The Psychology of Productive Spaces: Is Coworking Healthier Than Working from Home?

Posted by James Crenshaw on Apr 29, 2024 2:09:48 PM

Welcome, weary home office warriors and cubicle-escaped telecommuters, to this month’s hot topic in the world of coworking! Are you tired of talking to your houseplants about project deadlines? Feeling the blues from blue-light overload in your second bedroom office? Let's explore if coworking spaces offer the health-boosting benefits you've been waiting for.

Benefits of Coworking: Fact vs. Fiction

Enough of the fluff: is there any proof that coworking spaces are healthier work environments than at-home or traditional offices? 

Actually, yes. According to the study “Coworking Spaces: The Better Home Office? A Psychosocial and Health-Related Perspective on an Emerging Work Environment,” published by a team of leading health and psychology experts in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, coworking spaces seem to be (far) more beneficial to our overall health than traditional at-home work environments.

“... Advantages of the coworking space were found to be very pronounced with regard to productivity, the ability to concentrate, and self-organization,​” noted the study’s authors. “... All aspects referring to the social situation as well as compatibility of family and work were rated in favor of the coworking space.”

Comparatively, coworking spaces show moderate to low psychosocial demands – that’s researcher-speak for “less likely to make you tear your hair out”. The one caveat: not all office workspaces, remote or otherwise, are created equal. 

Do you like your workspace coffee-shop busy, or do you need a mix of solitude and socializing? How about private areas for phone calls, or your very own private or shared office? Can your coworking partner accommodate all of your needs? These are important factors to consider when choosing the right coworking space.

Coworking vs. Home Office

According to the study, coworking aficionados report higher overall job satisfaction compared to home office workers (83%). Other benefits to coworking spaces over traditional workspaces as identified in the study:

General Health and Wellbeing

  • Greater sense of belonging and wellbeing 
  • More opportunities for in-person social interaction
  • Fewer complaints of headaches, backaches, and fatigue
  • Higher levels of job satisfaction
  • Greater sense of autonomy and flexibility
  • Greater sense of community

While coworking spaces offer the allure of professional socialization and ergonomically-approved furniture, privacy and noise levels can become issues. For example, many coworking locations throughout Virginia only offer common working areas without the convenience of privacy. These types of working environments may be distracting during periods where heightened focus is needed. Other coworking environments offer a diversity of private and social coworking options, including common tables and desks to private offices, telephone booths, conference rooms, roof decks, and more. Which type of environment is right for you depends on your needs.

The Verdict

Are coworking spaces the better option over home or corporate offices? They seem to be. As the study notes, the benefit you’ll see individually depends upon your needs and current working environment. 

If you’re considering making the leap, do your homework. Like any good relationship, the key to finding the right fit is balance, flexibility, and trust. Not all coworking spaces are created equal, and not all individuals have the same working needs. With a variety of options to choose from throughout Virginia, it’s important you choose the coworking partner that best aligns with your needs.

If you happen to be searching for a coworking partner in Virginia, consider giving Gather Workspaces a shot. Our community of seven coworking spaces throughout Greater Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News, and Virginia Beach was built to accommodate remote workers of varying needs, with each space offering private and social coworking options and essential amenities. Socializing when you need it; solitude when you don’t.

Book a tour at the location nearest and share what you’re looking for with one of our Community Managers to see if we’re the right partner.