Aditya Verma, The Office Pass

We break down walls so that we can breakthrough in our businesses!” – Power of Coworking, Cynthia Chiam

By the year 2022, the co-working industry is predicted to attain a valuation of $2.2 billion, which seems to ascertain that the way of working we’ve all been used to is making a paradigm shift. As per, the current marketplace penetration of flexible spaces into India’s total office stock at 3% – is huge considering the fact that the concept of coworking is fairly new. Moreover, India’s co-working space market is set to pass 50 million square ft by 2023.

With all these insightful statistics in mind, let us take a look at Diversity & Inclusion with respect to coworking spaces. Diversity & Inclusion is critical part of Organisational Culture. How do you drive this operating out of a Coworking space? You need practices that create an inclusive workplace.

Here are 8 ideas to make your Coworking Office an Inclusive workspace:

  1. Educate Your Team

Mandatory Inclusion training help educate why inclusion is important and makes teams aware of unconscious biases.

Share inclusion goals and define ways to quantify inclusion.

Talk about real-life scenarios and give them tools to negotiate such situations.

  1. Schedule 1 On 1 time

To ensure teams don’t feel isolated, schedule 1 on 1 time with each employee. Have open dialogues so they feel comfortable and feel included. Discuss challenges they may face in the co-working space and work on solutions together.

  1. Promote Informal Mixers

We’re more likely to pass biased judgments on strangers than on people we know. To foster closer relationships, create opportunities for non-work-related conversation Eg: company lunch, picnic, or happy hours

  1. Celebrate Diversity

Your employees need to preserve and celebrate their uniqueness while being a part of the team. Celebrate diversity. Eg: To bridge cross-cultural gaps, have a shared holiday calendar that includes everyone’s special days & events; Organise potlucks where everyone brings a culturally reflective dish; Not just cultural, but the diversity of gender, sexual identity, thoughts should also be celebrated

  1. Designate Safe Spaces 

Designate one space as a safe space to create a stress-free environment. For one, it may become a space to pray; for another, it may be a space to retreat to when overwhelmed by common area activities.

  1. Plan More-Effective Meetings

Plan meetings to encourage confident participation. Eg: Share meeting material in advance so everyone can be prepared and participate; For teleworkers, invest in technology that enables them to be effective virtually; Rotate meeting timings if your team works in different time zones.

  1. Audit Company Culture Regularly

Fostering inclusivity is a non-linear process – make time to track and be consistent. Periodically audit hiring strategies, conduct skip levels/focus groups to identify discrepancies related to inclusion.

  1. Create Language Guides

Words have power. Consciously use inclusive language in all communication. Encourage your team to add their preferred pronouns to the email signature. Small changes can go a long way in building inclusivity.

study noted that companies with ethnically diverse teams have a 35% higher chance of achieving above-average financial returns compared to others. What’s good for your team is also good for your company’s bottom line!

In addition to these tips, if operating from a Coworking office, ensure that other people working there share your ideas on diversity and inclusion. Choose Coworking spaces in safe locations with easy access to metros and public transport. Offices that have ergonomically designed spaces get added points.

About the Author – Aditya Verma, Founder & CEO, The Office Pass (TOP)

Aditya drives the company’s vision, strategy and growth. He enjoys creating workspaces that have energy, soul and momentum. Workspaces that makes “working” an enjoyable experience. He wants The Office Pass (TOP) to become a platform, for individuals and companies, to find high quality, yet affordable office spaces near-by.