It’s surprising that in a world where you can reach anyone from the palm of your hand, we still feel disconnected, lonely. It seems that the advent of social media, while intended to draw us closer together, has actually divided some of us apart. We take to social media platforms to profess our views, sometimes deepening divisions, when we’re missing the human connection of being in close proximity to each other. We get the rush of comments or likes on our posts and feel incredibly let down when we don’t get enough reactions or response.
This video from Joe Rogan’s podcast details how loneliness is more of a health risk than obesity and smoking. While we’re electronically and digitally more connected, we’re disconnected as humans. If we hide behind social media profiles and don’t connect to each other in person, we lack empathy and the personal experience.
This article from The New York Times delves into the topic of Loneliness potentially linking social isolation to many illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, and suicide. Repondents to their study stated they don’t feel they have anyone to confide in, but the article also reasons that the feeling of loneliness will make people seek in-person interactions.
Humans need connection. We need a tribe. In-person conversations are better than posting online and waiting for responses and likes. The back and forth discussion, even if they’re disagreements, create meaningful interactions. Coworking offers that community. It offers a place away from home where you can make connections and create relationships. Your tribe is there when you need it.
Jamie Russo highlighted “Fighting The Loneliness Epidemic” in her Everything Coworking podcast. Some quotes from this podcast that stuck with me were:
- “There is nothing better than doing something really hard with other people.” Although she was discussing her affinity for her Crossfit community, Ms. Russo related these sentiments to her coworking community. Many of us in the coworking space are entrepreneurs/solopreneurs and many others are employees of a larger company. We are all working really hard and trying to create better opportunites for ourselves. It’s nice to have people in the trenches with you for the hard times and high-fiving you to celebrate the wins.
- “People want to be seen and when you work from home no one sees you all day.” I was just discussing the other day that while I’m certainly productive working from home, I find that when it’s time to pick up my kids from school, I’m still in pajamas, teeth not brushed. It’s nice to get dressed and go somewhere.
- “Despite the ubiquity of social media, more than half of us report feeling lonely.” This just strengthens the point mentioned earlier that while it’s easy to connect with virtually anyone, are we really connecting? Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation and the emotions felt real time with some back and forth banter. Sometimes I find that I will fire off a quick email response stating “10 am works fine for me” and then shake my head in dismay that I didn’t ask “How are you?” or bring up something a bit more personal about “What are you working on?”, “How are your kids doing?”, “I just saw the pics from the vacation you just went on. It looked amazing. If I ever get vacation time, do you recommend I go there?”
Coworking certainly doesn’t solve all isolation issues. There is a movement that started recently called #CheckYoMate detailed by Cat Johnson as a response to the untimely death of a coworking member which left his fellow coworking members in Califorina wondering if they could have done more. Regardless of where you work or what you do, may this post be a reminder to check in on the people around you.