There’s no hiding the fact that coworking itself has been an emerging trend in the world of work, but it seems the emergence of key coworking personalities have a forceful role to play in the curation of your community. You may not fully appreciate them until you read the personality types below, but you will soon see how the person who stands at the beer tap adds more value to your space than you thought, and how the ghost of the group adds more mystery and curiosity than you could ever muster if you tried. How many of your members fit the personality types below?
This article was written by Antoine Van Den Broek. He’s operator of Mutinerie and Mutinerie Village, two coworking spaces in France. Throughout running Mutinerie for more than five years, he compiled the following personality guide:
Bernard The Boozer
Let’s start with Bernard the Boozer. He is, afterall, the earliest starter of all. He may not be in the office by 8am, but you’ll find him at the bar by 5pm without fail. After an intense day, you’ll have no choice but to join him. Bernard is immensely talented at manipulating the minds of every single coworker to believe the beer and the booze is the true manifestation of entrepreneurial magic. Despite his extravagance, you would be lost without him. As a family man, it’s only fair his great love is shared with the bar, as well as his wife and children. If it wasn’t, your coworking community would be severely lacking in warmth and solidarity. If you don’t already have Bernard the Boozer in your coworking space, actively seek him out. If you’re lucky enough to have already found him, take care of him, so that he can take care of your community.
Randy Andy maintains a sporadic appearance at Bernard the Boozer’s daily bar ritual. It’s not surprising, given his arrival at your coworking space for a day’s work is equally as sporadic. Uncertainty and spontaneity excite and ignite Randy Andy’s life like nothing else. Having just arrived from Bali, he’s heading to Rio before you know it and will spice up the journey with a quick stop in Berlin. With perfectly matted beach hair, the ocean has granted him great curls throughout those salty locks of his. Surfing, yoga, meditation - you name it; Randy Andy does it! He loves his freedom and flexibility and will run a million miles from anything that ties him down longer than 2 days. He is led by his nomadic soul, body and desires. Coworking managers, beware! You will lose Randy Andy and his collateral damage one day, inevitably sooner rather than later as the wind blows him in yet another direction.
Shining Sharon; she’s always shining with her supersonic smile. She positions herself daily in the centre of the space, under a glass roof where the light bounces of her skin and radiates outwards. When she’s not there, the space looks empty; it suddenly lacks her glowing radiance. It’s hard to say what Sharon is doing, but given her golden rays she’s no doubt powering away with more than a few highly meaningful projects. Speak to her, embrace her positivity and step into her light. Sharon is not only constantly shining, but she is also a social butterfly. Everyone is ready to give her a helping hand, and she spreads her gratefulness through an astonishingly arty instagram account. Treat Sharon like the shining star she is; everyone wants to be in her light.
Yogi Yolanda is the spiritual therapist of the space. You can count on YoYo. Whatever therapy you need, she’ll give it to you! From yoga to meditation and personal development, YoYo is your woman. Only one week after joining, YoYo got started by spreading yoga mats around the space, followed by promoting her ‘Deep Mindfulness’ slack group and delivering free coaching sessions. Many spaces already have their own Yogi Yolanda and we hope you’re making the most of it. We all love YoYo for her good vibes (apart from when she leaves us with her parakeet whilst she finds peace in an Ashram in India).
Gareth the Ghost
Is he part-time? Full-time? Is he here for his trial day? Who knows? No one! We don’t know when he arrived and we doubt we’ll know when he leaves. He is happy to sit in the place nobody else wants, where he can go unnoticed. He only leaves his desk twice a day for 58 seconds at exactly 12:43, for psychological reasons unknown to us. Despite his silence, we can guarantee Gareth is here as the security camera proves it. Although he has a gaunt look on his face, he does enjoy his work, which must be the reason he’s here. Be careful though, if you speak to him for too long you may be haunted by his life stories and very existence.
As a coworking leader, it is impossible to say precisely where the community begins and where it ends. Your coworking space has paying members, then it has keen acquaintances like Peripheral Daryl who hover on the edge of everything you stand for. Although he’s not a paying member, he’s as much of a free member as can be. His attendance at events and help with social media promotion is guaranteed. He’s best friends with all of your staff members, probably more so than your coworkers, but don’t underestimate his powers - if he’s on the edge of your community, he’s probably on the edge of many many more and what he spreads by word of mouth is invaluable.
Every happy and functioning coworking space has their own Cookie Cathy. Cathy jumps at the chance to express herself (and make us happy) through food preparation, whether it’s a national holiday, an open coworking day, a spring picnic or a coworker’s birthday. Any normal office with a Cookie Cathy simply gets cookies and cake, but at a coworking space Cookie Cathy goes as far as preparing hummus, arepas, pad thai, apple pie and quiche lorraine. And there’s no need to worry about what’s in the food as a handwritten list of ingredients is always left next to the ‘eat me’ sign.
Nobody knows what Mysterious Matt is doing, nor do they dare to ask. Behind the square glasses lies a technology genius - all you know is that he’s building futuristic apps for numerous very important people. A little reclusive, Matt sits in his nest of multiple coding devices at the very end of the communal coworking table. Although almost everyone wants a piece of his coding genius, Matt is extremely selective with who he works with (mainly nice girls, despite his nervous disposition). If you’re intrigued by his high number of clicks per seconds, defeat the temptation to look over his shoulder, or you may discover more about his obscure mission to lead a Zerg army into oblivion.
Lily is lonely. Or, should we say, was lonely. Every night, she would pray to the heavens above that these long years of isolation would finally be broken. Then, on a gloomy January evening, she came across many smiling faces on Facebook. She couldn’t believe it; those happy people where only three blocks away in a cosy coworking space. She tracked down their coworking space online and read all the blog posts about community and collaboration. Lily thought to herself “I have found the promised land!” At 8am the following day, Lily waited at the entrance of the coworking space. After that, she never looked back. She took to the space like a duck to water and now has many, many people around her... people to eat with and people to talk to. Lonely Lily is no longer lonely.