We often joke here at The Village Workspace, that our members are so social that we can’t get any work done. There are days when we are more CO than WORKING for sure. We absolutely love it though! Getting to work with amazing people every day is a greater joy than I ever could have imagined. 

Having friends that you not only say hello to daily, but friends that you listen to, and learn about, and care about, is important to our health and well-being. There is something about having a good friend (or two, or three) that is just good for our soul. Friendships can serve as a buffer during tough times and can actually help reduce our stress levels. 

When a member here is feeling down, we know it. We see it in their face when they walk in the door. There have been days when we walk someone right over to a table for a morning dose of business coaching or to just listen as they share sad news that has rocked their world. Sometimes we all just need someone to ask us how we are doing…and then listen…as they hand up a strong cup of coffee or a glass of wine (if it’s at least 2pm). You just never know what people are carrying in the door when they come into work, but we know the importance of community and the power of caring for each other. 

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Having friends at work is not only a nice side benefit of going into an office but a recent study by the team at the Gallup Organization showed the incredible power of friendship and having a healthy social life at work.  For more than 50 years the Gallup scientists have been exploring the demands of a life well-lived. More recently they uncovered 5 elements of a “thriving life.”

  1. Career Well-Being- doing work that you like

  2. Social Well-Being – having strong friends both at work and away from work

  3. Financial Well-Being –  effectively managing your economic life

  4. Physical Well-Being – having the health and energy to do what needs to be done each day

  5. Community Well-Being – the sense of engagement you have in the area you live and work

I loved learning this. I have been interested in the BLUE ZONE living project for years, and have tried to incorporate as many of the elements as possible into our coworking spaces: Living in community with others, being exposed to lots of natural light each day, moving more, surrounding yourself with living plants, laughing more.  These five elements of a thriving life (listed above) fall in line with Blue Zone Living.

One of the most surprising points found in this recent Gallup study, suggested that to have a THRIVING day, we need SIX HOURS OF SOCIAL TIME A DAY!  WOW, we are all THRIVING here! Being around people you like actually reduces stress and worry. This Gallup study showed that “people with very few social ties have nearly twice the risk of dying from heart disease and are twice as likely to catch colds — even though they are less likely to have the exposure to germs that comes from frequent social contact.” 

Your day may start out terrible but being around other people will decrease your odds of having a bad day! And when they are people at The Village Workspace, there is no way your day will end on a bad note! 

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This study also reveled that beyond the immediate increase in well-being that comes with each hour of social time, the long-term benefits can be even more profound, particularly as we age. A study of more than 15,000 people over the age of 50 found that among those who were socially active, their memories declined at less than half the rate compared to those who were the least social.” 

If this isn’t one of the strongest arguments I have heard for getting back into a social workspace, I don’t know what is! I’m not going to say that a coworking space can save your life, but…. Maybe I am!  

Gallup has conducted extensive studies on the value of workplace friendships, and one of the most revealing questions they have asked more than 15 million employees all over the world is whether they have a “best friend at work.” They use this very specific wording because early research indicated that having a “best friend” at work was a more powerful predictor of workplace outcomes than simply having a “friend” or even a “good friend.”

Having good friends at work will increase productivity, reduce injuries on the job, and leave us all feeling a greater sense of well-being. What is it about friendships at work?  According to a study conducted by a team of MIT researchers in which workers wore high-tech identity badges throughout the day that monitored their movements and conversations, idle chit-chat might actually be valuable to productivity. The researchers found that even small increases in social cohesiveness lead to large gains in production. 

My thought is, it’s motivating to have others around that also enjoy being there with you. People who will check in on you, sit and chat over lunch, or even send a text with a funny gif or photo when you aren’t at work that day. It may seem counter-productive, but when you enjoy being in a workspace, you will feel more supported and therefore more motivated to do a good job.

If you’re not currently working in a space that has you socializing with people you enjoy being around, you need to come spend the day at The Village Workspace! We’ll have the coffee ready and ensure you get your six hours of socializing in to help you THRIVE!

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