By Shlomo Silber, CEO of Bond Collective
It’s not every day that a CEO sits at the front lines of his company. Here at Bond Collective, we try to do things a little different and wanted to see what that looked like. We wanted our very own CEO, Shlomo Silber, to experience first hand what it’s like to be a Community Manager of a coworking location.
Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal?
Well, let us explain...
Being one of the busiest and community-oriented locations, we chose Shlomo to sit at the front desk at Bond Gowanus for the morning. Community Managers are the first point of contact that guests, members and prospective members see when they walk in the door. It’s an incredibly important position to be in, so we thought it was a great idea for him to experience it first hand. Community Managers are responsible for essentially everything that happens under the roof of their location: from events to IT solutions to facilities cleaning to sales. It’s a well-versed job that certainly can’t be done by just anyone.
After being a few minutes late to his first day on the job (we gave him a free pass), Shlomo dove right into being the manager of Bond Gowanus. While our current Community Manager, Drew, sat at the desk with him for support, Shlomo took on anything and everything that was thrown his way. For example, a couple minutes into his new role, a member was having difficulty printing something important, so he quickly went to the basement and (to our surprise) fixed the problem within minutes.
Throughout the morning Shlomo handled everything from greeting guests to restocking the honor bar to giving a prospective member a tour. He really did seem to enjoy himself too! After he finished his first day on the job, we asked him a few questions:
How did you feel sitting at the front desk and being the first point of contact for your brand?
It felt empowering, yet scary! Knowing I am the first person everyone sees when they walk in the door, is kind of terrifying and I realize that a lot of responsibility falls on Community Manager’s shoulders. Someone could walk in the door and ask them a million questions about the space and they might be in the middle of processing a new member move in- all at once! I’m impressed how our Community Managers are able to think quickly on their feet, while keeping calm, cool, and collected. It’s certainly not as easy as it looks.
What was your favorite thing you had to do?
I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like, but I really enjoy just interacting with our members. I love learning about their backgrounds or a new product they are working on or even where their kids go to school. It was really nice seeing folks walk in to start a brand new day and being the first person to welcome them to their workspace. It truly is the input and experience of our members that helped develop our brand towards what we envision it to be.
What was your least favorite?
I’d have to say getting asked to help fix one of our printers was terrifying. I’m not a big tech guy and have never been, so I was really trying a bunch of different things hoping they would worked. Afterwards, I’ll admit it’s very gratifying when the member is so thankful for your help/amazed I was able to do it! Little interactions like that can go so far in our business, and Community Managers really know what they are doing to fix such issues on the fly.
Did any tasks or activities that needed to be done surprise you?
Honestly, understanding and talking with Drew/Chrystina to go over what needed to get done in a single day opened my eyes. Like I said before, walking into the space and casually chatting with them (what I normally do on any given day), I had no idea how long their to-do lists were. One of the tasks that most surprised me was that the Community Managers handle all IT operations within their location: from WiFi to printers to managing the supply levels and speed. The set of skills each Community Manager carries with them is so robust and they are all such valiant resources to the community. To say I am thankful for what they do for members each day is an understatement!
Did it change your perspective on the Community Manager role? If so, explain how.
Completely. From an outsider's perspective, one wouldn’t have the slightest idea that a Community Manager could be juggling ten tasks at once. It’s hard to imagine someone working the front desk, greeting guests, doing sales, IT operations, planning events and even managing a facilities team. Our Community Managers do an outstanding job of keeping everything that goes on within their location under control, while also staying organized. My respect for Community Managers definitely grew as I went through this experience.
All in all, I am so happy I got to experience half of a day as a Community Manager at Bond Gowanus. Sitting at the front desk truly help me understand and appreciate the role of a Community Manager at each of our locations from FiDi to Flatiron to Gowanus. Working from the frontlines each day is no easy task. Not only that, communicating and working with the members on their IT issues or checking in guests or even giving a tour is on Community Manager’s daily agenda. I don’t know about you, but the next time I see a Community Manager at the front desk, I am going to thank them for all that they do.