How Coworking Spaces Offer an Ideal Place to Gather

The past two-plus years have been one large social experiment, with many important lessons learned about ourselves as human beings along the way. One of these revelations — that we really do need each other to coexist — is one of the most crucial to recognize as we acclimate ourselves to post-pandemic life.

Aristotle once wrote, “Man is by nature a social animal.” Decades of research in neuroscience have supported his early claim; it turns out humans are hardwired to connect. Collaborating with other individuals allows us to do things we wouldn’t be able to on our own and provides us with useful tools for life such as discovering new problem-solving techniques, honoring other viewpoints, and developing empathy for others.

Even before the pandemic, the world was facing a loneliness epidemic. A 2020 report released by health insurer Cigna found that more than three in five Americans were lonely and named modern workplace culture and conditions as contributing factors to those feelings of isolation.

The study revealed that people with good coworker relationships as well as a healthy life-work balance were less lonely. The underlying suggestion? Create more opportunities for meaningful connection and collaboration in the workplace to build happier and more productive businesses.

The Workspace as a Gathering Place

Our workplaces are by their very nature gathering spots. The earliest “offices” date back to ancient Rome, when forums, or business districts, featured shops, government bureaus, and, yes, offices, and were the bustling center of life.

Fast forward to the 17th century, which marked a turning point in how people came together to work. The history of the office includes the rise of a new professional class of lawyers, educators, civil servants, and other employees who worked from a place outside of the home.

These early workplaces provided a sense of power and prestige, but also a sense of belonging to a more productive and collaborative society.

Now as we grapple with how much our expectations and objectives about our work lives have changed, what does the workplace mean to us now? What function does it serve?

The Power of Gathering

Community expert and author Priya Parker describes a gathering as “three or more people coming together for a purpose with a beginning, middle, and end.”

In a work setting, this can take the form of a conference, a town hall, or a business meeting but it can also take shape as a casual encounter at the coffee maker, a brainstorming lunch session, or a convivial event or impromptu happy hour. Building in these moments of constructive social interaction are inherently important in our increasingly disconnected lives. But they’re also unfortunately harder to come by. 

Today’s gatherings — whether personal or professional — are defined by their purpose. We’ve all become much more selective and intentional about where and when we spend our time, and that includes where and when we work.

How do we balance the undeniable power of coming together in person for a common cause or goal with our need for safety, convenience, and better equilibrium in our lives?

Coworking Spaces as Today’s Town Square

The key word for today’s professionals is choice as flexibility in the workplace has quickly become the #1 benefit for employees, as well as entrepreneurs, small business owners, solo practitioners, and freelancers.

Coworking spaces fill that need for adaptability, offering workers a place to come together when they choose to kindle that spark of in-person connection, collaboration, and community.

Coworking spaces not only offer such benefits, perks, and services as convenient locations, administrative support, and fully furnished workspaces that help you grow your business, they also feature the facilities and functionalities that foster both planned and spontaneous social interactions.

The potential of coworking spaces lies in their versatility — you can make one your permanent office; use one as a place to host a meeting, a town hall, or an offsite; or you could work out of one when that very human need for gathering with others inevitably arises.

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