The phenomenon of remote working took the world by storm almost a decade ago, and for good reason: flexible working hours, no commute, autonomy over methods of work, and so forth. However, what turns out to be the greatest challenge of remote working?
As per research conducted by Penn State University, feelings of loneliness and isolation are the biggest bone of contention for those missing out on a strong sense of community that a coworking office provides. Vivek Murthy, the former Surgeon General of the US, coined this as a loneliness epidemic, a socio-medical issue, which can potentially lead to a reduced lifespan and a surge in various health problems.
Research on coworking spaces by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) points towards the fact that these shared, member-based workspaces, wherein diverse and multifaceted individuals ‘work alone together’ can help in the substantial reduction of the feelings of isolation and loneliness associated with remote work, and even traditional office environments. How else has coworking helped alleviate alienation?
- 87% of coworkers meet other members for purely social reasons; 64% socialize after work/on weekends.
- 80% of coworkers turn to their peers for help/guidance for both professional and personal reasons.
- 83% of coworkers feel less lonely and more connected since joining a coworking space.
- 89% of coworkers feel happier and more emotionally stable since joining a coworking space, wherein most of them have been able to expand their social circles.
Apart from these developments, coworking also grants a bouquet of work-related benefits, which help contribute to rising levels of hard work, motivation, and success. However, if one were to scrutinize a state-of-the-art coworking space in Gurgaon, they would find that most members, above all else, attribute most value to the coworking community. This observation is not based on mere speculation: researchers at the University of Michigan found that coworking members ‘thrive’ better in comparison to traditional office workers. Social opportunities in these spaces abound, which is dire in our postmodern era characterized by individual characterization and professional ennui.
Digital nomads and freelancers are also embracing the realm of coworking, due to this very aspect of community, along with the amenities provided in the form of excellent infrastructure, potent networking opportunities, and exposure to innovative companies and trailblazing ideas. Another HBR report indicates that 90% of coworkers are extremely satisfied with their coworking office space while leading a creative and emotionally-rich existence. As coworking options are ingenious and cost-effective, the number of coworking members on a global scale is liable to cross 3.8 million by the year 2020.
This rapid escalation can undoubtedly be attributed to the social aspects of coworking. Regardless of infinite technological advancements that come their way, all humans have an intrinsic craving for one thing – genuine human connection – something that can never change. The earliest pioneers of coworking recognized this psychological factor and went on to build supportive, close-knit communities, their cornerstone being fruitful social interaction. Alex Hillman, the Co-Founder of Indy Hall, went as far as to say: “coworking is not a workspace industry; it’s a happiness industry.”
Hence, coworking is more than a collaborative space – it is an antidote to loneliness. After all, human connection can only serve to enhance happiness and productivity, and take businesses to the next level of success!