Coworking spaces are no longer simply a place for people to work. Wellness-centric coworking spaces are popping up left and right in Austin, as well as metropolitan cities nationwide.
With the rising numbers of remote jobs, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and contractors, the number of coworking spaces available as well—especially Coworking spaces focused on health and wellness. Today, there are more than 14,000 coworking spaces globally, and approximately 50 spaces in Austin alone.
Plenty of health and wellness trends have originated in Austin. Whole Foods and Wheatsville brought organic food off the farm into to the grocery store, Juiceland and Daily Juice spurred a green juice revolution—and now one of the latest trends: wellness coworking.
Laura Shook Guzman had a vision to bring wellness coworking to Austin when she uprooted from Canada to Austin in 2006 to start a new life as a single, working mom. As a psychotherapist, in her own private practice, Shook-Guzman said the inspiration for wellness co-working emerged out of her own longing for community.
“Like all things entrepreneurs do, the thought of a co-working space emerged from my own need for community and collaboration in my own work life, and life as a whole,” Shook-Guzman says.“Coworking spaces were starting to emerge in other places, like California, around 2005…but nothing in Austin. So I decided to create it—and really wanted to incorporate wellness into it as well.”
In 2008, she founded Soma Vida, one of Austin’s first coworking spaces, originally located in a renovated house off East 11th Street and Rosedale. The new space offered co-yoga, moonlight meditation nights, office spaces for wellness practitioners to rent by hour or month, and an ambiance that made people feel at ease.
Today, there are more than 14,000 coworking spaces globally, and approximately 50 spaces in Austin alone. From Soma Vida, to Launch Wellness, Impact Hub, and Work Well Coworking—wellness coworking began in our city.
Wellness coworking is a business style that acknowledges the airplane oxygen mask theory: In order to help others (in business), you must first help yourself. Essentially, it aims to make work life more pleasant by bringing in a focus—through both design and amenities—on health and wellness.
Wellness coworking spaces provide entrepreneurs and business professionals a place to work, along with fitness perks, yoga/meditation classes, and even in-house doctors. The kitchens are also typically stocked with essential oils, fresh juices, herbal teas, and many are within walking distance of healthy restaurants. They are also built in a way that brings in plenty of natural light.
It’s no secret, incorporating health and wellness practices does a body good—and particularly in the workspace. According to research, benefits of workplace and corporate wellness programs include improved productivity, reduced healthcare spending, and fewer sick days among employees.
Research also shows coworkers have improved social connections, are more productive, more confident, and generally feel healthier than working in traditional office environments.