What is co-living?
The definition of work is changing with the growth of technology. Nowadays, with internet connectivity available in remote locations, a lot of people are opting to become digital nomads. By doing so, they get the freedom of working in different places and undergoing different experiences.
The first thought that such individuals have to face is where to live in a new location. Co-living is the perfect answer for such individuals as it takes the hassles away of looking for a new place in different locations. Co-living is a trend which is catching on rapidly as a means of reducing costs and fostering a sense of community. Co-living spaces are springing up around the world to cash in on this trend.
Let us take a closer look at co-living and co-living spaces to help you identify whether such a lifestyle is for you.
What is co-living?
Co-living is nothing but sharing a living space with other individuals who may be complete strangers. Co-living spaces offer a way of living wherein individuals have a bedroom of their own and share resources and amenities with others. In most cases, co-living companies provide members with fully furnished apartments, so individuals who prefer the digital nomad lifestyle can move in for a temporary period of time.
Co-living spaces are present in rural as well as urban areas. They offer a great way to change your routine if you are bored of staying in a particular place and want to experience the world. Sharing resources also helps you live a sustainable lifestyle.
How does co-living work?
Originally, co-living as a concept started in the 1970s in Denmark where it was known as cohousing. Today, co-living spaces offer a wide range of possibilities for individuals living together in a house or apartment. A sense of community is one of the important aspects of a co-living space today.
Nowadays, fresh graduates may be unable to afford rents in large cities and co-living with other individuals helps them keep costs down. Such individuals opt for a co-living space which helps them avoid the hassle of looking for flatmates and contracts which tie them in for a minimum period of time. Most co-living spaces are not only furnished, they also offer cleaning and laundry services. Since all this is covered in the rent, this offers residents a great alternative to the traditional way of renting.
What are the pros of co-living?
1. Ready to move in room
You don’t need to search for a new apartment or think about furnishings. A co-living space in all probability will offer you furnished rooms that you can just move into. You don’t need to stress about hunting for roommates or signing a lengthy contract like you would have to in case of a private apartment.
2. Keep costs down
A big advantage of co-living spaces is that you can save money. Co-living spaces often offer high-speed internet, laundry, cleaning services and a stocked kitchen. All this is included in the rent for the co-living space. A big problem of sharing the rent with a roommate in a traditional arrangement is what happens if the other individual moves out? You may end up covering for their rent until you find someone else. In co-living spaces, your rent will not change regardless of who moves in or out.
3. A sense of community
One of the biggest benefits of co-living spaces is the sense of community that they offer. If you are a freelancer or a digital nomad, then the sense of isolation when working on your own can be overwhelming at times. A co-living space allows you to build relationships with other individuals who are living a similar lifestyle. A lot of co-living spaces organize events for residents to help them get to know each other. The networking opportunities are endless.
4. Get privacy and the option to network at the same time
Most co-living spaces offer you a furnished bedroom with your own private bathroom. Don’t feel like meeting other residents after a long day? You get enough privacy to do your own thing. At the same time, if you feel like meeting your fellow residents, you have the freedom to do so. Most co-living spaces host events which you can attend to get to meet people.
5. Flexibility when it comes to duration of stay
Co-living spaces typically offers flexibility regarding the duration of stay. A co-living space may offer you daily, weekly or monthly rental options. This is a big advantage in comparison to a private apartment which may require you to sign a lease for months at a time.
What are the cons of co-living?
1. Can be more difficult for introverts
If you are an introvert, living in co-living spaces may prove to be difficult. If you do not like sharing meals, lounges or kitchens then co-living is not meant for you.
2. Not getting along with other residents
Personality clashes may happen with disparate individuals living together in co-living spaces. While adjustment is necessary, at times you may have to compromise with your way of living which might be a hard pill to swallow.
3. Smaller space of your own
Since living in co-living spaces involves common areas, you may end up having a smaller space of your own as compared to a typical apartment. Sharing a kitchen and lounge with others means boundaries may be ignored.
4. Inconsiderate co-sharers
You might come across rude or inconsiderate co-sharers. Maybe somebody does not wash up after meals. Or one of your belongings is borrowed and not returned. Such annoyances could make sharing a co-living space unpleasant.
What are the benefits for digital nomads?
Digital nomads and co-living spaces are perfect for each other. A digital nomad is someone who works online in different locations to experience a different way of life. When such an individual goes to a new location, then the first concern they have is where to stay. Co-living spaces offer a great environment for such individuals. Staying in a hotel is not optimal as long durations of stay may prove to be expensive. With co-living spaces, digital nomads can stay for as little or as long as they like.
A co-living space for digital nomads is designed for unique needs that remote workers have. They have proper work spaces with high speed internet, desks and printers. However, they don’t offer a typical office setup. Co-living spaces are generally unique having their own designs. A lot of times, co-living spaces are in standalone houses or villas with amenities such as gyms, lounges and pool tables.
Another big benefit of co-living spaces for digital nomads is the sense of community they get to experience. They can network with people, form business partnerships and share projects with other individuals. By living in a co-living space, a digital nomad does not have to worry about making new friends or facing a sense of isolation when they move to a new location.
