Lack of social connection has been proven to be a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.
Strong social connection, on the other hand, leads to an increased chance of longevity and strengthens your immune system. Connection also boosts our mental health and wellness, including lowering levels of anxiety and depression.
As Dr. Emma Seppala points out, “People who feel more connected to others…have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them. In other words, social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.”
Coworking may not be a mental health cure-all, but it does contribute significantly to social connection, decreased loneliness and wellness.
Coworking and Connection
A study by Emergent Research and GCUC found that:
- 87% of respondents report meeting other coworking members for social reasons
- 54% say they socialize with other members after work and/or on weekends
- 82% of respondents reported that coworking has expanded their professional networks
The study also found that joining a coworking space is a good way to boost feelings of wellness, with 89% of respondents reporting that they are happier since joining a coworking space, and 83% reporting being less lonely since joining a coworking space.
A study of how employees thrive found that people working out of coworking spaces “report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale.”
Coworking for Everyone
Despite the abundance of social interaction and engagement that takes place in coworking spaces, not everyone is comfortable in high energy workspaces. But it turns out that coworking has the potential to work for anyone.
When asked whether they categorize themselves as more extroverted, more introverted or a mixture between the two (ambivert), nearly half of the respondents to the Global Coworking Survey describe themselves as ambivert. One in three consider themselves more extroverted, and one in five as more introverted.
Included in the Global Coworking Survey findings are the following details about introverts, extroverts and ambiverts in coworking spaces:
- Introverted members are more likely to enjoy relaxed and small spaces
- Members who describe themselves as more introverted are not fans of completely isolated workspaces
- The overwhelming majority of introverted members decided on their own accord to work in a coworking space
- Extroverted members feel most strongly connected to their coworking community
- Coworking spaces boost the self-confidence of extroverted members
- Coworking spaces enjoy their highest ratings from ambiverted members
Happier and Healthier Members
Coworking spaces are full of remote workers, independent professionals, freelancers and people who are otherwise self-employed. A recent FreshBooks study found that self-employed Americans are “happier, healthier and have no desire to return to a ‘regular job’ anytime soon.”
The self-employed surveyed report high levels of well-being, including:
- 96 percent have no desire to return to a ‘regular job’
- 7 in 10 say they have better work-life balance
- 61 percent would be happy with their achievements if their career ended today
- 55 percent say they have less stress
- 54 percent say they are healthier
- 27 percent spend more time outdoors and travel more
Coworking and Mental Wellness
The benefits of self-employment on mental wellness and happiness are clear—and coworking further increases workspace wellness.
When you consider that coworking also increases productivity and addresses the biggest challenges of remote work, there are plenty of reasons to give it a try.
Pacific Workplaces has 17 shared workspaces across California—including coworking in Santa Cruz, Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento. Find a location near you.
by Cat Johnson, a content strategist, storyteller and coworker at NextSpace Santa Cruz