For the past two years, since we first opened our doors, we’ve been chugging right along serving the needs of independent and remote professionals on the individual level—freelancers (with the occasional intern), remote employees, one-man startups, etc. And that’s been great; New members are quickly welcomed in and find community where they previously had none.
Last month we had our first experience bringing in an existing “team:” Two women working remotely for a consumer product group. Naturally, they selected desks right next to each other and didn’t spend much time talking with anyone else unless they were approached first. We didn’t have any serious conflicts, but I sensed some regular annoyance from them about the occasionally increased noise level, as well as the inability to reliably find space where they could take long conference calls on speaker phone. Not surprisingly, they cancelled their memberships after a month because all they could see was the inconvenience of having people around, without any of the upsides. And really, I can’t blame them. Their experience wasn’t optimal, and we failed to properly show them the benefits of coworking.
We have a team of 3 people starting on Monday, and I want to do whatever we can to make this experience different. What do you guys do to help ensure that incoming teams have what they need to be their own community, but also help them fit into the existing community rather than have to battle against it? The obvious first step that we’re definitely trying out is making sure that the team is spread throughout the space, sitting by people they don’t already know, but I was curious if there was something more we ought to try. Any suggestions?