Creating a community
My role is to be the Community Manager at The Projects, Brighton’s first co-working members’ club. Having been there since the brand’s inception, I had a vision, even before the refurbishment of the building was finished, of exactly how I wanted the community to work there. The problem with a lot of co-working spaces is that they’re designed purely to make money for the owners of the company. Freelancers and small business owners are sold the idea that they’re going to meet like-minded people each day, create new connections and be able to share skills with other co-workers if they come and join a co-working community. The reality often is that all they end up with is a small amount of desk space in a room / building filled with other people getting on with their own work and no guidance or support when it comes to really getting to know those around them. Building a true community takes nurturing and perseverance from all of those involved as well as someone who is dedicated to managing that community on an ongoing basis. I have worked hard to make the environment at The Projects one that really does encourage collaboration. From introduce people to one another where I see the potential for new work or friendship connections to setting up coffee mornings for all of our members to come and talk to one another, assisting people in the development of their own projects as well as those which require the help of other members, my most important daily tasks are always those which require me to strengthen and develop the community in the building. I have set up a members’ portal to showcase events as well as discounts for local businesses and it also includes links to Slack so members can chat to one another. I create a weekly email newsletter which features a member of the week each week to showcase the wonderful people we have working in our building as well as provide members with information about upcoming events and news. I also produce a weekly printed newsletter which I leave copies of around our building so visitors can have a look through what we’re doing, too. I have received praise for my work so far which only encourages me further to continue on this journey of building a true co-working community.