Coworking spaces come with many benefits for everyone involved. Your space can not only serve as a great source of income, but also as a place for members to find a healthy work-life balance.
For years, employees have been complaining about the need for more flexible and healthy work environments that allow for a better work-life balance. And as such, a shift toward remote and hybrid work options started increasing in popularity.
But then the pandemic hit, and everyone was forced to work from home (WFH). Although the WFH environment allowed employees to have more flexibility in their lives, a more negative association with working from home began to arise — a distinct lack of socialization and an increase in feelings of isolation.
Now, many workers are feeling stuck again. They’ve gained more freedom in their work lives, but they’ve lost that sense of community that comes from working in an office. As a result, their anxiety and stress levels are rising once more, which is leading to an increase in burnout.
The problem? Many still don’t want to simply revert back to working full-time in an office and lose the many benefits they gained from working from home. This is where coworking and flex spaces arise as an answer to this issue. Coworking spaces still allow members the flexibility and many other benefits of remote work while offering the perks that come with working in an office setting.
Coworking spaces: the answer to WFH burnout
PubMed recently released a study that analyzed the psychological and health-related effects on those who work from home versus those who WFH in coworking spaces. The results showed that 61.1% of coworkers were more satisfied with their work environment, 71.9% stated they were more productive at a coworking space, 92.2% indicated more satisfactory social interactions, and 81.3% indicated higher overall job satisfaction.
Burnout is somewhat of a buzzword that has been floating around a lot lately, but this does not mean that it is simply a trend that should be dismissed. Burnout is a real condition that is diagnosable and treatable, and it primarily stems from occupational stressors.
Those who experience burnout can suffer from feelings of energy depletion, mental fatigue, cynicism associated with their job, and a reduction in professional efficacy and productivity. Burnout from work can even start spilling over into a person’s personal life, which can lead to a number of problems, including poor sleep habits, poor eating and exercise habits, and an increased strain on relationships.
Luckily, despite burnout steadily rising among WFH populations, the research we referenced above shows that coworking just might be the remedy to this phenomenon.
Of course, the benefits of coworking spaces have been floating around the internet for years now, ever since coworking spaces emerged. Many already talk about how these flexible community working environments allow for better networking and socialization while still allowing for better focus and routine.
But now, with the latest studies, we can see that coworking spaces may also help mitigate mental health issues by reducing burnout.
Coworking spaces can benefit from burnout mitigation
While coworking spaces can benefit members seeking to reduce their occupational stressors, owners of these spaces can also benefit from a business standpoint by specifically promoting their burnout mitigation processes.
Specifically showing members how your space can help them overcome their burnout can help you bring in more business, and the profits can then be put right back into your space to make even bigger and better improvements to continue attracting more members.
This is essentially just another way of using member benefits to drive value. Members already know the physical perks they get when they join your space — like coffee, Wi-Fi, and access to equipment — but you can also start promoting the mental health benefits to further increase value and the member experience.
Tips for Reducing Burnout for Your Members
Even without making any changes, coworking and flex spaces can generally help mitigate burnout. But you can really make a difference by going the extra mile to implement strategies that specifically seek to target burnout reduction.
1. Create a Comfortable Working Environment
Comfort in the workplace should not be seen as a luxury. If members are expected to stay focused and remain productive for potentially long hours, they need an environment that better supports this. Cheap chairs and harsh lighting are not it.
So, one step towards promoting a healthier work environment at your coworking space is to give things a comfort upgrade. Invest in ergonomic furniture, better lighting, more plants — anything that can create a more inviting and comfortable space.
2. Provide Relaxation Spaces
Burnout often comes from members feeling overwhelmed and stressed by a number of things. So to help lower levels of work stress, you can create spaces where members can take a quick break and relax.
This can include rooms or areas where members can meditate, maybe do some stretching, or listen to calming music. Designate areas with pillows and bean bags where people can lie down and relax. The sky is really the limit here and you can create these spaces however you’d like, but the idea is to promote and encourage members to take moments to themselves throughout their workday to take a break and destress.
3. Implement Wellness Programs
The things that many members love about coworking spaces are the perks, but these perks don’t just have to come in the form of good Wi-Fi, coffee, and nice desk setups. You can also offer wellness perks.
Wellness perks can go a long way toward helping members feel happier and healthier, which can help prevent burnout. This can include things like providing yoga classes in the space, inviting in someone to give members massages, or partnering with local spas and offering deals on services for your members.
4. Foster Networking and Socializing
It’s already much easier to network when working in a coworking space, but you can help further these endeavors by hosting events. One of the primary reasons many people who work from home are experiencing burnout these days is a lack of socialization. You can help mitigate this by going above and beyond to create a real sense of community and connection for your members with fun social and networking events.
5. Provide Mental Health Resources
Poor physical health can also contribute to burnout. So a great way to help members stay happy and healthy is to offer things that encourage a healthier lifestyle.
This can include providing healthy snacks and food options in your coworking space, offering healthier drink options, hosting fitness classes or partnering with a local gym, encouraging walk breaks (or coordinating a lunch walking or running group), and creating outdoor spaces where members can get fresh air and soak up some Vitamin D.
Again, these are just some ideas, and it’s ultimately up to you how you want to go about this, but the overall idea is to encourage members to lead healthier lives, which can help them better fight off the stress that can lead to burnout.
Understandably, not all coworking spaces have the funds or resources to implement big changes but even the smallest effort can make a difference and show your members that you care about their well-being and not just their ability to work hard. And over time, the small changes you make can lead to members that stick around and refer their community, which can then help you generate more revenue that you can use to make bigger and better changes.
About the Author:
Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for a community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.