Coworking’s popularity is exploding because it gives freelance, remote, and independent workers the opportunity to network, collaborate, and chat around the water cooler. It’s all about community. One of the best ways you can attract people to your space is to host events that provide that sense of community.
Here are 21 event ideas for coworking spaces.
1. Demo days
Host a day for startups and individuals to demo what they’re working on and get feedback from the rest of the community. For example, START Houston has participants fill out this form to schedule a demo day.
2. Monthly classes
What knowledge and skills do your members need? Small business accounting? Social media marketing? Public speaking? Coordinate with a local expert (maybe even one of your members) to offer a series of monthly classes.
3. Panel discussions
Invite members of your coworking space and the community at large to participate in panel discussions on hot topics like how to get financing, how to scale, and even how to be productive when working remotely. Blue1647 in Chicago keeps their calendar on their homepage, making it easy for anyone who wants to view or schedule events.
4. Daily morning standups
Daily standups are standard in agile tech companies. They are gaining steam in other types of companies as well as ways for individuals to focus their attention and get feedback on what they’re doing that day. So, put on the coffee a little early and invite your members to grab a cuppa and share what’s on their plate. This site shows how you can implement Scrum-style daily standups in your coworking space.
5. Weekly morning breakfasts
Once a week, shake your morning up a bit with breakfast and tech talk. For example, LiveNinja in Miami hosts Waffle Wednesdays, a breakfast networking event for the local tech community.
6. Weekly evening happy hours
Martini Mondays, Thirsty Thursdays, Friday Beers — Alcohol is a great social lubricant (science says so), and a weekly happy hour gives your members the chance to mingle and talk about their work, their lives, and just whatever’s on their mind. Once in a while for a twist, designate a theme: Nerd Night, Sake Night, Costume Night, whatever speaks to your audience.
7. Venture capitalist guest speakers
Invite a local venture capitalist to your coworking space to talk about funding. Don’t forget to leave some time for networking at the end! CapitalFactory in Austin, Texas, integrates its coworking space with features more commonly found in incubators, with a lot of opportunities to meet investors who can help accelerate their member businesses.
8. Bounce hours
This great idea was pioneered by Liz Eliam of Link Coworking in Austin. On Fridays, members gather in a circle and toss around a beach ball. Whoever holds the ball has five minutes to bounce ideas off of the rest of the group. Read more on the Grasshopper blog.
9. Food truck extravaganzas
Another great one from the Grasshopper blog. If food trucks have taken over your city, organize a weekly lunch trip to explore the newest craze.
10. Brown bag lunches
Once a week, encourage everyone to stay in for lunch and view a presentation or just talk about a pressing issue. RAIN Eugene, a regional accelerator in Oregon, recently connected the coworking community with a local small business development organization around the Brown Bag lunch theme.
11. Leadership workshops
Partner with a local leadership consultant to provide leadership workshops for your members. Impact Hub offers leadership courses like this one at many of its facilities across the United States.
12. Early morning runs or yoga
Nothing gets the brain going like exercise. Once a week, bring in a yoga teacher or organize an early morning group run. 1920C in San Francisco provides yoga to its members every week.
13. Wine and work sessions
According to a tantalizing new study, wine combined with exercise is a recipe for heart health. So, run in the morning and then head to a local cafe in the afternoon for a wine and work session.
Tech and other meetup groups are always looking for new spaces to gather. Opening your doors once a month or so to a meetup group is also a great way to attract new members.
15. Monthly game nights
Once a month, break out the board games. Open up your coworking space to your members, their families and friends, and even the community at large. Orange CoWorking in Austin started a monthly recurring game night that they open to non-members for a small fee.
16. Free pass days
Once a quarter, offer a limited number of free day passes to non-members. Giving new people a taste of what your space has to offer is the best way to convert them into paying members. Impact Hub uses this strategy well. Here’s an example from their Berkeley community. You can even use visitor reception software to connect visitors with the right people.
17. Tech talks
Get involved with your local developer community by hosting tech talks. Don’t forget the food! You’ll be amazed at the goodwill you can generate with a couple of pizzas and a case of beer. Here’s an example from The Profile coworking facility in Vancouver, BC, of a successful tech talk panel discussion they hosted back in 2014.
Partner with a local business (perhaps a founder who is a member of your coworking space) and host a weekend hackathon. Adria Richards has a fabulous Quora post on what makes an awesome hackathon.
19. Entrepreneur talks
Invite local entrepreneurs (again, this could be members) to tell the story of their success, including the obstacles they encountered and the lessons they learned along the way.
20. Pitch practice
This is a super idea from Atlanta’s Hypepotamus. Every week, they host a meetup to help entrepreneurs practice their 30-second and 3-minute pitches.
21. Launch parties
Did one of your members just launch a product? A website? An album? Throw a launch party. This will give your members a chance to celebrate one another’s success and increase your exposure in the your local community.
For more tips for fostering community in your coworking space, download our free eBook: