Surveys and studies consistently show that coworking makes people happier than traditional office environments.
In an extensive survey, an overwhelming 89% of people said they are happier since joining a coworking space.
Here we consider why.
Traditional work environments and productivity
Several studies suggest that in traditional workplaces, employees make poor use of their time.
Workers typically sit at their desks for eight hours a day. However, they’re productive only for an average of about three of those hours.
So what’s the point of sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week? Not much, perhaps.
To save office costs and suit their employees, many employers have introduced more flexible working arrangements.
Increasingly, employees can work from home, part or full time. They also have greater freedom in scheduling their work hours.
Working from home increases stress and loneliness
Working from home doesn’t always make people more productive. Domestic distractions and a lack of discipline can result in a lot of wasted time.
Unfortunately, working from home doesn’t appear to make people happy, either.
Some reports are even suggesting that home offices are fuelling a mental health crisis.
Work-from-home employees may find that they never truly relax. Being constantly connected can have negative effects on family life and personal health.
Working from home is also associated with a high degree of isolation.
Growth in the numbers working from home appears to correlate with increasing levels of depression, stress and loneliness.
Some psychologists are calling this the “loneliness epidemic.”
Coworking fosters community
The reality is that in order to thrive, most professionals require stimulation.
This is the psychology behind coworking. Coworking environments bring together individuals from diverse industries and backgrounds.
The physical design of coworking spaces encourages interaction among co-workers but simultaneously fosters an environment that allows employees to focus on achieving their targets.
A survey by The Harvard Business Review found that people in coworking environments:
- saw their work as more meaningful
- had greater control over their working hours
- were less lonely
- felt that they were part of a community.
Restoring the meaningfulness of work
Coworking spaces bring together entrepreneurs, freelancers, consultants and small business owners. These are people who are passionate about what they do. They want to come to work.
This helps make the work environment a positive one. It’s conducive to creativity and new ideas.
Coworking also exposes people to different perspectives and ideas.
In corporate environments, managers are encouraged to create a single “company culture”. Innovation is a buzz word, but in practice, conformity is required. The authority structure and established processes make it hard to share ideas.
In a coworking space, these factors don’t limit innovation.
It’s hard to share ideas with colleagues you might be competing against for recognition. Telling someone in a different industry, or a possible partner or client, more often becomes the catalyst for valuable innovation.
Controlling the work day
In coworking spaces, people come and go as they like. The focus is on working successfully, rather than on eight-hour days.
At the same time, the formal nature of a shared work environment may be a reason why coworking makes people happier than working from home.
Having to get dressed and “go to work” gives people a sense of purpose. It also lets them leave work at work when they go home.
Working from home tends to be lonely.
In a coworking space, there are opportunities to engage with others. You can also work alone if you’re on a tight schedule and need to get work done.
What’s important is that you can choose how much interaction you have.
Sometimes just heading to a common cafeteria or meeting area, or attending a workshop, can help to beat a feeling of isolation. Regularly being greeted by a friendly receptionist can also make a difference to your day.
Collaborative working spaces
One of the benefits of coworking spaces is that they are designed for collaboration. Conference facilities, team rooms and common areas promote interaction and community.
Each member of the community has different skillsets. This helps to foster a greater sense of identity with your profession. At the same time, it can make you more willing to share your unique skillset with others.
Today’s workplace is multidisciplinary. Innovation is the product of the cross-pollination of different industries.
Coworking fosters and promotes this multi-faceted approach to work.
Hubs for networking and meeting new customers
Not only do coworking spaces help to generate new ideas, but they also are great places to build partner networks and meet potential new customers.
Many coworking spaces organise workshops and talks that allow people to showcase their skills and learn new ones. These networking opportunities very often give rise to new business.
The Workspace offers flexible coworking packages
At The Workspace, we offer a flexible, cost-effective alternative to traditional office space.
Our coworking in Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal offers members:
- comfortable booths for working and meetings
- professionally decorated lounges, pause areas and on-site cafés
- access to fibre-optic internet and free Wi-Fi
- on-site business services, from full reception to courier services
- regular networking events
- professional meeting rooms and boardrooms with video conferencing
- use of kitchen facilities and free coffee and tea
- secure parking, and more…
You can choose the package that suits your unique needs. All coworking packages are month-to-month, with facilities offering 24-hour security and safe parking.