This is an article which explores the potential health benefits of using a Coworking Space versus a traditional office or working from home.
What Is Coworking?
Coworking refers to a relatively new work-environment where everything from freelancers to Fortune 500 Companies work together in a mix of office, desk, and open workspace. A Coworking Space is distinguished from traditional offices and people working from home.
You may recall, before the pandemic, one of the big questions on everybody’s mind was what it would be like to work from home en masse versus the traditional office. We genuinely believed only working from home would be the best.1 “Oh!” we thought, “To not commute! To wear one’s jammies to meetings! What fun!”
For better or worse, post pandemic, we can probably all agree we have learned what it is like to work from home. Sure, we were productive in the beginning. But then, our annoying roommates—i.e. our families—turned out to be less than ideal co-workers2. We learned that “there is a significant increase in psychological stress and a reduction of work satisfaction with increasing isolation.”3 (However, we can also, probably, mostly all agree that it is awesome work in one’s jammies.)
Pre-pandemic, Coworking Spaces were starting to gain a lot of interest as flexible workspaces, an in-between solution from working at home and the traditional office. This hasn’t changed post-pandemic, but what has changed is the way we think about work. We now know conclusively that “increasing isolation” sucks, but that it is still better than the traditional office.4 Yikes.
Now that we’re getting back in the swing of things Coworking Spaces are definitely the place to be because they mesh freelancers, remote workers, and office companies. We have discovered just how important it is to work with each other, and we’re working on new ways of doing it. It’s awesome.
Is Coworking Healthy?
Getting right to the point, there are some gaps in the data due to the pandemic: No study has yet shown that a Coworking Space is going to cause any benefits to your ‘health’ versus a traditional office. In fact, the studies that have been done don’t show any difference between the ‘health’5 of a traditional office versus working from home or working in a coworking space at all.6
That makes sense, right? After all, it’s up to the individual whether they want to make the effort to do the things one must do to make oneself “healthy.” You know, all the things the kids are doing these days—counting their steps and standing at desks and whatnot.
What the data does show is that coworking spaces unequivocally support a sense of growth. “People who belong to [coworking spaces] report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. This is at least a point higher than the average employees who do their jobs in regular offices.”7 Plus, a whopping average of 89% of people who previously worked from home report that coworking spaces help them have better self-organization, feel more productive, have more social interactions, and even have higher overall job satisfaction.8
So, are you going to join a Coworking Space and suddenly shave two minutes off of your mile or drop 30 pounds in all the right places? Probably not. (Speaking from experience, there are just as many opportunities to eat donuts in a coworking space as in the traditional office.)
What is undeniable is that there is something special and unique about some coworking spaces that give them a vibe that can change the whole way you think about work.
It’s All About Community
The most important part about any coworking space is the community. Is that surprising?
The biggest difference between a Coworking Space and a traditional office, aside from location, is that Coworking Spaces house multiple companies ranging in size from single-member LLCs to 50+ corporations and larger.
Coworking spaces that focus on community actively create opportunities to foster new relationships. Instead of going to the office every day and talking about the same things with the same people, you are as likely to be working next to—”coworking”—with a CEO of a fortune 500 as a graphic designer. That chance, in practice, is pretty exciting.
Conversely, people coming from the other direction—from working at home to coworking—report everything from better self-organization (92.2%), to feeling more productive (89.1%), to having a higher overall job satisfaction (84%).9 Don’t those numbers sound fake? But it’s true!
Perhaps one of the most important lessons of the last two years is how precious community is. We yearn for a place where, “everybody knows your name.” Thanks to the ever ongoing progression of technology, and a little bit of cultural flexibility,10 we are beginning to thrive in new and fantastic ways. It is now possible to work near home in well-designed coworking spaces, which promote productivity, organization, and spark creativity by being able to work with others that you would never see in a traditional office setting.
Coworking Promotes Health
“People who use coworking spaces see their work as meaningful…The people we surveyed reported finding meaning in the fact that they could bring their whole selves to work… [and] because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in.”11
Perhaps the key idea in the Spreitzer article is the idea of “meaning.” Finding meaning in work has become a key motivator of every generation since the millennials. We want to believe in what we are doing. To be in a place where everyone is working on something, that sure is something.
In a coworking space, and on any given day, you are as likely to spark a conversation with a solopreneur pioneer in the field of online psychology, as well as chat with a medical doctor or an instructor of spirituality and personal transformation. The thing they all have in common is that they believe in their work. It really is something.
While this is certainly one Coworking Space’s opinion, it seems that having a greater sense of “meaning” in one’s life could certainly be seen to promote health and productivity.
Why do people thrive in Coworking Spaces? We’re going to direct you to the excellent article in the Harvard Business Review which has been frequently cited in this article for the full answer.12
Why should you make some time to visit Thrive Workplace? Because we focus everything on creating an innovative office and coworking community which makes health, wellness, and productivity a priority.
There are four beautiful Denver-Metro locations, all of which boast everything from modern design to stunning views of the frontrange. We put Customer Service and member experience before absolutely everything to make sure our members can do their best in an environment in which ‘achievement’ and ‘excellence’ are the norms.
Schedule your tour, and come in for a free day of coworking soon.
Thanks for reading.
- Robelski, Keller, Harth and Mache. “Coworking Spaces: The Better Home Office: a PSychosocial and Health-Related Perspective on an Emerging WOrk Environment,” INternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. July 2019.
- Note the hyphen in “co-working” which denotes your co-workers in a traditional office setting.
- Ibid., 5.
- Ibid., 4.
- ‘Health’ as it is measured in a physical sense. Your physical health and well being, nutrition, burning calories and exercise.
- Ibid., 11.
- Spreitzer, Bacevice, and Garrett. “Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces,” Harvard Business Review, September 2015. 1.
- Robelski, 13. Average of 4 statistics.
- Robelski, 13
- For example, commuting to the office every day on the one hand or staying home every day on the other.
- Spreitzer, 2.