7 Ways Coworking Spaces Handle Conflict Between Members

Coworking Space

Putting so many independent thinkers (all focused on separate projects) in the same coworking room would seem to cause many conflicts — but surprisingly, after talking with coworking space managers for this article — the overall theme was that conflict is uncommon. But as uncommon as it is, we can’t stop it from occasionally occurring. Here are seven of the ways some coworking space managers handle conflict between members.

1. Provide a Mediator

“Conflict is rare in the collective, since we’ve strived to build a community of like minded companies and individuals. We don’t just accept anyone who wants to join, they must fit our culture here. When conflict happens however, or someone has a complaint. We ask them to talk to our community manger, Ele, who will then try to settle the issues. Introducing a third party can quickly settle most issues.”

Ilan Nass – Chief of Marketing, The Fueled Collective

2. Tell Them They’re Welcome to Leave

“We’re lucky that as a free, first-come-first serve space, our community generally regulates itself. When a non-negotiable conflict does arise, however, we usually just explain that they are welcome to leave.”

Ashley Gallman Williams – Client Relations & Events Manager, Wix Lounge

3. Encourage Communication

“We encourage members to talk directly to each other if they have any problems. It’s only if somebody or something is a recurring source of conflict that we’ll intervene.”

Don Ball – Founding Partner, CoCo Minneapolis

4. Things Tend to Work Themselves Out

“They typically resolve amongst themselves. Sometimes they might simply use headphones. The front desk may intervene as required. Conflicts are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The more experience a front desk has with those clients, and/or with the space, the better.”

Jerome Chang – Founder & Architect, BLANKSPACES

5. Remind Them Why They’re Here

“To date, we haven’t had to mediate any conflicts between members. Should the need arise, we would implement the ‘we are all here to make money’ approach. With this in mind, let’s be respectful of others and their needs.”

Nancy Gonzalez – Director, SoTechie Spaces

6. Treat It Like a Restaurant Host

“It’s a rare thing, and generally arises when members are stressed about their own work. But, I handle it like any host in a restaurant or at a party would handle a conflict between valued customers or friends. I talk with both parties, sympathize, remind everyone of the house rules, make policy changes if necessary, and urge the members to give each other another chance, because they may have quirks, but they’re all really good people. It usually goes pretty well.”

Eva – Community Manager, Green Spaces

7. Diffuse It Quickly

“Believe it or not, we don’t have conflict between members. We curate our membership to create a collaborative environment, not a competitive one. Grindists are often interested in working together to ultimately build stronger businesses. We’re also staffed 100% of the time with some of the most hospitable and kindest people on Earth, so if and when there ever is some form of a disagreement, we’ll be able to diffuse it quickly and easily.”

Anthony Marinos – The Position Formerly Known as Sales and Marketing, Grind

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