Did you know the digital gig economy could be putting your health at risk? For 70 million Americans who are part of the gig economy – which is made up of temporary, freelance and entrepreneurial workers – health often takes second place to the demands of a heavy workload.
A new study by the University of Oxford found that remote gig work, including working from home, can cause serious mental and physical harm. Risks include sleep deprivation, extreme exhaustion, and long hours spent in social isolation. Although remote workers enjoy the autonomy, they’re also lonely and tired for significant stretches of time.
For the coworking community, this news probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, people who join coworking environments often do so because of the positive social, emotional, and physical effects of coworking.
Is remote work wearing you down? Here are some health benefits you could be getting from coworking.
Daily Motivation and Movement
Sitting still for long stretches of time is bad for your health – and sitting still is a hallmark of remote work. You’re always just a few steps away from your workspace, so you’re missing the natural, daily opportunity for an invigorating walk.
Sitting still for just 1 hour more per day, 5 days a week, is a loss of 260 walking-hours per year. This decrease in walking can lead to negative health effects like poor circulation, weight gain, muscle loss, and increased risk of heart disease.
But when you cowork, your workspace is no longer restricted to a tiny footprint. Having a coworking space can be just the incentive you need to get moving for the day and reap the health benefits along the way. Not only do you add some steps to your routine, but you feel more motivated and energized through the ritual of entering the coworking space.
Everyone needs an emotional pick-me-up sometimes. Remote work doesn’t offer much emotional support – in fact, it can cause you to unload emotions on your partner or family, who may not be able to understand your professional challenges.
This brings up another huge benefit of coworking: There are always like-minded professionals around who are experiencing the same emotional ups and downs. When you’re at the end of your rope, you can head to the couch in the community space and chat with someone who truly understands. And when you have a big professional success to share, there’s a pal nearby for a fist bump and congrats.
In fact, the National Institutes of Health says coworking spaces are one of the most important sources of social support for independent professionals after two studies showed their positive effects on the emotional health of American workers. Compared to people who worked alone, coworkers felt greater performance satisfaction – even when their work involved intense time pressure.
Counterbalance to Irregular Pay and Hours
Independent and freelance work often comes with other challenges, beyond physical and mental strain – for example, income that fluctuates depending on current projects. Your financial health is an important part of your overall health. It affects your professional potential.
Coworking blunts the impact of issues like low pay, fluctuating pay, and irregular hours. That’s because it helps you get the most out of work hours, even when they’re unpaid. During slow periods, you can spend time networking within the coworking space rather than get frustrated, climbing into bed, and pulling up the covers.
Day-to-day networking leads to more business connections, more paid projects, and a stronger reputation in your industry. It makes the most out of downtime, turning unpaid hours into paid projects and greater work satisfaction.
Coworking is also a healthy choice simply because of the amenities available. Most coworking spaces offer things like free water, healthy snacks, organic options, standing desks, ergonomic equipment, and uplifting common areas.
These simple amenities can really give your workday a boost. A coworking environment caters to you in a way you can’t ordinarily cater to yourself. That’s great news for your health and a great benefit for your business.
To see how a local coworking space can support your health, tour Victory Workspace or call for more information. Victory Workspace provides a wide range of health-conscious amenities for all members.