Alex Hillman PodcastCoworking

Alex Hillman Podcasts Episode 10: Community and Team Members

Although he did not attend, Alex Hillman connected with attendees of the Coworking Asia Unconference for a Google hangout Q&A session.

How do you keep your team from burning out?

There are two categories of things expected from team members:

  • Operational duties
    • These are things that need to be done everyday such as maintaining the space, scheduling, and giving tours
  • Desire to connect with people
    • This is what brings most people into such positions.  Team members care a lot about the space, even if they are not a founder.

Typically, the more team members put in, the more they are going to get out of the space.  However, if this give and take relationship is imbalanced, problems can arise. Caring for a space is an emotional journey that takes a lot of energy.  Burnout occurs when they give and give without getting anything in return.

A good community supports its hosts just as much as a host supports its community.  When there is not an equal reciprocation hosts will burn out. A solely give relationship is not sustainable.  No one will be able to push through the little things to get to the bigger goal.

In order to rebalance this relationship if it is out of sorts, make sure team members are working towards things other than improving the space and members’ experiences.  It is important that they have the opportunity to work on themselves too.

There are three parts to reduce burnout:

  • Find out why team members want to be there in the first place.
  • Find out what team members care about and support them in achieving that.  This might mean you have to help them set time aside for it.
  • Make sure the community knows there is an opportunity for them to help out around the space as well.  This will reduce some of the emphasis on give and take.

What should you NOT to do when building community?

Most times when people first come, you want them to join your space or community.  However, the first step to community building is not getting people to join your community.  It is finding where people are and spending time with them where they are from and where they already feel comfortable.  

The biggest mistake spaces make is that all events, programming, etc. happen within their facilities.  This is the equivalent to inviting a date back to your house before getting to know them. These types of events are inviting them into the space, not the community.  It is simply not enough. Think about the kinds of events you are doing and where you are doing them. There are plenty of community spaces that are available to host events for free.  Just because you can throw events in your space, does not mean you should. Start building community outside of your own space.


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