Co-working, loneliness, and inner city life
You choose your commute, you choose your hours, and you choose your work. Freelancing is exactly what you want right? But as any entrepreneur/ solo-worker/ freelancer will tell you, there are also plenty of challenges. One of them, unfortunately, may not be spoken about enough, and that’s loneliness. According to a variety of studies, isolation and loneliness are among the biggest complaints from those who have chosen a freelance lifestyle. Working remotely means you run the risk of missing out on the daily human interaction and social aspects of a typical office environment. This week is Loneliness Awareness Week (LAW), started by @marmalade_trust just three years ago. The aim is to raise awareness and start an honest conversation about our experiences of loneliness; an important step if we want to make this world a happier and more connected place to live.
In Olivia Laing’s novel, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, Laing explores New York City’s effect on the freelance lifestyle. But that’s only New York right? Well in 2016, Time Out found that London narrowly beats New York in respondents saying that sometimes their city feels like a lonely place to live in. 55% Londoners said it could feel lonely here sometimes, compared to just 52% of New Yorkers.
How do you feel less lonely?
Hang out with the family? Meet up with your friends? Well for some people that could be a bit of a challenge, especially for those who have moved away from their family and friends, to live in London. There is always the option to make friends, but this can be a challenge when it comes to being a solo-worker. In the same piece of research by Time Out, they found that 29% of people meet friends through work. What does this mean for freelancers, those who do not have the work colleagues to chat to across the office floor? Well, now is time for the good news.
Co-working spaces are focusing more and more on connecting people in authentic ways, with each new one we see pop up in London creating their own version of modern community. Connections with others are a big reason why people pay to work in a communal space, as opposed to working from home for free, or renting a nondescript office. Each co-working space has its own set of values, but many are now allocating resources and people to create an environment of connection and conversation – something we’re constantly working on at Kindred.
In an increasingly urbanised world with a workforce that is becoming freelance and mobile, we have an opportunity to design our spaces around connection and community first, rather than simply prioritising productivity; and as we know, people do better work when they’re encouraged by others and feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves.
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