kid want to bail as quickly as possible.

Sit down with some of your permanent members, and get them talking about their “aha” moment in the coworking community. Ask them who or what made that impression on them, and then get them thinking about how they could help make that happen for a new member. Encourage people to leave their go-to desk for a seat next to a new member; find out what their favorite lunch spot is and organize a group lunch; or simply make a point to ask them (by name) for feed-back when bouncing ideas around the room.

Also, if you or a staff member isn’t always there to welcome new members personally, make sure your community feels empowered to explain the little things that make a big difference on the first day: i.e. the grand tour, how to get online, guidelines for conference room usage, hours, printing, online resources, phone calls, keys/how to lock up, etc.

And of course, we’re all still figuring this out. There is no perfect combination of actions that will guarantee a new member will stay forever. “There’s a natural barrier to joining a new group and it’s important to overcome that and welcome people in,” said Jacob Sayles of Office Nomads. “I also think it’s easy to get comfortable and not approach each new member as something new because ‘new members’ come in all the time. Consistency supposedly helps that out but we are still working out the best ways of doing all this.”

On that note, let’s hear some ideas!

What was your AHA moment when you joined your coworking community?

How can coworking space owners/managers create the best environment for new members to have their own “coworking moment”?

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