A survey by US employee software firm OfficeBlog revealed 70 percent of those who operated in a shared space felt healthier working in a shared space, 64 percent were better able to complete tasks on time, 90 percent felt more confident and 91 percent had better interactions with others after their co-working sojourn.
Running your own business can be one of the most rewarding things you can do in your working life. You have the freedom to choose your work, your clients and your hours of operation. A lot of small business owners see it as a lifestyle choice so they aren’t beholden to ‘the man’ anymore.
Yet, despite the good stuff, small business owners are not immune to what 9-to-5ers refer to as ‘workplace stress’ which can have a nasty effect on your mental wellbeing.
According to HeadsUp, an initiative created by Beyond Blue, small business owners can experience stress and anxiety – major causes of depression – which can be triggered by:
- A lack of separation from work and home
- Working long hours
- Feeling isolated and overwhelmed
- Taking on too many roles within the business
While an individual’s stress levels is very different for each person and may not necessarily be all about work, operating your business in a co-working space can help to alleviate stress and boost your general wellbeing.
Here’s how a shared space can provide unexpected benefits for your mental health
Happiness keeps company
As Hugh Grant so famously says in his film About a Boy: “Man is not an island”. We’ll assume he meant women aren’t an island either, but the gist is basically that no matter how much we like a little peace and quiet in our working day, we can’t do this on our own. Feeling isolated and unsupported as a small business owner is common, particularly for freelancers and sole traders starting a business from scratch. Having human interactions that don’t entail racing to meet the postman at the gate for a chat when you hear them coming up the road makes you feel more social and more confident. It could be a random chat at the co-working hub’s watercooler or participating in training and development workshops offered there. Often small business owners derive strength from knowing that others have challenges too – and they can usually work out how to fix an issue by seeing how someone else solved it.
Cloud accounting stressing you out? Can’t figure out how to post a Facebook ad? Struggling to keep up with basic admin as well as running your business? The benefits of co-working means that you have access to people who have the skills you need. Many co-working spaces have onsite experts in core fields such as admin, legal, finance and marketing, and these people’s services can come tied up in a neat package when you are booking your space. Or they may just be your neighbour on a hot desk who has capacity for some extra work – which leaves you free to focus on doing whatever it is that you need in order to maintain and grow your business.
Home is where work is not
Not being able to separate your work life with your home life means they blend – and you never get a break. Renting space at a co-working facility means clear boundaries. You leave home, arrive at ‘work’, do your set hours and then return to your sanctuary where you can rest, spend time with family, watch guilty-pleasure TV or whatever you need to do in order to recharge.
Ready, set, go!
Having clear boundaries between work and home is important, but so is setting your work hours. Answering emails while you watch telly on the couch at 10pm after a long day is classic small business owner behaviour. If you work from home, this is particularly the case. Co-working allows you to not only separate work from home, but to set your working hours so that you can switch off at night and on weekends and avoid mental exhaustion.