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Coworking Spaces Can Help Prevent Employee Loneliness, Isolation | Roy Maurer

​Research shows that loneliness is a growing problem for working Americans, and the seismic shift toward working from home may be making the problem worse. The solution for many of these employees is not a return to the office—they tend to relish the flexibility of remote work—but rather working from socially fulfilling spaces outside the office.

“Remote work can be isolating, and it can be difficult to connect with other employees without the informal interactions that are common when working in a shared onsite workspace, like you get in the workplace,” said Caitlin Duffy, research director in the HR practice at Gartner.

Liz Elam, a leader in the coworking movement and founder of the Global Coworking Unconference Community (GCUC), outlined the dilemma: Remote workers don’t want to return to the office, and working from home is not consistently productive, with its distractions and isolation. “So people need a third option, a space to get their work done in a more efficient manner,” she said.

Connie Hadley, an organizational psychologist and founder of the Institute for Life at Work in Boston, agreed that employers concerned about employee well-being need to think beyond the either/or choice of working in the office or at home. “Among these ‘third space’ options, coworking sites show special promise for solving employee loneliness,” she said.

Hadley teamed up with Ben Marks, founder and executive director of the #WorkAnywhere Campaign, a global advocacy movement…

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