Coworking is about people, HOSTING is about your people. The people hosting are the personification of your space, this is how you create an atmosphere and ensure everyone who walks through your door “gets it”.
The magic fairy dust that makes The Melting Pot so special comes from the hosting team. I took off my fairy wings at the start of this year to step back from hosting and work on other projects, but even with such a big change of line-up in the team the magic lives on because Phillip, James, Anna and Stephen make sure the relationships stay strong! The hosting team look after the many varying needs of our community, from organising social events to providing a listening ear during a tough week, sharing exciting Member news with our networks to keeping the space in ship shape. Hosting is a balancing act of troubleshooting, community building, chatting and the 100s of small tasks that keep things running smoothly.
Ultimately hosting is about ensuring people feel part of something, 95% of Members at The Melting Pot feel they belong to a community.
Hosting is built on authentic relationships, it’s much more effective and enjoyable when you approach it with an open heart. But, the other secret of hosting is meticulous systems! When you have such a broad range of responsibilities it’s essential to have processes in place that stop you dropping balls. Here are a few tools you can utilise:
Member Inductions: This is an opportunity to thoroughly introduce new members to the rules of the space and the opportunities that come along with their membership. It also means that you give every members some focused attention, you can get to know them a little better and they’ll feel more comfortable having made a proper connection with one of the friendly hosts.
Checklists: Compile all those pesky little jobs into an enormous checklist so you don’t have to store them in your brain. It might not keep you completely on top of everything but at least you know where to look when you get that sinking feeling you’ve forgotten something… Which reminds me there’s some plants that need watering!
Hosting rota: A rota will help you make sure someone is always around for members and visitors to the space. Ideally you’ll be able to position this person at the front desk so they can give everyone a warm welcome. This also means hosts know when they need to be front facing and when they have a bit more time to get into head down mode.
Team training: When you have a vision for the culture of your space turn this into some staff training. Make sure everyone who takes responsibility for creating atmosphere understands why they’re doing it and how they can do it most effectively.
The way you organise the hosting of your space can vary depending on the size of your staff team. You might want to collaborate with your members and invite them to join in with hosting, reward them with free hours and eternal gratitude. If you have limited staff capacity to host the space you should consider putting measures in place to create the right vibe, this could be including some community building suggestions for members in their induction or finding innovative ways to impart the values of your space. You might have dedicated members of staff who are in every day to create the culture of your space. If you’re smart you’ll also load them up with revenue generating tasks like managing venues for hire.
Every space needs a bit of fairy dust but make sure you don’t run out of magic by looking after your people with systems and processes that make their lives a bit easier!
The Coworking Canvas
This blog is part of a series demystifying our Coworking Canvas – a practical tool for developing the 6 key areas central to a thriving coworking community. The canvas was designed by our sister organisation the Coworking Accelerator drawing on over a decade of experience building The Melting Pot. Get in touch to find out how to learn from our team, who will show you how to apply these tools to your coworking venture.
Cleo Goodman is Communications and Social Impact Manager at our mother organisation The Melting Pot.
Cleo started off at TMP as a host, community building, managing the events venues and running the learning events programme. Now, she manages our communications and measures the social impact of coworking at TMP and our incubation programme for social entrepreneurs Good Ideas.