Can coworking cure loneliness?
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Can coworking cure loneliness?

Workplace
Author since:
October, 2015
75 blog posts

Working from home has numerous benefits; flexible hours, avoiding miles of traffic, or worse – the rush-hour crush of public transport. Controlling how you work is also a big advantage.

If you talk to anyone new to home working, they will probably wax lyrical about the freedom and the benefits. Ask the same question after six months and chances are they have come up against considerable challenges.

One problem that isn’t so widely discussed, however, is loneliness. And the negative effect that remote working can have on your mental health.

Vivek Murphy, the former Surgeon General of the United States says that loneliness is literally killing us. He states in an interview with CBS that, loneliness, is shortening lives in the same way smoking 15 cigarettes a day does.

It has been suggested that 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.

Many people have the pre-conception that coworking is all about bright young things brimming with enthusiasm and ideas. But as the trend of coworking rises, so does the problem of isolation. Being lonely does not have to run through all your day. Some people are great at work but lonely at home. Other people have an active and full home life but for the 8 hours plus a day they are working feel lonely and isolated.

Take Action – Join a coworking space

Coworking spaces present a wealth of opportunities for meeting like-minded professionals and growing your network. Start by investigating the coworking option in the right location for you. Go and test them out, find one that works for your personality. Look for people who you think you’d like to associate with and provide the level of service you need.

If you are feeling socially remote personally or at work, start with a list. Go through your contacts, your Facebook “friends” and decided on the people you really feel you would like to be with in person. Start with them and work on people who are positive and fun to be with who will make you feel happy. Yes, it is scary and yes, you will have to keep pushing all the hypothetical scenarios out of your mind.

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Consider a different story

Many of us are good at creating a story in our head. But why would someone who seemed to enjoy your company in the past not be pleased to connect with you now. Don’t let your internal voice tell you it must be because they have found more interesting or better fun people to be with. Stand in their shoes. Maybe they are feeling just like you or maybe they think you are too busy or maybe they have just genuinely been busy and not had time.

Approach with positivity

We have already talked about faking it till you make it and never is it more real than now. Don’t approach someone with your melancholy voice, they will just think it might be hard work to be with you even if they want to help. Approach it fresh and happy, and get yourself in a positive mindset.

If you can’t find a way to do this in person use email or text and re-read it to make sure you are sounding up and excited about wanting to catch up…. “Hi, how are you? was thinking about you today, we have not seen each other for ages. Really want to catch up and find out how you have been, are you free for a coffee on Saturday? If not give me an alternative, looking forward to seeing you soon.” Is much more appealing. Yes, you fear rejection and yes, you’re not in the best frame of mind, but this is one situation where it might be important to fake it.

In shared workspaces, many people are in the same position and very happy to share a coffee break or a sandwich with a fellow worker.

Loneliness is extremely painful, but once you recognise the hypothetical distortions it causes and the psychological trap it creates, you will be able to focus your energy, take that leap of faith, and plan your escape. Freedom from loneliness will be amazing once you start to act.

Choosing the right shared workspace

As the coworking sector grows so does its diversity – and there really is something for everybody from you can meet any sort of professional coworker from creatives to lawyers and from 18-year olds to 85-year olds. At Workplace we are particularly business service focused, the home of proworkers, so as much as we have a lovely share of creatives and techies, they are great support for our event organisers, insurance people, recruiters, and lawyers. Much more proworking than coworking.

The mix is very diverse in industry sector and age so there is always someone interesting or helpful to catch up with. As Workplace has a central hub for coffee and chat it means that you get to connect with everyone and having that coffee break with a human rather than a computer is always an option.

Interested in joining a coworking community?

Interested in joining a coworking community?

We offer a flexible contract, matched right to your needs. Come for a day or stay for a week. All you need to do is book a desk online, meet us at reception, plug in your device and get straight to work, it really is that simple!

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Up Next

Coworking misconceptions - explained!

