The Downside To Working From Home, And Five Benefits of Co-working To Your Mental Health
It’s well documented that co-working spaces are on the increase. All over the world, new spaces are opening up, with the number of co-working spaces worldwide soon to hit 20,000 and reach 25,968 by 2022.More and more start-up businesses and freelancers are turning away from working at home and moving into these communal business spaces, with co-working communities becoming increasingly busy and diverse. Such a huge increase in spaces must mean that they are providing real benefits for their users. However, to fully understand the appeal of co-working spaces, one must look beyond the benefit of having a physical space to work and look at the broader personal benefits.
It has been widely reported that working from home, whilst hugely beneficial to some people, can have a detrimental affect on the mental health of others. Some at-home workers have reported drops in motivation, as well as increased anxiety and stress. Having your home as your office can lead to blurred boundaries, meaning that you could feel a constant pressure to be working whilst at home, and be unable to switch off and take the downtime you need to de-stress and take care of your own mental health. Similarly, working alone at home can lead to a real sense of loneliness and social isolation. Loneliness, whilst not a mental health issue in itself, can exacerbate existing issues or trigger problems.
Whilst working from home works perfectly for many people, it may not suit others. If loneliness, social isolation, or an inability to switch off are hampering your ability to work from home, then co-working could be an excellent solution. Here are five reasons why co-working could benefit your mental health!
- Co-working reduces isolation.
Whilst this may seem like the most obvious statement in the world, it does need to be said! In venturing out and working in a co-working space, you inevitably reduce social isolation. You network, you meet new people, and even just by being around people you reduce your sense of isolation, which brings me on to my next point
- Making new social contacts
The people you meet in co-working spaces aren’t just other co-workers- they can also become friends. Loneliness and social isolation isn’t just a work based issue- if you’re in a new area, or just lost touch with friends, co-working spaces can be a fantastic place to connect with new people who have similar interests.
- Being around other freelancers and start-up companies
The benefits of being around other new companies and freelance workers may not be immediately obvious- but the benefit is real. It can be incredibly cathartic to see other small businesses experiencing the same stresses and difficulties as you. It’s always good to know that you aren’t alone, to have someone around who empathises, and this can reduce the stress and pressure you put on yourself. Rather than those unrealistic images of everyone else’s success you measure yourself against, you’re surrounded by other people going through the exact same problems. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved! This leads us neatly on to….
- Being able to ask for advice and help
Having others around you who understand your problems isn’t just beneficial from a not-feeling-alone perspective. It can also provide an invaluable source of informal advice and idea sharing. This reduces the pressure on you to have all the answers, and allows for idea sharing and great personal and professional connections to grow!
- A structured day and external work-space
One of the biggest issues that people who work from home face is an inability to switch off. In having a set work-space outside of your home, it becomes easier to separate work from home. Once you leave the office, the pressure to answer those emails is off- and that can definitely apply to co-working spaces too! In separating work from home, it can give you more space to look after your mental well-being
Co-working as a concept can provide real, practical benefits to your mental health. However, at LAB, we do like to go the extra mile. Our community focus aims to support you in whatever way you need, and we also have yoga every Monday and Wednesday evening, which is absolutely free to all our residents.
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