Loneliness Rates Are Soaring For Remote Workers, But So Is Inflation—Is Investing In A Co-Working Space Worth It?

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Remote work can be incredibly convenient…and lonely.

As previously reported by ESSENCE, 2023 survey results released by child care provider Brighter Horizons revealed a remote or hybrid setting has led to extreme lonesomeness. In the report, nearly half shared they only communicate with people under their roofs about 41% said they go days without leaving their homes at all.

“Many working parents are struggling personally and professionally. While they have embraced a more flexible work environment, it has come with unintended consequences that are impacting their mental health and their ability to manage life’s responsibilities,” Stephen Kramer, CEO of Bright Horizons, said. “The moment is now for employers to step in to fill these voids,” he said. “This includes clearly defined benefit programs, mental and professional support services, as well as access to quality child and adult care.”

Younger working professional also felt the effects of loneliness in remote jobs.

As ESSENCE previously pointed out, some Gen-Z professionals have been romanticizing the return-to-office as many of them missed many cultural touch points after having to attend college, intern and now work their first real job fully remote. One happy medium for this is co-working spaces, an increasingly popular alternative that allows workers from different companies to share an office space.

One example of this is The Coven, a Black woman-owned Minneapolis-based co-working space that saw a 400% jump in memberships in the last few years. The inclusive-first shared work space centers the experiences of women, non-binary, and trans people. This is a draw for many who have experienced workplace discrimination, microaggressions and general discomfort working in traditional office settings.

“We all love to work and it’s an incredibly important part of our lives,” co-founder Alex Steinman told ESSENCE in 2023. “We’re fortunate to love what we do. But more than anything, we can about fostering strong community. There’s nothing more magical than that.”

Other Black-owned co-work companies like the Gathering Spot, Femology and La Create Space charge monthly memberships for access to the spaces. On average, the national median rate for virtual offices in Q4 was $119.

So, is it worth the investment?

Some experts say yes if your mental health is being affected. “People working from a shared workspace can network and socialize within common areas, greatly reducing the sense of isolation people often experience working from home, or even from a coffee shop,” Entrepreneur writes in a 2023 report. “Keep in mind, networking and socializing are two distinct things. Take advantage of both opportunities when appropriate. Socializing means interacting with other people on a personal level, making idle conversation about the weather, sports, personal interests, or your favorite TV show. Networking is socializing with the goal of making work connections (such as finding new customers/clients). With a bit of finesse, you can achieve both in a shared workspace.”

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