Life in a co-living space
Life in a co-living space is similar to living in a house of your own. The main difference is that you share the house or apartment with other individuals. You get a bedroom of your own and have access to a common kitchen and lounge area. You may have to make some adjustments when it comes to cooking meals, or watching the television. But, if you are flexible enough, then that won’t be a problem.
The best thing about co-living is the opportunity to interact with other people. You may form groups of your own and decide to split up cooking duties among each other. There are frequent opportunities to socialize with the rest of the residents. However, if you need privacy, then you can retire to your room and get your own space.
A co-living space offers great opportunities for networking. Most co-living spaces host events that allow the sense of community to grow and are great ice-breakers. You never know, you may come across individuals who might offer you some insights in your work and life that you haven’t thought of before.
Most co-living spaces offer residents the opportunity to stay for as little or as long as they like.
Typical rentals range from days to weeks to even months at a time.
Why is co-living so popular?
Co-living is growing to be popular around the world. The reasons are many, but mainly co-living is about convenience, cost-saving and community. With young professionals and millennials flocking to highly populated and expensive metropolitan areas, demand for convenient and affordable living options is increasing.
Once an individual starts living in a co-living space, they become members of a community. Co-living means an opportunity to experience life with people from different backgrounds and walks of life. It is also popular, because by nature, people want to have company. In a co-living space, you can open your door, walk into the lounge and strike up a new friendship. A lot of co-living spaces host events which allow individuals to mingle with each other. Think of yoga classes, attending music shows and dance classes and you get the picture.
A co-living space takes the troubles of moving into a new house out of the picture. They allow members to forget about the logistics of moving and focus just on adjusting with other individuals in the co-living space. They get a space which brings together a sense of sharing, fostering collaboration and interaction. Most co-living spaces offer durations of stay that are flexible ranging from days to months at a time. All this at an affordable cost is one of the main things that makes co-living extremely popular.
Another big advantage that co-living spaces offerr is that residents get access to high-speed internet, allowing them to work and live at the same place if they are remote workers. They don’t need to work in a coffee shop along with other strangers and can achieve a better work-life balance in the middle of a supportive community.
The co-living industry is growing rapidly. Some reports claim that the real estate market is going to be completely reshaped by this trend in the next few years. A lot of companies are trying to cash in on this demand.
Co-living startups are coming up all over the world – in metropolitan cities like San Francisco and exotic locations such as Bali. The model of a co-living startup may vary, but the common factor is offering a shared living space where individuals can come together and form a community.
Some of the notable startups are:
1) Upstart Creative Living – which offers pods or bunk beds at a monthly cost of $750, which is economical by Los Angeles standards.
2) WeLive – offers furnished apartments, flexible leases and common amenities in Washington DC and New York.
3) Common – has 18 homes in 4 cities: New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington DC.
4) Outsite – offers luxury co-living spaces with kitchens, high-speed internet, laundry services.
5) Roam – is an accomodation network that lets individuals sign up for a lease and live in any of their co-living spaces at London, San Francisco, Tokyo, Bali and Miami.
Competition in the co-living space industry may end up delivering more affordability for individuals in the near future. Running a co-living startup is a matter of deep pockets and patience. The initial financial outgo is substantial. However, those startups that can establish themselves in these early days of the co-living boom have the potential of becoming industry leaders in the future.
Frequently Asking Questions about co-living
1. For whom is co-living meant?
Co-living is ideal for individuals like freelancers, digital nomads and entrepreneurs who want to experience the world and have the flexibility of moving around without the trappings of a traditional accommodation.
2. Is co-living safe?
Co-living is safe, but make sure you do thorough research into the co-living space company before booking your room. If possible, go to the property and interact with the residents who already live there to get their feedback on the safety factor.
3. How does co-living work?
In most cases, a co-living space is run by a professional company that offers all-inclusive rentals for flexible durations. You can stay for days, weeks or even months at a time.
4. How can you find a co-living space?
The easiest way to find a co-living space is to do a search on the internet with the keywords “co-living + City”. You will get a list of results in the city you search for and then you can click through to individual co-living space websites to get further details.
5. What should you bring with you to a co-living space?
Usually just your personal items. Most co-living spaces offer fully furnished private rooms with shared areas such as lounges and kitchens. You don’t need to worry about furnishings or utensils.
6) Will you have enough privacy?
You will get as much privacy you want. If you want some quiet time, you can just retreat to your own bedroom and shut the door.
7) What is expected of you in a co-living space?
Keep the place clean, have respect for co-sharers and help them if the opportunity arises.
Is co-living meant for you?
You should definitely consider co-living if you do not want to commit to renting or staying in a single place for the long term. If you work remotely and can work from anywhere, then co-living is a great concept to consider. Co-living is also an attractive option if you like the concept of living in a community.
On the other hand, if you are an introvert, or like your own space, then living in a co-living space may be difficult for you. The main reason individuals like to live in a co-living space is the sense of community and cost savings they get in comparison to a traditional accommodation. If either of these do not appeal to you, then living in a co-living space is probably not going to work out for you.