The Psychology of Coworking: Social Support and Self-Efficacy

The benefits of social support within a coworking environment and how it can lead to improved performance.

Written by Eden Baniel

1 year ago

Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular over the years. There are several different benefits to coworking. One of the most prominent, however, is the fostering of friendship and encouragement as relationships are built within a close-knit community.

Unlike in typical offices where employees often attempt to demonstrate their own strengths in a competitive environment, people who work in a coworking space can manage to create synergies between their own businesses. So rather than competing with one another, they can encourage each other’s best work. These synergies, or the common benefits that individuals in coworking spaces receive from one another, indicate that social support does occur within these spaces.

An example of how social support can connect individuals within coworking spaces is the story of how Yair Levy, Omri Avisar, and Asaf Zagury came together to form a business after their quid-pro-quo relationship that began at Mindspace grew into something more. Levy and Zagury were office neighbors in Mindspace Ahad Ha’am, while Avisar worked at Mindspace Rothschild nearby. After many days of mingling over coffee in the shared spaces, popping into each other’s offices to ask for work advice, and eventually becoming close friends, the three decided to join forces. Together they created the platform Salaryo, which offers a flexible credit solution for millennial freelancers. When Levy, Avisar, and Zagury realized that through collaboration they could offer each other more than they could alone, a friendship that resulted from sharing a coworking space grew into a thriving business.

The Salaryo team. From left to right: Omri Avisar (VP Product), Yair Levy (CEO), and Asaf Zagury (COO) Photo: Noga Grinberg for Mindspace.

Social support like this matters because it can help to improve individuals’ feelings of self-efficacy, which is another way of saying that it helps improve their feelings of competence or how well they feel they can master challenges. This helps individuals working in coworking spaces feel good about themselves, and feel as though they have the ability to do their jobs well. Psychological positivity like this translates to improved performance because simply feeling as though you are good at your job can help you do it better. In fact, the more capable you feel at overcoming challenges, the more you actually will be able to overcome them.

For this to occur in coworking spaces; however, there needs to be a strong deal of support between coworkers. For the community managers of coworking spaces, the goal is to activate this type of support. This happens during specific activities, such as networking events and happy hours, and through the creation of a positive atmosphere. The more that this support exists within coworking spaces, the more that self-efficacy will increase and continue leading to improved performance.

Working together can create a positive atmosphere of collaboration and creation.

Without the mobilization of social support, meaning that without fostering a strong and supportive sense of community within coworking spaces, feelings of self-efficacy may not increase. That’s why in coworking spaces, the community managers are often considered the heart of the facility. They help to strengthen the community, and thus they strengthen the sense of support that individuals or businesses have within their work spaces.

Having a sense of community can provide social support and strengthen one’s self-efficacy.

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