You’ve heard the ‘work at home’ productivity buzz. What you haven’t heard is how consistently working from home often leaves remote workers isolated and lacking in a healthy community. Here are a few reasons why remote workers are leaving their homes and turning to coworking as a better alternative.
The appeals of working from home
Working from home is an attractive benefit for many workers. From the limited commute to the comfort of not having to integrate into an office culture, many consider working from home to be “living the dream.”
Most importantly, working from home offers reprieve from office distractions. The average office worker is interrupted 87 times per day, and, once distracted, it takes 23 minutes on average to regain focus. That’s a big reason why at-home workers report higher amounts of work ‘flow,’ or prolonged periods of deep, focused concentration.
The hidden costs to working at home
While working from home may seem appealing, it lacks one important maintaining quality to our overall health and happiness: consistent human interaction.
“Work serves a social purpose for most people; we enjoy socializing and simply spending time with people whom we like and trust,” says Casey Mulqueen, Ph.D., Director of Research for a Colorado-based workplace performance company. “In addition to making time at work more enjoyable, it also impacts people’s commitment to their jobs and colleagues, which positively impacts effort and performance.”
Not only is human interaction an integral part of how we gather and test ideas, it’s also an important part of our overall health. According to one study by PLOS Medicine, people with strong social relationships have a 50% lower mortality rate than those without. While intermittently working from home can help our work and overall health, prolonged periods of solitude may have physical and psychological ramifications. People need a healthy mix both to socialize, gather and share ideas then recharge and organize.
Coworking offers a happy medium
It gives remote workers a community in which to interact and socialize, while also providing members with private, temporary office spaces for rent in which to escape for prolonged ‘flow’ work. The distractions are eliminated. The community is there to encourage, interact and socialize with when you want.
Strong communities yield more networking opportunities
Networking offers constant benefits to working professionals. Small-business owners and contract workers rely on networking for clients. Large business workers use networking to expand business opportunities. Networking is a worker’s best means of acquiring new clients, finding business partners and staying in-touch with local tribes and communities.
“In a 2014 study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, it was discovered that among the 165 lawyers at a large North American law firm, those who networked effectively both internally and externally, were highly successful,” writes Oksana Tashakova, reporter for Entrepreneur, in her article ‘How Networking Can Increase Your Business’ Net Worth’. “They were better able to bring business into the firm and get themselves assigned to choose clients. Moreover, those who avoided networking had fewer billable hours than their peers.”
In other words, networking matters. Without the proverbial water cooler, there’s more of a need for remote workers to make an effort to seek out viable networking opportunities.
Coworking plants you in the middle of a vibrant business network
Coworking spaces act similarly to incubators, where members in need of a specific skill set often find it in their neighbors. It’s not uncommon for small businesses to grow within coworking spaces through internal networks. Coworkers often team up to expand businesses opportunities, or utilize the budding social network for a stable, supportive community. Coworking organizations even host networking opportunities for members through parties and special events.
Furthermore, coworking spaces can be resources for finding new networking opportunities outside the office. You never know which network the professional next to you is a part of. In many cases, they’re connected to groups that may help grow your career.
Meeting Spaces to Impress
At-home workers lack the meeting spaces to attract new business
Your home is no place for a meeting. It lacks the space and amenities to host a proper business meeting. The time you spend preparing your home for meetings takes away from the actual work, and can get in the way of at-home relationships. Local coffee shops may be an alternative for one to one meetings, but lack secure meeting spaces in which to gather uninterrupted and host robust presentations.
Coworking offers vibrant meeting spaces to supplement your office space for rent
Choosing between numerous meeting locations of various sizes, with large screens and white boards for robust presentations, free coffee, and, in some cases, secure outdoor meeting environments, coworkers never have to worry about where to hold their next business meeting. Meeting rooms can be reserved remotely, and are maintained by your coworking host.
Coworkers can focus solely on the project at hand without having to worry about a secure space. Supplementary amenities are also provided for casual networking evencalts, such as a kitchen stocked with utensils, beer taps and catering discounts your coworking host can provide.
Separating Work and Home Life
At-home workers often find it difficult to separate work and home life
Having a secure space to recharge is an important part of maintaining high levels of production. When you’re unable to leave your workplace, that line can get blurred. This is why so many at-home workers feel overworked.
“It took a while to grow accustomed to working out of a home office after spending my days among 550 peers since I was fresh out of school,” writes author Maria Tabaka in her Inc.com article ‘It’s Not Easy to Disconnect When You Work from a Home Office’. “At first, it felt like a taste of freedom, but before long it grew into a megadose of isolative experiences. I had allowed my workaholic behavior to set in as my home office beckoned 24/7…. With the added burden of stress, decision-making, and the management of clients and employees you may struggle to turn off work and spend time nurturing your personal life.”
The problem of ‘disconnecting’ is common among remote workers. Psychologically, our brains need to establish a separation of work and play to give us time to recharge. Without that separation, our work travels with us long after we intend it to.
Coworking spaces are ideal for establishing a consistent work / life balance
They give remote workers a space dedicated to work in the form of office space for rent, meeting spaces to entertain and attract clients and business partners, and keep the line between work and home separate.
To put it simply, coworking offers members peace of mind. That’s certainly an opportunity worth exploring for at-home workers.
Coworking at Gather
Gather is a co-working community serving fearless leaders, passionate teams, seasoned entrepreneurs, and collaborative innovators. Yes, we have beautiful and stylish spaces, chock full of vibrant energy and motivated people… all fueled by incredible, local coffee. But, it’s bigger than that. It’s the people – and how we connect – that make your business better.