Workplace
Author since:
October, 2015
75 blog posts

Whatever vision you have in your head about coworking, there is a good chance that there is more to offer than you think.

Even though the amount of coworking spaces in Manchester has quadrupled in the last 2 years, it remains mostly misunderstood.  At Workplace Manchester, we are often explaining to people exactly what we do.  Here we have tried to clear a few of these misconceptions.

Misconception #1 Coworking is only suitable for millennials.

If you look at most of the images of coworking on-line you will see places full of 20 something hipsters with laptops.  These pictures don’t show the true diversity of many coworking venues.  There is a survey carried out by Deskmag that says the average age of a member in a coworking space is 36 …. not a millennial!

We are not surprised by this age given the amount of large companies, start-ups and scale ups who are adopting coworking.  At Workplace solopreneurs and freelancers sit shoulder to shoulder with employees of large multinationals.  With spaces like this adding more and more services the early days of hotdesking in makeshift empty offices spaces with exposed ceilings and trestle tables are long gone.  If you are over 40 and concerned that you won’t fit  – don’t be.  You will fit right in.

Misconception #2 You don’t get any privacy.

Many people think of coworking as a hive of activity with constant chatter and member get togethers.  It is true that coworking creates a vibe and an atmosphere.  This is however only part of the story.  In reality most members of coworking spaces are there to work, they have to pay their bills and the only way to do this is to get a return on their working hours.

It is especially true in venues like Workplace. If you are going to be here and not working on your business,  the extracurricular activities must be worth it.  Many have families and lives to get home to at night so attending a pizza and beer get together won’t do it.  The occasional informative seminar like a business leader discussing funding or a personality talking about creativity is much more beneficial.  This is a better way for members to form an unforced relationship with their fellow members while developing their minds.

So, what if you need some privacy in a coworking space?  Most coworking spaces are addressing the needs of their members, adding in quiet phone and skype booths, meeting rooms and designated quite zones.

Misconception #3 You will only find tech start ups and creatives.

Many coworking space have aimed themselves very much at the tech and creative market but the landscape has changed a lot over the last few years.  The vast array of business types in Workplace for instance makes it a very diverse environment.  This synergy of different types of business means that there is always someone to help with a legal, IT , creative or accounts issue for one member or another.  It also means that if there is business to be shared, there is less competition than there would be in a coworking space designed for one market.

Misconception #4 Big Companies aren’t welcome.

It is common to think that if you work for a big corporate you will not be welcome in a coworking space as it is full of freelancers and solo workers.  This could not be further from the truth.  CBRE recently carried out a survey which showed 44% of corporations already use some type of flexible working solutions in addition to their main offices.

One big reason for this it that large companies see the benefit in having the best of both worlds. The kudos of a well-designed office along with access to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers.  This provides many opportunities to collaborate, network and find new talent.  It also allows them to lose their image of corporate stuffiness and recruit from a wider pool of talent.  For a very small investment large companies can have it all. It is predicted that more big companies will join this movement over the coming years.

Misconception#5 Coworking, hot desking, it is all the same

As many of us in the coworking industry refer to our transient desks as hot desking, it is very hard to ensure that people looking for space understand the term coworking.  Coworking and hot desking are very different.  In the industry we confuse this so how we expect anyone else to understand I am not sure.

Coworking spaces provide so much more than a “hot desk” it is about having the choice of how to work.  At Workplace this can be sat in the comfortable lounge, at a shared desk, dedicated desk or in your own office.  Coworking is about freedom, freedom to work in the way that engages you the most.  Workplace is also very flexible in terms of how often you can  “pay and play”.  Workplace has packages where you can just work with us once when you are in Manchester, 5 days a month, 12 days a month, full-time, 10 times over three months.  There are price points to work around your needs, so you are not paying when you are in other destinations doing your thing.

If you would like to come and try out Workplace click here to apply for a free day pass.

 

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