Tracking attendance in a coworking space is a funny thing. There are a slew of platforms and tools built to help do the task:
None of the ones above are specific to coworking, though, and all of them have something in common – something that each of them lack: an emphasis on saying ‘hello’. Before you get into looking for turnkey solutions for keeping track of who’s coming, you’ll only need to do 2 things as far as attendance goes:
– say “hello”
– and say “goodbye”
The most bare-bones, straightforward way of keeping track of who’s here? Just say “hi”. At Indy Hall, I use Google Spreadsheets to document the daily attendance, but the important part is simply looking up and greeting the person walking past. Want to go for bonus points? Make sure to use that person’s first name.
Saying “hello” is the foundation of taking attendance, the Golden Rule if you will, and it can’t ever be skipped. Sure, a name drop and a hand wave isn’t logistically thorough, but it’s meant to be built upon: going the analog route is, well, analog. It leaves room for a bit of error. You may forget who you’ve seen today, especially if you’re used to seeing that person every day. The more comfortable you become by seeing the same people, the less motivated you’ll feel to mark that they were here today. You’ll trust yourself to remember – “he’s here everyday” – and you’ll forget to jot names down. That’s bound to happen, but you can stop it from causing you to slip up.
Set a reminder on your phone. Every other hour, on the hour, remind yourself to take stock of who’s here right now. If you’re going to get into the habit of taking attendance, do it in a way that means you’re actively engaging the people around you. Get up and say “hi”. Who have you not said “hello” to yet? Fix that.
They’ll remember that you did. On your side, you’re just taking attendance (and making sure you’re noting the folks who should be charged for additional Day Passes, making sure you don’t drop your responsibility of collecting precious member dues). On their side, you noticed that they went to the effort of coming in. You may not realize this immediately, but that part is HUGE. Folks who join coworking spaces have this in common: they want to be around other people. They want to be noticed, maybe just a little bit, and who doesn’t? Even the guy who quietly slips in and exits with just as much stealth will be happy to have his existence noted.
Think about your favorite bar. Walking inside and having the the bartender shout your name, shake your hand, tell you he’s glad you’re here – that’s priceless. For just a moment, as soon as you step inside, you own the place. You’re the most important person here. This is your bar, the one where people know your name. You can give that to your members every. single. day. They’ll notice your warmth, and it’ll keep them coming back. It’ll have them explain to friends how great their coworking space is, why it’s more than just an office. It’ll mean those people will invite their friends to experience that, too. And for you? You’ll note who’s present while learning names and faces, which is pretty damn significant.
I’m not saying that a warm salutations will alleviate the pains of keeping track of everybody in the space, especially as you grow larger, but it’s the only place to begin. Every coworking community has varied needs depending on the very unique characteristics of the people there so use whatever works best for you. Regardless of the software you use, do not, do not, do not let your attendance-tracking-office-suite replace the most important part of acknowledging who came in today. Acknowledge loudly and publicly. Always say “hello”, always say “goodbye”.