DIY Coworking
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Practical tips and tricks for building your coworking community and the things inside it.

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DIY Whiteboard: How-to Make a Wooden Clear Board

I needed a new whiteboard for our revitalized ConferEssence room. A whiteboard that was more decoration than utility but still did its job when required. All whiteboards in the whole universe are literally the worst looking things ever or cost many hundreds of dollars.

Most of the time I'm happy to click three times on Amazon Prime and have what I need delivered to Cohere's coworking doorstep. Other times, I get SUPER frustrated at how corporate everything looks and then do something dumb like believe I can DIY it for 1/8 the price in a week. This project spanned 4? weeks or more. I don't know. After the 4th trip to different hardware stores AFTER I researched all the clear board paints like IdeaPaintReMARKable and DrawIt I really had to lean in to get this board done.

Special shoutout to my friend Meagan L. who turned me on to Writeyboard's clear dry erase STICKERS. I could dispense with the panic of trying to paint a surface with clear gloppy paint or I could trick a member of Cohere into helping me apply a sticker. Always choose trickery. Always.

Supply list:

  • 4'x8' 3/8" birch veneer plywood cut down by Home Depot staff to 4'x6'
  • Borrowed Ford Explorer from mother-in-law to transport wood
  • A quart of the wrong kind of primer
  • A quart of Zinsser brand peel stop clear primer
  • A package of the wrong kind of sanding blocks
  • Power sander and 220 grit sand paper
  • 4'x6' Writeyboard clear dry erase sticker
  • Blue tape
  • A willing member to help you
  • Reclaimed barn wood (it was ridiculously expensive)
  • A miter saw you barely remember how to use
  • Nails, screws, drywall anchors, metal frame hanging sets, tape measure, pen, you mom to help you do everything
  • Eufy LED copper light string

Total Cost: $200 once I returned everything I didn't need

All told, it turned out awesome and I REALLY love it. This project is best completed over a weekend rather than piece-mealing it bit by bit like I did.

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DIY Coworking Amenities: Make Your Own Snack Vending Machine for $64
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It’s easy to get hyper-focused on what amenities a coworking space should offer. Should you have yoga? Will your members require catered lunch every day? Should you offer business consultations, espresso, hard-wire internet, parking passes, Herman Miller chairs, treadmill desks?! It’s a conversation meant to drive you nuts and designed to distract you from the actual business you’re in. Coworking isn’t about one-upping the next space with how neat your printer is. It’s about making life a little better for someone else.

I’ve been in the business of micro-improving people’s lives for eight years. It’s been a magnificent, sometimes maddening, yet always rewarding eight years.

One way I keep Cohere coworking’s offering relevant, modern and USEFUL is to pay attention.

After about the 20th instance of watching members hurry out to grab lunch and lose precious time, I decided to make their lives a little better.

Cohere is somewhat cursed by our great location in Old Town Fort Collins, Colorado. We’re in the middle of everything, which is a gift and so convenient yet we’re within walking distance of ANYTHING and sometimes anything becomes expensive and time consuming especially if you’re always running out for a $20 salad.

We have a phrase at Cohere. If you say “I can’t even” it means your day/task/boss/client/life is hard right now. If I can take your day from Can’t Even to Thank Goodness then we are winning.

So I did what any mom would and brought SNACKS. I was very clear with the members that Snack Box was a pilot and if it was unpopular, we’d discontinue it. It was not a failure and I have a wad of cash to prove it. We are 20 days in at the writing of this post and we have sold about half of the snacks and gathered $50 so I have almost recouped my costs.

Here’s how you can implement a snack box/honor system “vending” machine in your space and turn your I Can’t Even days into Oh, Thank Goodness moments.

-You probably have a sense of what your member’s dietary needs are. We have a lot of vegetarian, vegan, paleo, dairy-free and gluten-free members so snacks must be chosen carefully. I opted for lower sugar, gf snacks I could buy at Costco in bulk. I spent $64 on our first 5 snack choices. Here’s what I picked: Nature Valley Almond Butter Bars, Kind Minis, Kirkland Trail Mix, Quinoa/Brown Rice microwavable packs, and Sargento nut/cheese packs found in the fridge.

-I rooted around in my basement for a forgotten wooden bin I won at a fair.

-I figured out the price/item and added 50 cents to determine the pricing for each item.

-I modified a canva template for a school menu and branded it in Cohere’s colors. I removed the details from the sign below. If you print and laminate it, you can use a dry-erase marker to customize it with your own snacks/prices.

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-I organized the snacks, laminated the sign and printed out a list of all of the members. A clipboard is hiding behind the sign and has the list of all member’s names.

-I gave coworkers the option of paying in cash via a little cup in the box or they can just write what they got on the clipboard and I’ll add it to their invoices in Cobot.

I have deployed a paper survey next to the snack box to gather member feedback. The majority is definitely pro-snack and they have written in ideas for what they’d like in the next snack box. I’m super pleased with our new snack program and hope to continue it.