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How to organize a Coworking Day event

Hosting a free Coworking Day is a fantastic way to activate your local remote work, digital nomad, expat and freelance community.

I've organized them in Lisbon, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The first coworking day I organized was in Gran Canaria in 2017. A new coworking space had just opened its doors and I emailed them asking if they would be open to hosting an event.

The first Coworking Day I organized in 2017

Being an organizer of a coworking day is a great opportunity to connect with the local community. I found it as a fantastic “hack” when you move to a new city and want to quickly create connections with like-minded people.

Sometimes these events can require a bit of effort to explain the benefits to operators of coworking spaces and promoting the event to enough people can be a challenge at first, but I promise you the results are worth it.

I'm going to share with you some tips and tricks I’ve discovered that help make the process easy.

Coworking Space in Timisoara, Romania (organized by Olivia Bentan)

The benefits for cowork space operators

  1. People will discover the space - not only those who come to the event but everyone who sees the event promoted online (it could be hundreds or even thousands of people in some cases)
  2. Attendees will have the opportunity to test the space for a day with some of them potentially converting to paying customers
  3. No additional costs - people will work from unused spaces/areas within the coworking space
  4. For newly-opened spaces it’s a great opportunity to take pictures of a “full house”
  5. It makes for great social media content
  6. It helps the space to build an email database: for example, they may consider giving an extra free trial day to participants who join their mailing list

At Surf Office, we’ve used coworking days many times to test new coworking spaces before becoming their partner in organizing our remote work retreats for clients.

New coworking spaces usually don't have a lot of experience hosting large groups and after hosting a coworking day they can learn what processes need to still be adjusted and what issues need to be fixed (internet bandwidth for instance).

For some, testing the infrastructure on customers that aren’t paying to access the space is a +1 benefit.

Coworking Day at B-coworking in Lisbon, Portugal (organized by Olivia Bentan)

Creating the event

  • After you find the hosting venue, you can create an event on Facebook, Meetup or Eventbrite, to promote it online.
  • I found Facebook events easiest to share as nobody has to register. Meetup is the worst and I've heard there are more people who share this opinion.
  • Create your event listing at least 7 days in advance, ideally 14, so you have time to promote it within the community.
  • For the event description, you don't have to reinvent the wheel - get some inspiration from some of these previous coworking day events in Lisbon (1, 2, 3)
  • You can test limited spots vs. open spots and see what works best in your city over time.

Promotion of the event

  • Try to find local freelance / nomad / expat / startup / remote work Facebook groups and nicely post information about the event, without being spammy.
  • If you add a personalized comment instead of just a link, you might have a higher chance of the admins approving your post.
  • Whatsapp/Telegram groups and Instagram work well too.
  • And of course, don’t forget about your personal network.

Hosting the event

  • Have a dedicated welcome host (mention the name of the host in the event description), greet people with a smile, share the wifi password, introduce the space and the person sitting next to them when people arrive.
  • Keep in mind that people will arrive at different times.
  • Some people will want to do calls (if you don’t have any dedicated call space/booths try to make sure to mention this in the event description).
  • Organize a community lunch break: either in the office (bring your own food) or at a local restaurant nearby (ask about food preferences, vegetarian/vegan, etc.).
  • People are shy - just smile, be friendly and everyone will relax and feel good.
  • Take photos for social sharing and proof - it will be much easier to organize the next event with these in your back pocket.

It doesn't have to be a coworking space

Organizing a coworking day in a coworking space makes a lot of sense and it's easy to pitch it to the owner. However, you can organize an event like this basically anywhere if you have access to some desks and an internet connection.

1. Café or restaurant ☕

Busy cafés and restaurants hate “laptop people” but those that are not so busy actually appreciate that there are some people there and the venue doesn't look empty.

Café in Timisoara, Romania (organized by Olivia Bentan)

Also, most of these places have rush hours. If you can bring in some remote workers that order a few coffees and avocado toast during sleepy hours, the owners might be quite open to hosting. Search for places that are already recommended by remote workers, like this list of coworking cafés in Lisbon.

Coffee place in Medellin, Columbia (organized by Olivia Bentan)

2. Park 🌳

It sounds crazy but why not? Many parks have seating areas available in the shade. Consider taking advantage of them for a day!

A few digital nomads in Lisbon took a mobile router and organised an open-air pop-up coworking in the park.

3. Hotel or hostel 🏨

Spaces in hotels and hostels are under utilized most of the time and for their operators hosting a coworking day is an an easy way to promote the venue.

Casual Cowork Wednesday Outdoors @ This Is Lisbon Hostel!

I Iiked the creative approach of this hostel in Lisbon that used its terrace to host a coworking day.

4. Startup office 💻

If you know about a company or startup that has an unused office area, you can propose hosting a coworking day to them. Think about their motivation and what would benefit their company with an event like this.

An ideal scenario would be a company with a product that targets a similar audience and may be able to use the event as a promotional opportunity and great content for their social media.

Coworking Day at SPX Agency in Amsterdam

One more tip: Try to run these events on a regular basis - weekly, every first Friday of the month, once a month, etc. With consistency you will build a great relationship with local venues and have the chance to make deeper connections with the people in your community.

Did this post inspire you to organize a coworking day?

Let me know on Twitter or Linkedin, or even better, share some of your pictures with me!

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Hey 👋 I'm Peter, nice to meet you.

I'm the founder of Surf Office, a one-stop shop for anyone organizing company retreats.

A few side-projects I'm involved in:  Epic Monday, Hoodpicker, and Surfpreneurs Club.

Kickstart your hospitality business by reading one of my guides for: coliving, glamping and hosting offsites.

Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Linkedin.

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