contributor Steve King is a partner in the firm Emergent Research and blogs at Small Business Labs.  He specializes in key demographic, social, technology and business trends and shifts impacting small business formation and operations. This article and infographic is a followup to his previous post regarding Emergent’s research on the hidden benefits of coworking spaces.

For the last year, Emergent Research has been digging deeper into why independent workers are consistently happier at work than traditional employees. In our article Why the Self-Employed Flourish last fall, we pointed out the key reasons that independent workers tend to be happy and satisfied with their work:

  • Independent workers have work that matches their strengths and interests.
  • Independent workers have a job that gives them a sense of purpose.
  • Independent workers tend to a have higher degrees of work control, autonomy and flexibility than traditional employees.

Two recent studies reinforce our view that independent workers, on average, are happier than traditional employees. Emergent’s 2015 MBO Partners State of Independence survey results, which we worked on with MBO Partners, shows that most independent workers report being happier (79 percent) and healthier (59 percent) working on their own.

Our recent coworking survey, which was done in partnership with the Global Coworking Unconference Conference, also shows most coworking facility members report being happier (89 percent) compared to other arrangements.

Why being a coworking member improves happiness

Our research indicates these as some of the reasons:

  • A coworking member improves their social life and results in less loneliness.
  • Independent work provides work autonomy, control and flexibility, all of which have been linked to work happiness.
  • Coworking brings an enhanced social experience, networking and opportunities to learn new skills—as well as a good place to work.


The infographic below, prepared by the the Phoenix, Ariz., coworking space  Co+Hoots,  illustrates the key findings from of our recent research. (Click here for larger view of infographic.)

coworking infographic

Photo and infographic via Co+Hoots.

Related Articles