Everyone wants to be happier, and there are plenty of ways to accomplish that goal, from spending some serious time with a shrink to a five-minute meditation practice. But perhaps the simplest way to enhance your happiness at work is simply to change where you work.
That's one possible takeaway of new research revealed at the recent Global Coworking Unconference Conference, a gathering of the co-working community. Conducted by GCUC, and Emergent Research, the survey of nearly 700 co-workers from across North America dug into the emotional benefits of working communally, coming up with some pretty impressive statistics about the impact of shared spaces, including:
- 84 percent of respondents said they were more engaged and motivated when co-working
- 89 percent reported they were happier
- 83 percent reported they are less lonely
- 78 percent reported that co-working helps keep them sane
Such strong numbers were a surprise even to those conducting the research, Cat Johnson reports on blog Shareable. "[D]espite our research being focused on the work aspects of co-working, the social and learning sides of co-working came out loud and clear," Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research, wrote of the results. "To be honest, this surprised us a bit."
While it's a shock to get 89 percent of people to agree on anything (smaller numbers agree that the earth goes around the sun and not the other way around, for instance), the fact that working together is less lonely than working apart is hardly a world-shaking revelation. Still, the numbers are a nice reminder that simple changes to your daily routine or even the location of your work can have outsize impact on your happiness level. Stop beating yourself up for the drastic changes you can't make, and stop settling for living without the simple upgrades you can (that's a happiness principle that's validated by research too).
Of course, far from every entrepreneur can take advantage of the benefits of shared workspaces. If you're a shopkeeper or a dentist, for instance, you really can't work from a groovy communal loft downtown. But if you're a freelancer or knowledge economy professional whose only constraints are the availability of a laptop and a good internet connection, perhaps it's time to rethink where you plug in your power cable each day.
Would you consider trying co-working?