Business, Culture / 11 Dec 2018
Common Values: Developing Community in a Co-Working Space

Shared values and the ways in which we approach social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and other common ground can be ways to develop community in a diverse co-working space. Co-working spaces can seem scattered and fragmentary, with people working independently and on their own unique schedules, or working freelance gigs, remote work assignments, or developing entrepreneurial businesses. Co-working spaces are particularly effective for artists and other creatives who need to spend a significant amount of unplugged time in the studio. But, many hope for more community engagement from their workspaces, and developing projects related to common goals and values is one way to get that.

Community Gardens

If there is any small amount of outdoor space that can support a community garden, planning, planting, upkeep, and harvesting are very effective community building activities. Some community gardens are part of seed-saver networks, growing heirloom and endangered seeds. Others work the tiny garden plots to provide fresh produce to shelters. Some community gardens partner with job training to give teenagers a taste for fresh food. If the goal is simply to get out of the office and into the sunshine for a few minutes, that’s a good goal.

Food insecurity is of importance around the world, with the majority of food insecure being children and the elderly. Combined with food deserts–large stretches of urban America with no access to grocery stores and fresh food–food insecurity is growing with the urban populations. Many opportunities exist to work with the challenges of food insecurity. From traditional food banks to weekend gleaning in apple orchards, and from mobile farmer’s markets to researching and writing letters to representatives about food insecurity, as well as access to grant writing for community organizations, there are opportunities for those with a diverse range of interests and skills.

Finding a Cause

The benefits of creative work and the joys of the Maker’s Movement have taught us all that creative, hands-on work is good for the spirit and mind. Creativity provides a unique ability to learn new ways of problem-solving as adults. Art classes, a small studio space, rotating art exhibits in the coffee shop, t-shirt design contests, a concert series from community members who play, and other creative community building can give our over-taxed minds a break from the online and work world. Many who work in the creative fields enjoy working on projects to support a favorite cause. With common values or goals, a diverse group can choose a project and enjoy watching the proceeds go to a favorite cause.

Community building activities are especially important in a co-working space, where diverse people and schedules can lead to a loss of the community that once existed in workspaces. Consider spearheading a common goal, and see where it takes you.

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