altspace Coworking Office : Altrincham, Cheshire
By the end of 2018, it’s estimated that 1.7 million people will be working in 19,000 shared workspaces around the world (1), and a major driver of this rapid growth are the social and health benefits coworking provides. But while working remotely does offer many benefits: flexible hours, no commute, and control over how you work, there are also challenges.
One problem that isn’t so widely discussed, is loneliness and the negative effect that remote working can have on your mental health. Because although more than 90 percent of freelancers said they love being their own boss, 39 percent have reported experiencing loneliness, rising to 54 percent among 24-34 year olds, according to a recent piece published in Sage. (2)
Working alone can take a toll on you mentally, and you need to be prepared for the loneliness that comes with freelancing or starting your own business. So what’s the solution?
One way to combat the loneliness associated with remote working, is to join a coworking space, a shared workspace where remote workers, start-up employees and entrepreneurs can come together to reduce the isolation associated with coworking.
The Harvard Business Review agree there’s something special about coworking spaces. Their recent research showed that people who frequently work in a shared workspace thrive more than those who work in a regular office – or presumably, at home.
Why is this? People who use coworking spaces see their work as meaningful; many are freelancers working on projects they care about, for example. In addition, unlike a traditional office, coworking spaces have members working on a range of projects for a variety of organisations. Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in. Instead, having to frequently describe what they do, can make what they do seem more interesting and distinctive and give them more pride in their work.
Connections with others, and being part of a community, are another reason why people pay to work in a communal space, as opposed to working from home for free or in a coffee shop. Each coworking space has its own vibe, and at altspace we go to great lengths to cultivate a unique experience that meets the needs of our members.
When you start working from a shared office, you become part of a self-employed group of individuals with whom you can share and discuss ideas and even seek suggestions. The variety of workers in the space means that coworkers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members. And as well as quiet desks for focus, altspace has shared areas that subtly encourages this interaction.
Wellness has been described by many as the ‘next big thing’ in coworking spaces, and while we don’t (yet!) have a yoga studio, we do organise social functions and informal sports whilst we also offer a selection of fruit. But wellness is more that getting hot and sweaty, it’s about becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. With this in mind our office is located in the town centre close to leisure amenities, gyms and some pleasant walks. Altspace also has a central hub for coffee and chat so that you get to connect with other coworkers during your visit.
In a world where workplace loneliness is a growing problem and charities can now apply for a share of almost £9m of funding from the Big Lottery Fund (4) to tackle loneliness by ‘building strong social connections and welcoming communities’, could it be time to take another look at the benefits of coworking?
(1) Deskmag 2018
(2) Sage.com 2018
(3) Harvard Business Review 2015
(4) Civil Society.co.uk 2018