Depression. Anxiety. Poor sleep habits. Low self-esteem. What do all these things have in common? Each can be a symptom of poor mental health directly related to your work environment. First, rewind for a second to the golden age of baby boomers in the workplace, where tiny cubicles and fluorescent lighting were the sign of a modern day office. Separation from coworkers, quiet buildings and minimal natural lighting was very often seen as standard work space. Flash ahead to 2019, and studies have shown that secluded, silent offices flooded with an overhead white glow can actually lead to less productivity among workers, and a diminished state of mental health over an extended period of time. As we roll into the future, bringing in new work environment concepts, the major features of co-working spaces are being proven to help reduce things such as anxiety, depression, fatigue and even promote productivity, just to name a few. How, you ask?
Segregation VS Networking
The original concept of the cubicle was designed to give workers a sense of their own office, without having to actually contract dozens of tiny offices across the floor. The cubicle gave privacy, while also cutting off communication from other workers while on the clock. However, more recent studies have shown that workplace integration and shared idea spaces actually creates better results. Open spaces, which allow for casual chit-chat, networking of projects, ideas and contacts showed results of workers being more productive, less fatigued and having less anxiety about meeting deadlines and completing tasks1. The co-working open concept has also shown to help businesses meet goals faster and more efficiently than those separating employees into private, individual spaces. Not to mention, employee retention within co-working spaces skyrocketed above those using separation in a 2018 study2. Based on the idea that social interaction can boost your mood and lower anxiety and work-related depression, co-working spaces are using this idea to create a more well-balanced work environment, to ensure maximum productivity, while still putting the mental health of workers at the forefront of priorities.
Socialization & Collaborations
Coming into the new millennium, when someone used the term “collaboration” it was often in reference to two major music artists creating a track together. But, in 2019, the idea of a “collab” often reaches the everyday workplace, making shared spaces a vital part of idea creation and workload contribution. Much like removing segregation of employees, the concept of shared spaces often snowballs into ideas, discussions and contributions from other employees and even other businesses. This type of socialization has been shown to reduce social anxieties, mind blocks, and even create some of the biggest product ideas of the last year3. In fact, even major companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon continue to take the traditional idea of group brainstorming and modify it into open work and discussion spaces, allowing employees and fellow businesses to fuel and feed off each other’s ideas.
Working From Home, At Work
We’ve all had the Sunday Scaries. That overwhelming gloomy anxiety at about 7pm on a Sunday night, knowing you have to return to work in the morning and start the week all over again. But what if your office felt more like home? More like a social gathering with laughter, conversation, productivity and flow of positive accomplishments, topped off with pingpong and Artisan lattes. Welcome to the world of co-working spaces. Shared work spaces are taking the data derived from workplace studies, and creating environments that give a more home-like feel to employees. This idea of modern styles, comfortable furniture, extra curriculars such as ping pong or rooftop patios, showed in several 2018 studies to reduce the Sunday night stress of employees4. Gone are the days of flicking fluorescents and grey cubicles. Today’s co-working spaces offer bright, natural lighting, cityscape views, topnotch boardrooms, comfy armchairs and even touch screen coffee makers. These types of small changes are throwing out the idea of office space, and creating a more positive, home-like feel for employees which is starting work weeks on a positive note, and continuing that upbeat feel through to Friday afternoon. In fact, most businesses that switched to co-working spaces, found their employees to be happier, more relaxed, and even working longer hours on their own volition.
As the world and the workplace take more and more notice of the effects of mental health, many businesses are turning to simple solutions with immediate results. Co-working spaces across the country are showing such a massive spike in employee health, happiness and productivity, as they continue to grow and expand to make every office a place where “going to work” doesn’t feel like a punishment. Thinking about making a change for your business? Take a look at all the unique co-working offices Spacie has to offer in Toronto and other major cities!
1. Amador, Cecilia. “Promoting Mental Health In The Workplace.” Allwork.space.
https://allwork.space/2018/08/promoting-mental-health-in-the-workplace/ (Accessed March 2019).
2. Kozelouzek, Lauren. “How To Change Your Office To Attract and Retain Employees.” forbes.com.
3. Rapley, Sophie. “Why Working In A Co-working Environment Can Benefit Your General Mental Wellbeing.” medium.com.
4. Business Editorial. “Why Do Businesses Perform Better in Co-Working Spaces?” business.com.
https://www.business.com/articles/why-do-businesses-perform-better-in-cowork-space/ (Accessed March 2018)