Puedes leer este artículo en español aquí.
This is the second part of our interview with Matias Vasquez. Haven’t read the first part? You can do so here.
At this point, we must ask: How does Matias Vazquez understand coworking and how does this translate into the day-to-day experience at Sharing E.C.?
“Coworking is work that is done by hand. When a person visits the space the outcome can only be a victory or a defeat, someone who worsens or improves. Our job is to be there to help them; I am there for whatever they need.”
Many people are surprised that they do not have an internal contact email or app. “It was a deliberate decision to maintain in-person contact between the members and their staff. The truth is, although this can be seen as impractical and I know there are reasons that spaces need to communicate with their members digitally, in some spaces I have seen the disconnection between the staff and community members. When the staff who are tasked with taking care of the space’s community communicates exclusively with its members via email, then we do have a problem.” He also established protocols for the space: “Liz and Victoria [community managers] must knock on every door and speak to everyone in the space between two and three times a day.”
In this sense, Matias shares some stories of people whose spirits are raised after joining the space and how other people who have come from other spaces are surprised to see the proactivity of the Sharing E.C. staff. “Our mindset is different than that of Americans: We seek interaction, we work longer hours, and we drink and eat both in and out of the space; we want to talk with and about each other.”
And this hyper-involved method of coworking undoubtedly works for him, since according to him, the occupation of his space varies between 94% and 98%, because “people like people.”
“In Brazil we are in lockdown and only essential services are allowed to operate, such as courier services. We have an ice cream parlor within the space, so our entire building is operating legally.” Matias tells us.
Regarding their members’ situation, it seems in-line with his way of understanding coworking management and people in general. Two companies cancelled their memberships because they will be unable to operate in any way for the foreseeable future. Matias’ solution continues to be personal: “What I have are individual negotiations, I speak to each of them when they let me know they have a problem, and in this case, for example, instead of simply pocketing the monthly fee they’d already paid, I told them it’s a credit toward their membership when they come back to work.”
“We have not closed so there is a continuity in the service, however, instead of holding on to that technical detail what I do is listen to people and try to help them so that both of us win. For example, if I offer you a prorated discount between the remaining months of the year, in exchange you extend your contract or if I give you a discount you have to extend my notice in case you want to terminate your contract in a month. They have to understand how we do it, that we are together in this situation — it has to be a win-win.”
He confesses that he finds himself feeling almost like a psychologist, helping people remain calm, trying to keep them from becoming overwhelmed or panicked by the onslaught of news. “In many cases I have to have a conversation with them about what is going to happen next, because they get carried away and do not take into account what they will do with their team when the confinement is lifted.”
What else are they doing? In addition to increasing the frequency of cleaning (and using more aggressive cleaning methods), they are doing what they do best: working alongside their members, helping them sell their products, lending them a hand with whatever they are doing so that they can reduce costs, or simply being there to lift their spirits when they need it. “We help each other. I always tell them that we don’t get money if they don’t.” The people and projects are part of Sharing E.C. They are not interchangeable parts and now, when customer loyalty is important to everyone, is when old-school management skills and knowing how to deal with your people take on special importance.
If you aren’t already using Cobot as your coworking management software, give it a go! You’ll find that our features can help you run your coworking space more effectively and grow your community. Just sign up for a free trial or a live demo session. And if you have questions, our support team is all ears!
Stay Safe and take care of your loved ones.