Connect the Dots on Coworking Impact
This is the final segment in a six-part series about the impact of coworking on local communities (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). We wrap up the series with a conclusion by Alkaloid Networks located in the most eclectic part of historic O4W east of Atlanta.
In light of the current circumstances, just about every facet of every industry has been affected by the pandemic. In-person workers have been forced home, communities have been shut down, and loved ones affected. As a result, remote workers, gig workers, and small businesses are a growing part of our economy. Never before has it been more important to have spaces for remote work.
As the previous segments in this series have demonstrated, the benefits of coworking only magnify one another. Coworking interconnects local businesses to new clients, creates networking opportunities, and contributes towards a healthier society as a whole.
Let’s explore how the various benefits of remote work at a local coworking space intersect.
Local Services and Mobility
According to the UK Office of National Statistics, “Commuters have lower life satisfaction, a lower sense that their daily activities are worthwhile, lower levels of happiness and higher anxiety on average than noncommuters.” As shown by this study, living near your workplace can be quite beneficial. Not only in shortening commute times, but being able to access services you already use.
Services such as cleaning, accounting, printing, healthcare, and many more examples can oftentimes be found near your coworking space. Giving back to the community and supporting small businesses is a crucial part of the coworking experience. The usage of a local coworking space and the community around it allows for more mindful choices involving services.
Mobility and Retail Impact
Similar to services, retail items can be found near coworking communities. In the first segment of this series, XC Creative Spaces stated that “Ninety percent of our coworkers walk to nearby shops on fifty percent of the days they are in our community space.” Those statistics are uniform for just about every coworking space globally.
Shops like cafes, grocers, office supplies, are accessible within the range of local coworking spaces. Supporting the local economy means that storefronts and businesses can stay open while saving time within your community.
Retail Impact and Community
Restaurants, shops, and stores all make a community. A group of businesses leads to needing various services. This leads to benefits like easier hiring and accessibility to other businesses within your community and coworking space.
Joining a coworking space can bring new partnership opportunities. Similar to the benefits of services, joining a coworking community means the opportunity to support local businesses.
As mentioned in the third segment of this series, increased revenue is realized for the community. With more people coming to the community by way of the coworking space, more revenue is sifted into that area. Not only will members shop and dine at local businesses, but many times they will contribute to the city’s tax revenue, which leads to further growth. They also discover what the community has to offer and help to spread the word.
Community and Mental Health
Working away at home can oftentimes be difficult with the issues of both distractions and loneliness. Being alone for long periods of time can be detrimental to your workflow and mental health. A study at INSEAD Business School found that “the video call is our reminder of the people we have lost temporarily. It is the distress that every time you see someone online, such as your colleagues, that reminds you we should really be in the workplace together.” Human interaction via video calls and meetings can only do so much.
Remote work within coworking communities allows coworking members to explore their own communities and interact with those who live within the same proximity. Networking events hosted at coworking spaces are a great way to fight loneliness.
Next comes the issue of distractions. Not all household environments are suited to be workplaces. Having a location to both interact with new people and to get work done can be beneficial for mental health.
At first blush, coworking appears to be independent business with little neighborhood impact. However, when you consider the depth of how coworking communities embed themselves locally, you can see how the wider impact creates a more equitable, innovative and thriving neighborhood.
You can find one of these impactful coworking spaces within the Atlanta Coworking Alliance.