Julie Tucker
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How coworking can help your mental health

Mental health in the workplace is something we should all take seriously.

Our emotional and physical wellbeing are equally important when it comes to our job – and this is why coworking can be an important factor.

When you’re working alone, getting stressed about even the small issues is something that can happen to anyone. When there’s nobody to talk to and things aren’t going well, stress levels can rise rapidly. This in turn can lead to depression and poor mental health.

Stress can occur before you even get to the general workload and the challenges of keeping up to speed with day-to-day duties. According to First 2 Help You, an organisation specialising in lone worker safety, if you feel anxious as soon as your day begins, this is when mental health issues can become an ongoing problem.

The UK Health and Safety Executive recognises work-related stress, anxiety and depression as being a “harmful reaction” to the demands and pressures of the job. The body revealed 526,000 UK workers every year reported suffering from work-related anxiety, stress or depression.

How does coworking help to reduce stress levels?
Studies show that working alone can worsen work-related stress and mental health issues. It’s a specific contributor towards poor mental health, with 42% of workers saying their job had played a “significant role” in their issues. Almost one-fifth of respondents (17.8%) cited working alone as the sole reason they had mental health conditions. This is because they feel isolated, due to having no daily contact with either an employer or colleagues.

Anyone can have a negative reaction to working alone, whether it’s a freelancer, a lone worker, a self-employed individual or someone who regularly works from home. Some workers report they go all day without speaking out loud to another human and this can feel lonely. However, coworking can help reduce these feelings of anxiety and loneliness by introducing people to like-minded individuals, all working under one roof. Even if you’re the only person in your small business, there’s always someone around for a chat and a coffee.

Coworking can help you to establish a healthier work-life balance, so your home can again feel like a place to relax, rather than your office. It provides you with communal areas, breakout space and a kitchen in which to take ten minutes’ break when necessary, so you can calm down, relax and reduce your stress levels, even on a hectic day.

What stresses are there in a typical working day?
Around 80% of workers report they have felt anxious at work at some point, with 40% describing their job as “very stressful” or “extremely stressful”.

The sources of stress include a looming deadline that you’re struggling to meet, a particularly difficult project, a feeling that you’re constantly overworked and under-appreciated and a general lack of support from your line manager or company.

Feeling uncertain about the future of your business also causes anxiety, as does a heavy workload, changes within the organisation that affect your role, feeling bored, your physical work environment and a lack of equipment crucial for your job.

This sort of stress at work is just about impossible to handle on your own. Without someone to talk to and empathise with, it can be difficult to continue if you feel alone.

How can coworking improve your day?
Even though employees are working for different companies, you become colleagues and friends, so if someone is feeling under the weather, there’s a shared responsibility to help them get well.

Employees who are stressed tend to leave their jobs more often, take more time off sick and are generally less motivated and less productive. Having someone working by your side can lead to increased work engagement, greater job satisfaction and increased productivity. Challenges become easier when you have other people around you for emotional and physical support – communication and collaboration in the workplace are vastly underrated.

In a poll of 2,000 adults in the UK, only one-fifth of respondents described themselves as being “not a team player” and preferred to work alone. The poll revealed 38% felt much less pressure when working within a group.

Whether you’re managing a remote team, a freelancer working alone, a homeworker who wishes to improve their mental health, or someone who simply wants to get more out of their job, a coworking space can be the ideal solution.

Get in touch with Headspace today to see how a coworking space can help you.


Image credit © KimSongsak / Shutterstock.com

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