A common refrain in coworking circles is that working in shared space is way better than working from home. Coworking boosts productivity levels, it offers business amenities, such as printers and smart whiteboards, and it gives independent professionals access to meeting rooms, event space and places to bring clients and collaborators.
But there’s another aspect that may be the most important feature of coworking: it gets you out of your house and into the world among fellow professionals, friends and colleagues.
The Loneliness of Working From Home
One downside of the rise of the independent workforce is that many independent professionals are more isolated. Working from home can be liberating…and it can also be incredibly lonely.
Working from home, by yourself, can put you in a funk—and you may not recognize it right away. Here are six signs to help you recognize when your home workplace may be causing sadness, depression and a feeling of disconnection.
1. Lack of Productivity
Working from home doesn’t have to mean a decrease in productivity. In fact, with a growing number of companies turning to remote teams, the idea is that you can be as productive at home as you can in an office.
But that’s not always the case. If you find your productivity dipping with mindless scrolling becoming your default mode along with frequent trips to the fridge when you’re not even hungry, or if you’re not keeping up with your to-do list, you may need to get out of the house and shake up your work routine.
2. General Feeling of Sluggishness
There’s something about getting up, showered and dressed in the morning that signals to your body and brain that a day is about to happen. If you find yourself wandering from the bed to the coffee pot to the computer and your energy level doesn’t rise much from there, you’re definitely becoming a work-from-home slug. Give yourself a little separation between work and home to help boost your energy and spirits.
3. Social Media Doesn’t Help You Feel Connected
We’re not sure scrolling through social media for hours actually helps anyone feel better about anything. And we’re certain that it doesn’t help you feel connected. If you’re a work-from-homer, be sure to touch base with real humans now and again to remind yourself that there’s a whole world out there that has nothing to do with screens, likes and shares.
4. Feeling Isolated
Humans are social creatures. We literally could not survive without each other. So isolating at your kitchen table or home office while the days and weeks roll by is just generally not a great idea. And chances are good that you’ll feel a sense of being trapped and isolated when you do.
Even the most introverted among us need to feel connected—just in different ways than extroverts. If you’re feeling isolated, get out of the house asap and rejoin your species out in the world.
5. Personality Changes
If you used to be social and outgoing when you had a workplace to go to, but now you find yourself a bit shut down and shy, you may need to rethink your work-from-home strategy. It’s great to have flexibility and be able to work in your pajamas. Sometimes. But when it starts impacting your personality (and not for the better), it’s time to do something different.
6. Professional Development has Flatlined
Traditional workplaces can be full of icky stuff like politics, gossip and power-grabbing. They can also be springboards for your career as you pick up new skill sets, tools, business know-how and teamwork strategies. Working from home means dealing with (hopefully) less of the icky stuff, but it can also mean that you have far less access to those things that actually made you better at your job. If you find your professional development flatlining, it’s time to find a workspace alternative.
Coworking to the Rescue!
We’re completely biased, but for all of the above, coworking is the obvious solution. Coworking spaces are full of like-minded professionals who value flexibility and self-determination and also value connection and being their best selves.
If the above sound like you, it’s time to look into coworking, and we can help. Pacific Workplaces has 17 shared workspaces across California—including coworking in Santa Cruz, Oakland and the greater Bay Area, meeting rooms in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, offices in Sacramento, virtual mail in San Jose and Berkeley, and virtual offices—that suit a variety of needs and workstyles. Find a location near you.
by Cat Johnson, a content strategist, storyteller and coworker at NextSpace Santa Cruz