Kicking off the new year, guest contributor Tasha Wait of Health Foundry examines how co-working can positively affect employees’ mental health on behalf of My Mind News.
Working habits are changing
As we enter a new year, the discussions around our working habitats and mental health have never been more evident. As we move away from the pandemic and remote living, discussions around the impacts of such isolation are accelerating and becoming more understood to have been a substantial and sudden change in our lives.
Post-Covid trends see occupancy of office space in London at just 64% of its pre-pandemic capacity, with data showing utilization slowly picking up at the end of the second quarter of 2022 but then halted by the cost-of-living crisis after that. London is the most expensive city for real estate in Europe, averaging around £150 per square foot.
Is remote working for everyone?
Remote working seemed like a utopic solution to the global problem, offering much more flexibility and quality time at home. However, the cracks started to show as the world opened up again.
The impromptu isolation quickly drew in pain points, with many people going the whole day without speaking to anyone unless virtually via a screen. Surveys show 67% of those questioned said they felt less connected to their colleagues, and 56% said they found it harder to switch off.
Meanwhile, BBC data suggests that up to 80% of UK workers feel working from home has negatively impacted their mental health. Evidencing this point, My Mind News recently reported that human connectivity is the single most important thing that makes us happy.
That said, different demographics will experience remote working differently. For single mothers, home working allows them to find a better balance, whereas a recent student embarking on their new career in a new city will struggle to gain social connections.
Co-working and mental health
So how does co-working offer a solution which differs from the tradition of renting office space in benefiting employees’ mental health? Two key pillars of co-working can be evaluated – community and flexibility.
The human need to belong in a community has long been understood, as this helps establish our self-identity, become accepted, and make us feel part of something bigger than ourselves.
Such ideologies can be seen throughout our history and also with other species. This can parallel the adverse side effects of working from home as employees can quickly lose touch with the work community they once had or, in some cases, never had.
This can lead to many losing sight of the goals and the company that they signed on the dotted line for. One of many solutions could be adopting a co-working structure into the company environment, as it offers a unique and well-established environment that already holds community at its heart.
Uniquely co-working spaces also offer a diverse and varied range of companies and people to connect with. Such structures benefit those within the startup space whose companies’ remain small in size.
As most of us know, we are currently living through an economic crisis in the UK which is having a massive ripple effect across most of the economy. Such impacts have made many budgets tighter and money conscious.
This has led many companies to halt signing office rental contracts due to the unprecedented year ahead, even if they are keen to regain their company culture. Co-working spaces allow for more flexibility and cheaper alternatives.
Co-working enables companies to keep a hybrid working structure while not paying full-time rental prices. Many co-working organizations allow the choice of how many days a week or month you might require office space and also offer hot desking for any individuals who want to engage in this type of work.
How can Health Foundry assist?
That’s where Health Foundry fits in – the company prides itself on being a digital health community co-working space. Health Foundry launched in 2016 to provide a supportive ecosystem and physical space for digital health start-ups to create and adopt scalable digital health solutions.
The company has a growing community of members within the health and digital tech sectors and a team that facilitates connections across the healthcare system. 91% of members have said its space has been essential to their journey.
Here are some of what Health Foundry’s clients are currently up to –
Bionabu is the world’s first Medtech expert knowledge marketplace. They connect entrepreneurs, companies, and private and public institutions with vetted expertise and education to drive forward innovation.
Liberate Pro Healthcare Ltd – The Liberate Pro platform improves patient education and efficacy, increases patient engagement, and, most importantly, decreases societal health inequalities.
Tellmi is a multi-award-winning app that provides young people with anytime, anywhere access to peer and counselor support, as well as a range of mental health self-management tools that can be accessed 24/7. Over 75,000 young people are on Tellmi, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android.
Protecting employees’ mental health through Health Foundry
Health Foundry works to provide more than just desks. It gives companies a home to grow within and a community to thrive.
The collaboration amongst its members is the extension of the enterprise the organization strives for. It supports everyone through their journey with tailored made programs, events, and connections that give scalable solutions.
As we progress into 2023, many will start thinking about taking the jump to change working habits. Health Foundry would love to see new friendly faces joining it, so visit their website and contact them should you require further information on their offering.
My Mind News is excited by the benefits afforded by Health Foundry through its co-working offerings, and we look forward to seeing how the organization grows and develops as the general workplace environment continues to shift and change throughout 2023.
This article is brought to My Mind News readers and subscribers in collaboration with Health Foundry.