At first, working from home seemed a lot like living the dream. It usually does for most of us. But let’s consider this. Hypothetical Mike from marketing had been working standard office jobs for years and experienced the same pain points as everyone else.
The unpaid overtime; the dated and lagging technology; the enthusiastic (read: annoying) co-worker; the demanding boss; the car park thief; the person who insisted microwaving tuna for lunch every day – you name it, Mike had experienced it.
So, when Mike decided to branch out on his own, working from his cosy study office seemed like a logical and practical solution. And not to mention, pretty darn appealing. He already had the technology, the internet connection and the bills were all getting paid – no more overheads.
And like Mike, the latest Census figures show he’s not alone in this venture, with almost a third (3.5 million) of all employed people in Australia regularly working from home.
With modern networking software, affordable hardware and the promise of no more microwaved tuna invading my nostrils at noon each day, clocking on and off without leaving the house pretty much always seems like a no-brainer.
What they don’t tell you about, though, is the isolation.
Sure, there are no bosses to micromanage you or co-workers to interrupt you, but this can also translate into long days where you don’t interact face-to-face with a single human being.
And It turns out that there are psychological reasons for why this is bad for your mental health and can lead to conditions like depression or anxiety.
In a nutshell, our overall happiness is dictated by the social interactions we have each and every day. Not just the memorable ones with family and friends, but the general interactions at work that we can sometimes take for granted.
But while working from home can be an isolating experience, the costs and overheads of starting an external office with staff are often too much for a freelancer or the founder of a start-up.
But there is an alternative. And it’s quickly rising to prominence.
Mike embraces the coworking culture
Coworking spaces like United Co. offer environments where you can work independently, but still have those interactions each day that are vital for development and mental aspects. You’re able to be a part of a community with like-minded professionals and freelancers – all of whom have their own goals too.
These kinds of spaces provide networking opportunities, meeting facilities and event resources that are unparalleled when it comes to vamping up your professional experience. Then there are the bonus amenities like the lunchroom, access to community tools, and the on-site gym and yoga room. Suddenly you don’t feel a need to head home at all, and the cosy study office becomes a thing of the past very quickly.
These coworking spaces offer the best of both worlds, too – the chance to interact with people every day (with the option to work in quiet spaces on days that you need your sense of ‘me’ time). And you’re able to do so in a professional office environment without the enormous overheads.
When Mike finally took the plunge of upgrading from his home office, he saw plenty of benefits – immediate benefits…
Wellness and wellbeing at work
The first thing Mike tuned in to notice is the positive vibe that’s hovering throughout the day or night, mostly because people are choosing to be there. They’re there on their own accord and then genuinely enjoy what they do for work. This kind of thinking immediately translates into the atmosphere of any workplace – whether it’s the United Co. environment or a cubicle-style office in a traditional building. You can always read the body language and collective thinking.
At home, you are trapped in a silo of your own thoughts. In times where you hit a motivational slump, there is often no one around you to help inspire a positive attitude; you’re largely dependent on yourself. In a traditional office, deadlines and common goals are often coupled with stress. When you are in a coworking space, there is no competition and no common goal. Everyone’s hitting their benchmarks and travelling through their journeys at different paces.
When Mike worked in a traditional office, he felt like someone was always watching him. Every toilet break is counted, every minute you are late returning from lunch is logged, every pause in your day is monitored.
This pressure is completely absent in a coworking space; you work at your own pace, in the moments of inspiration that strike.
And when the hard day is over or you need a break from the grind, come lunchtime, there is an on-site gym and yoga room – existing completely to help you unwind when you need it most.
The feeling of wellbeing is enormous, and it’s something Mike has chosen to cherish in his new way of working. All of the negative elements of slugging it out in a traditional office or at home are suddenly no longer a concern.
United Co’s various working spaces are enjoyed by professionals across a broad range of industries and positions – from freelancers to CEOs.
This presents a great opportunity to network and learn from some of the brightest minds around, while also giving you a chance to forge partnerships and pool resources and skills for mutually beneficial outcomes.
In a normal office, you are usually working for one company with one united goal. You are in your own silo and while you may get opportunities to talk with other workers, you seldom get the chance to learn and become better for the experience.
Many of United Co’s patrons go on to work on projects together and just the experience of being around so many vibrant people with different goals allows you to broaden your thinking. And that’s a value most people hold high on their priority list.
Next-gen meeting facilities
While working from home is great for your own peace and quiet, it is not always the best place to be hosting high-powered meetings.
United Co. offers event and meeting room spaces, all equipped with top-tier technology to cater to the occasion. And then there’s the added bonus of having exceptional food services from the onsite cafe and restaurant – Mr. Huxley. You guessed it, Mike’s go-to coffee hotspot.
For business leaders, this is a huge advantage. They are given the change to utilise high-class meeting and event facilities, without the enormous overheads. In some cases, businesses from out of state or across the globe also tap into these spaces – powering up their company in whatever way they need to.
Flexible working hours
One thing that defines a traditional office is how they embrace the Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 working week. But for the modern worker, this outdated model often doesn’t reflect the globalised working landscape. Especially now that the professional field is so digitised. In some cases, Mike found himself working outside of the office cubicle, late at night to speak to stakeholders across the other side of the world. That’s what his job demanded, but this wasn’t properly reflected in the hours set, nor was there any flexibility for doing so.
These days, it’s not uncommon to be reaching out to professionals on another continent in a completely different timezone. The 9-5 isn’t so suitable for all industries anymore and for those working around these varying hours, having the environment to support it is critical.
United Co’s spaces are available 24/7, so Mike is able to meet deadlines and engage with clients globally, even if the rest of Melbourne is tucked in for the night. During the day, he’s able to find time to head to the bank, pay bills and pick the kids up from school – without getting twenty questions from the boss.
This new way of working creates the perfect blend of lifestyle, collaboration opportunities and the capacity to knuckle down and get work done. It’s what areas across Melbourne have been missing so far.
It is easier to commute
When Mike was doing the average grind, the train ride was a long 50-minute trip both ways. By the time he’d sat around at the station and waited for the next arrival, or managed to get back home at night, time had already escaped him. His workday suddenly wasn’t just 9-5, it was starting from the brink of dawn and ending when the sun was hitting the horizon. And when he considered driving – well, he only needed to think about the horrors of Melbourne traffic to quickly dismiss the thought.
United Co. is centrally located in Fitzroy – a booming hotspot for innovation and a community-driven feel. It’s close to public transport and includes storage for bikes for easy access at any time of the day. And for those that do embark the roads, car parking is simple and easy to find right out the front of the actual space itself, in addition to paid on-site parking (available on a daily or monthly basis). Mike quickly found himself at home, but what he was starting to realise is that he no longer had just one – he had found his second home at United Co.
Book in a tour at United Co. now to see how you can recreate a modern, flexible workplace for yourself – right in the hub of Fitzroy.