How Co-working Spaces Promote Work-Life Balance
Many Asian countries have people working beyond the standard hours of work. In Japan, death by overworking is so common, they have a term for it.
- Working hard can lead to getting overworked, but does not often lead to productivity. Based on a study, workers, on average, spend just 2.8 hours on productive tasks.
- While technology greatly helps in making jobs easier and faster, it can also encourage people to lose focus and waste time.
- Coworking spaces create work-life balance through their open and relaxing interiors, collaborative features, work community, and tailored events. Here, you don’t just find work-life balance, you experience it.
When was the last time you had an eight-hour sleep? Or the last time you strictly had a no-work weekend? If your answer is eons ago, then it’s certainly a good thing you’re reading this now as this may probably save your life (or make you live a little). Read on.
In the UK, a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey reveals that just over one in five people say they often or always feel exhausted in their jobs, while more than a quarter believe that their profession negatively affects their personal life. A more troubling study by Staples Business Advantage alongside workplace expert Jacob Morgan shows that 91% of employees say they work more than 40 hours a week, not to get ahead, but to catch up on work.
A global study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that many Asian countries have workers rendering overtime and struggling to keep with work-life balance. In Japan, death by overworking is so common, they have a word for it –karoshi.
Hard work is almost always seen as the path to success, and hard workers are regarded as ideal employees. Nevertheless, getting stuck at an office desk putting in more hours to work doesn’t guarantee productivity. It’s not the amount of hours and effort put in that make an effective worker. As Henry David Thoreau says, “It’s not enough to be busy… The question is, what are we busy about?”
After analyzing 185 million hours of working time, RescueTime finds that, on average, workers spend just 2 hours and 48 minutes a day on productive tasks (–that’s 2.8 hours!). The rest of the day is spent on neutral and distracting activities. On average, 21% of the workday is spent on entertainment, news, and social media.
Technology is supposed to help us do more with less. However, while it does help in making jobs easier and faster, it seems that it also provides a way for workers to lose focus.
Moreover, becoming more mobile doesn’t only mean we can work anytime, anywhere. It also allows work to follow us everywhere. This blurs the line between professional and personal life. And this is not just a problem for freelance and remote workers, as RescueTime finds that 71% of regular employees’ jobs happen before or after work, while 29% happen on weekends.
Coworking space is not about finding work-life balance. It’s about creating one!
We can say that work-life balance is in the very DNA of coworking spaces. When you look at the design, amenities, and benefits of coworking, you’ll see that while it gives value and support to your work, it brings health and positivity to life as well.
|Features & Benefits of Coworking||Effects on Work||Effects on Well-being|
|Open, aesthetic interior, and comfortable fixtures||• Sherry Burton Ways, an interior designer and color therapist, shares that “marketing research has shown that approximately 80% of what we perceive or experience is based upon the visual sense of our environment.” For her, an uninspired office design creates uninspired and stressed employees.• It provides a less stressful and stimulating atmosphere that inspires creativity and productivity.• It helps you relax as you do your best work.• It gives leaders a better picture of how the team is performing right away.||• Researchers find that inhabitants of more scenic environments report better health.• Design Insider published a study that shows employee well-being is 15% higher in workspaces that have natural elements like greeneries and sunlight.• A positive work experience makes you feel good about yourself and lets you bring that good feeling home.|
|The opportunity for networking and socializing||• It allows you to grow your professional network.• It can provide valuable referrals to leverage your business.||• It can grow your circle of friends as well.• It makes room for more meaningful connections.• Research shows that people with an active social life have greater chances of enjoying long lives, and better physical and mental health.|
|A supportive and dynamic community||• A global research by Deskmag and Deskwanted shows that 74% of people in a coworking community are more productive and two thirds feel more creative since joining one.• When you’re with people from other teams or line of work, you have the opportunity to gain perspective, and share ideas and expertise for business growth.||• Working around people who inspire you and give support helps raise your confidence.• A healthy work community makes you feel valued. Because of this, you also want to care for those people around you.|
|Tailored events and activities||• These can broaden your knowledge and lead you to key people that can help with your work or business.• It’s a good way to bond or connect with your team and align with their strengths and interests for a more fruitful work relationship.• Ending the workday or workweek on a positive note with a good after-work activity can help you look forward to another workday or workweek with less anxiety or stress. Goodbye, almost-Monday feels!||• Having direct access to various events and activities outside work is a great reminder and call-to-action to pursue your other interests or hobbies, meet people, and follow a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.• These activities also create a stronger community or bond among coworking space members, and at the same time help build corporate or individual identities.|
|A good cup of coffee (taken in moderation)||• Research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and others suggest that coffee can help people be more creative individually and as a group.• A study at John Hopkins University reveals that 200 mg of caffeine can increase attention span.• Another study shows that caffeine significantly reduces instances of errors made by night shift workers.||• Coffee breaks can be a great way to interact and connect with your team.• Coffee stimulates the release of dopamine. Dopamine creates feelings of euphoria that people often associate with a morning cup of coffee.|