A coworking space is more than just an office, but a community to help foster and nurture growth.
Mental health is the foundation of productivity.
Regardless of your occupation, a sound mind is going to provide the most creative output. Happiness leads to productivity, which can sometimes be hard to find in the workplace. Even when we’re working from home, the model for how people work has often been flawed in that their focus is on maximizing output rather than producing quality work.
When factoring in many of the other elements that are potentially hazardous to the mental well-being of workers, it can often seem like mental health takes the back seat in the workplace. Whether employees were working remotely before or are now considering it a full-time option due to COVD-19, reassessing how to be our happiest with this freedom can sometimes be a harder task than imagined.
As one of our goals is to look at remote/independent work and the benefits of coworking, we decided to start studying the impact that coworking spaces have on mental health. Considering the increase in people adjusting to remote work-life from coronavirus, we feel as though coworking could possibly help quite a bit in providing a sound working environment for improved mental health.
Here’s what we’ve learned:
The Basics On Mental Health and The Workplace
The effect of the workplace on our mental health can leave a lifelong impact.
Considering that the eight-hour workday takes up nearly one-third of our day, five days a week, the toll of what happens in that window can eat away at us.
From handling the stresses of daily tasks and office politics, to balancing your career trajectory, the mental gymnastics can be a lot. This often can manifest into common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as self-medication with alcohol or drug abuse.
According to a survey published in Harvard Health of employed 15 to 54-year-olds, 18 percent stated they experienced a symptom of a mental health disorder. While that’s not to say all of them are diagnosed with a disorder like chronic depression or clinical anxiety, the symptoms make us question just how much of an impact the modern office has on our mental health.
The majority of the stresses we have at work don’t necessarily occur because of our workspace, but rather the politics and mental hurdles that occur within it. And while our office can be a great physical space to be productive, all the extras of it can weigh down the positives. However, that’s why coworking can be a happy in-between.
What Coworking Can Help Change For Office Workers
With coworking, you’re given the autonomy to shape your workday without all the extra distractions that come with everyone being in the same place at the same time. Additionally, being able to avoid certain coworkers or distractions can be helpful, because even if it’s someone we personally like, they may not be the most productive person to be around. Office politics aside, coworking also can play a toll on the independent worker as well, and with the rise of remote work (particularly post-COVID-19), there’s already an upswing of people who are getting restless working from home.
Common Problems Of Working From Home
At first glance, working from home has always sounded ideal. As around 29 percent of Americans can work from home, COVID-19 has started to test what that’s like long-term. For those who commute into a major city, remote work has been a huge relief, enabling people to spend practically hundreds of hours more with their family. Yes, the autonomy and trust to get your work done makes a lot of people love this as the new norm, however, a lot of others have a hard time separating their work from relaxation.
Working from home can be tough for some. Especially in a high-pressure job with a lot of volume, falling the slightest bit behind can mean hours added onto the workday. Furthermore, other issues such as being easily distracted, unable to handle slight noise, or even just not enjoying your house as a workspace can all contribute to having a hard time working from home. We’ve heard and seen these plights many times before, and quite frankly, we know how much they can contribute to a bad environment for mental health.
The Biggest Reasons Why Coworking Can Help With Mental Health
After looking at the impact on mental health both remote and office environments can have, we decided to break down the biggest reasons why coworking can possibly be of help.
Here’s what we learned:
Procrastination Can Feed Into Anxiety
Having a place to work can help curb procrastination. Not only will this help with getting the job done, but it’ll also help in easing anxiety. Almost all of us have felt anxious about a deadline we’ve put off, however, that feeling of being trapped or overwhelmed while it’s happening can only add to the pressure. As noted in Inc, the difference between anxiety or procrastination can sometimes be blurred, which is why it’s important to have a place that’s specifically for work.
The nice thing about coworking is that it can give you a workspace without all the office drama and distractions. For remote workers, having a place that forces you to get out and to ‘the office’ for a certain amount of time can also be beneficial, avoiding distractions like binging on Netflix or raiding the snack cabinet. Either way, an autonomous workspace can help quite a bit with curbing bad behavior, instead electing to roll up our sleeves and going to get the job done.
Affording The Time To Be Happy Means Getting More Work Done
A big draw of working on your own is the ability to have a schedule that maximizes your productivity. In a survey on employee productivity, happiness led to a 12 percent increase in getting more work done. Coworking can be a helpful catalyst by providing a space that enables you to be productive at your peak moments; for example, if a mid-morning run after answering emails will help clear your head before a big task, or if you find yourself able to design better at night. Regardless of the case, coworking provides the space for when you want to get work done judgment-free, enabling you to optimize your schedule to find that perfect balance of happiness and productivity day-in and day-out.
The Community Can Make A Big Difference
It’s often isolating working from home, and having a community to be a part of can make a significant difference for a number of mental health reasons. As noted by a Gallup poll on remote workers, the biggest issue most reported was loneliness, reporting at 21 percent. This can contribute to a lot of other mental health issues too, such as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which socialization can help combat. Even if you’re someone that enjoys being to themselves, even just the opportunity to interact with others can make all the difference, which coworking can help significantly with.
It’s Easier To Enjoy Time At Home
Separating work from home life makes it much easier to enjoy your time relaxing. Rather than feeling like you’re ‘always on’ or constantly trapped by your work, it gives you the space to be productive, as well as leave your work at the proverbial office. As noted in the Huffington Post, 60 percent of coworkers are more relaxed at home since they started coworking, and a big factor in that is not feeling like they’re taking their work with them. Being at home should be for relaxation.
Could Coworking Benefit Your Mental Health?
Depending on your current work situation, coworking could be a big benefit to you.
Especially if you’ve found yourself as a remote worker from COVID-19, coworking could eventually be a nice break from being cooped up in the house. Additionally, the networking opportunities and community you’ll be a part of could pay dividends as well, giving you a feeling of both security and comfort. As you’re likely to be knocking out more work, you’ll also have the peace of mind that you can go home feeling accomplished. Overall, coworking can play a role in boosting your mental well-being.
If coworking is something you’d like to check out, we highly recommend setting up an appointment to see if Gather’s the right pick for you. Curated to provide the best experience for all members, we’ve worked hard on developing a community that’s inclusive and welcoming of all occupations and types. As mental health is the cornerstone of a productive mind and spirit, our aim is to create a space for everyone to thrive in their own lane, each and every day. Come see how we can be of help in that growth for the future.