Is Coworking the Cure for Loneliness?

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If you are an American, you spend most of your waking hours at work; and if you are part of the entrepreneurial or freelance crowd, chances are most of those hours are spent working alone.

There is no one to share your daily joys and accomplishments with; no one to share your burdens and difficulties with; no one to bounce ideas off of and a get a fresh perspective from;

there is no one but the sound of your own voice.

Day in and day out, it can become profoundly lonely.

It’s not healthy, and it’s not how humans are supposed to function.

Even in the animal kingdom, a lack of community can have devastating results. Scientists have found that carpenter ants, when isolated from their colony, live only one tenth as long as their communal brethren: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/lonely-ant

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Recent studies show that loneliness can shorten human lifespans as well: http://healthland.time.com/2013/03/26/social-isolation-not-just-feeling-lonely-may-shorten-lives/

So how, in this fast paced, demanding world, do we form the kinds of social bonds that fight against loneliness?

Enter: The Coworking Movement.

Seeing the same friendly faces day in and day out is a huge benefit of coworking. You don’t build the same kind of social capital in a coffee shop, where the crowd is always changing and you are unlikely to form new social bonds. With coworking, that daily exposure to the same faces causes people to open up and get to know one another.

More than just a cost-effective way to find a workspace, coworking gives people access to a large variety of social contacts. Sometimes profitable business connections are made (What’s that? You need a new logo? I design logos!). Other times it’s just nice to see someone that knows your name, and cares about how you’re doing.

I’m an Art School graduate, and through working at Spherepad, my social circle has expanded to include lawyers, app developers, social media gurus, research scientists, and one (literal) rocket scientist from NASA! Slowly, over time, conversations happen. Connections are made over coffee, or bad weather, or that cool new lunch place down the street.

Here at Spherepad, we’ve seen a lot of changes recently, with the closing of our Union Street location, transferring our virtual offices to Stockton Street, and the opening of two new locations in Santa Rosa.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the focus on community. We are hoping that Spherepad’s coworking spaces continue to provide a place where people don’t just go to work, but they also feel a sense of belonging, like this is their community.

Here’s to 2016! May you find yourself not only productive in your work and prosperous; but may you also find yourself surrounded by new friends!

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