The benefits of coworking are myriad. Ask around and you’ll find that it’s the connections that make the biggest difference. Whether you’re a small business owner or freelance writer, the benefit of connecting and engaging with other entrepreneurial folks goes well beyond happy hour.
The Pandemic of Loneliness
Today’s work culture isn’t especially geared toward authentic connection and engagement in the workplace. The pandemic forced a lot of employees to establish (or reestablish) connections over Zoom in the last year and a half. And while there are more offices opening up, remote work is gaining traction and growing in popularity.
In fact, according to UpWork, “the number of remote workers in the next five years is expected to be nearly double what it was before COVID-19. By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be remote. This is an increase of 16.8 million people from pre-pandemic rates.”
That kind of job flexibility is certainly positive — there are benefits to working in your pajamas and being able to nap more often. Although that flexibility is having some unintended consequences on younger employees.
Young adults (ages 18 to 25) have reported feeling more lonely than their older counterparts in recent studies. Many people in this demographic live alone. And they aren’t getting a ton of interaction while working-from-home. “Young people are also often making critical decisions about their professional and personal lives, which can add to the stress and sense of isolation,” according to Richard Weissbourd with Harvard.
Remote workers also miss out on the casual learning experiences that one gets when sharing a space and working with other people. And it’s that kind of experience that makes connections so important for humans. We grow around each other.
Solutions for Today’s Workers: Coworking Connections
I’ve said it before, but coworking might just be the solution to today’s work-from-home woes and the loneliness of pandemic isolation.
Connecting with others in a coworking community doesn’t just bring warm, fuzzy feelings (although that happens frequently here at Alkaloid Networks). Coworking opens up some big opportunities for the people who are sharing these spaces.
- Members have the opportunity to learn from each other in a few different ways. That might mean discovering new methods for project organization or learning about tools for productivity. Members at Alkaloid host Meetups and other workshops for professionals looking to learn new skills.
- Coworking spaces also make it easier to take a class or attend a virtual conference. Many spaces are equipped with high-speed internet, smart TVs and conference rooms for members.
- And it’s been proven time and again that connecting with others in a coworking space can help to improve your mental health. Being around other people helps to battle those bouts of loneliness that can crop up on solopreneurs and freelancers.
Then there’s the synchronicity of being around other creative people in a coworking space. It’s hard to describe how some of the opportunities and connections happen in a coworking space. There’s something about being in an environment of purpose-driven, passionate people that’s just contagious and a little bit magical.
Lessening the Impact of Loneliness
“Work is where many people have the bulk of their social interactions. In a recent survey, 70 percent of employees said friendship at their job is the most important element of a happy work life,” writes Arthur C. Brooks for The Atlantic.
If you’re struggling while working-from-home or just need to find some community, visit your local coworking space. It is there for you when you need a place to connect. And filled with opportunities to grow in your business.