Did you know that coworking can make you live longer and feel happier? It’s true! Studies show that our social ties can directly affect our mental health and well being.
In fact a recent study at Stanford University showed that “social capital” is one of the biggest predictors for health, happiness, and longevity.
Unfortunately as a society we don’t place enough importance on social connection and by default it falls way down in our priorities list. Our culture today values hard work, success, and wealth over social connectivity so it’s no surprise that we don’t allow ourselves enough time to become part of a group or organisation.
A Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School argues in The Lonely American that loneliness is often mistaken for depression. Instead of connecting with others, we consume a pill. Being lonely is outside of our individualistic world view so we don’t even see it as a problem.
Never before have we as a society been more disconnected in our connectedness. We have access to technology at our fingertips yet instead of making us a more social group of people it has had the opposite effect and has isolated us from each other. We can now sit in a train and not have to make eye contact. We have hundreds of friends on Facebook without ever having to speak to them in real life. In fact in many cases our real lives have very few similarities to our online personas. We only post our happy moments on social media thus creating the impression to others that our lives are all rainbows and sunshine. This works vice versa as well, when we compare our ‘mundane’ lives to the exciting existence of our friends on social media. It’s not a real reflection of our world and it’s dangerous to think for a moment that it is.
The isolation we feel in our modern world comes from many sources and the bombardment of technology is just one of them. Another study has shown that the number of friends one has correlates to a longer life. Other studies have found that people have better survival rates for diseases when they have social support. In fact one cardiologist once compared social isolation to smoking, saying that loneliness is the new tobacco.
Now that you’re armed with all this information let’s talk about how being part of a community or a network created in a coworking space can lead to feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
FIRSTLY- coworking spaces consist of members who work in a different range of areas. Unlike a conventional office, here you will find people working on a whole range of projects and ventures.As everyone is working for themselves, there is very little direct competition or internal politics. NO POLITICS=BEING HAPPY!! Being among so many different working projects can also make one’s own work identity stronger. When asked to describe what work we do and what our project is we instantly gain a sense of confidence in our own abilities.
SECONDLY- being in an environment where ‘helping each other’ is the norm can really help to foster great working relationships. Collaborations are born and many new opportunities arise. Being in control of our work situation leads to great feeling of happiness and self satisfaction!
LASTLY- coworkers have more job control. Usually coworking spaces are accessible to people 24/7 so one can decide to work as long or as little as they like. Freedom to plan your day means you may be able to squeeze in a morning swim or take your kids to school in the morning. You also have the freedom to choose whether you want to work in a quiet space or in a more collaborative space with shared tables where interaction is encouraged. No monetary value can be placed on the benefits of having such freedom in your work space!
So coworking spaces do more than just boost happiness. They boost the identities of the self-employed. Richard Greenwald, author of the book The Death of 9-5 says: “Ten years ago, the freelancer was a loser.” He goes on to say the trend was for the self-employed to call themselves “consultant” rather than appear unemployed. These days the start up culture has created an environment where the freelancer can grow and flourish and maintain their identity!
Have we convinced you yet? Who doesn’t want to be happy and live longer?!!