Is Coliving Right For You?

Do you dream of another way of working? Another way of living? Tired of the routine, the isolation of a tiny bedsit, the Groundhog day feeling that leaves you feeling soulless? I may just have the answer.

More and more people are realising that there is an alternative to the 9–5 routine — a way to escape the Monday to Friday slog on the same morning train and the same evening one, a chance to live and work another way. Are you are bored of spending your structured working hours with the same view and the same colleagues ? Do you dream of being free of the hamster wheel and the sedentary way of working? Would you like to say goodbye to the dreary experience of the traditional workweek, craving Fridays and dreading Mondays? It could be that coliving is right for you.

Coliving is community living — an all under one roof set-up where you live, work, sleep and socialise at the same place. It’s brilliant, relatively cheap and extremely enticing to more and more people around the world.

Millions of like-minded individuals are changing their lifestyles and improving their productivity and mental wellbeing by embracing coliving and all that it has to offer. Let’s see if it’s what you need.

Millennials across the globe are choosing to travel and work remotely — meeting people from all corners of the world — and benefitting from broadening their minds and their horizons. And it’s not just millennials. Young families, the newly retired and individuals seeking a more sociable way of living are jumping in with both feet.

I said farewell to a high-paying job in the world of music and started living remotely in 2011 — firstly in Vietnam, then Cambodia, and onto Bali, into Croatia, over to Norway, with some time in the US and Mexico too. I’m currently writing this article from my short-term apartment in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. It’s a lifestyle I have embraced but it wasn’t easy to begin with and sometimes it has its drawbacks. I’ve tried several coliving spaces around the world and though I do prefer being more of a recluse at times, I can definitely see the appeal. You don’t even have to leave your home country — you can simply move into a local coliving space nearby. Because in my opinion coliving solves two of the biggest problems we are facing today — financial stress and loneliness.

Here are some of the many benefits of coliving:

Cost and Ease

Let’s face it — buying a house in today’s market is impossible for most people. It’s simply too expensive. We earn less than our parents did and property prices continue to soar.

Renting is the only option for most people today — but sharing the cost of a larger property is a win-win for both property owners and those wishing to rent. Renting on your own would probably have you looking through ads for box rooms or studio flats where you can touch both walls with your outstretched arms.

Sharing with others gives you that all-important space including a large living room, a decent-sized kitchen, and perhaps even a garden or a balcony.

When you rent a room in a coliving space, the cost of the electricity and water is included, along with the TV, house repairs, maintenance and regular cleaning.

No more wasting a morning waiting in for the electrician to arrive. Not your responsibility. No hidden extras — no surprise bill for a broken water heater.
It’s cost-effective and constant. That’s a comforting thought for many millennials who are bringing in varying sums of money each month and don’t want to be hit with an unexpected cost.

Those renting usually have a much higher sense of respect for the property and furnishings when it’s shared with others — and established house rules in a coliving space ensure that the communal areas are clean and welcoming for everyone. Most spaces will ask for a deposit in case of those rare unavoidable accidents.

Coliving allows you the freedom to focus on you, your social life and your project — the house is not your issue to attend to, it’s simply there for your convenience, security and enjoyment.

Community

Coliving means community living. And that’s the real beauty of it — living and working under the same roof, alongside other like-minded digital nomads. Each person in a coliving space is seeking the same thing — a place to focus and be productive, as well as seeking friendship, advice, laughter, fun and inspiration.

Once you move into a coliving space, you can say goodbye to meals for one at home — no more nights alone with the TV remote and an array of other screens. In a coliving house, you are with people, interacting whenever you want and need. No FaceTime — here you get face-to-face time.

Many people of all ages are benefitting from the social side of coliving — because let’s face it; social media has spawned a lot of loneliness and depression. A recent statistic showed that 40% of millenniums are chronically lonely. Humans need to connect over a cup of coffee, perhaps a brainstorming session, or a Sunday night house dinner. That’s what a coliving space can provide for you.

The best coliving spaces have a Community Manager that sets up a variety of activities each week to encourage this social connection. Some have a minimum stay to enhance the community feel as much as possible. Their aims are to allow people to truly connect on many levels — to make partnerships and friendships. How wonderful to have a melting pot of skills and brains all under one roof. The ideas, opinions and problem- solving that can occur during a brainstorming session — well, the possibilities are endless.

Feed off the energy of those around you, to inspire you to become more focused, more productive and more likely to finish your project faster and with more enthusiasm.

It’s a welcoming and extremely supportive community — from the moment you walk through the front door.

Safety

Living in a coliving space brings a high level of security — from the screening of both staff and guests to the 24-hour security and CCTV cameras that are usually installed. Plus you have people in the house practically 24 hours a day.

Scared to venture out at night? — ask fellow housemates to keep you company. Community support is everything and it’s right here in a coliving space.

Variety

If you dream of living on a farm, near a beach, in a stylish city or perhaps even at a vineyard, then coliving could definitely be for you. There are thousands of spaces around the world including the America, India, Thailand, Germany, the UK, Spain, Columbia — the list goes on.

Consider living and working on a vineyard, or on a farm in Portugal, or maybe in a Victorian style mansion block in London. Perhaps you fancy living in a loft conversion in New York City or in the Swiss Alps.

The variety is staggering and the quality of accommodation available is truly impressive.

There are even coliving spaces that focus on sporting activities like surfing.

There is a great website — www.coliving.com- that lists spaces all over the world.

Mindset and Energy

Anyone can join a coliving space — from bloggers to photographers, graphic designers and programmers — so each space is equipped with fast Internet and quiet work areas. Some people teach online, others are consultants and entrepreneurs. Yet all share the same common goal — to live and work another way.

The beauty of a coliving community is the willingness to share, support, mentor and even partner with fellow residents. The mutual respect is evident as soon as you join your first mastermind or brainstorming session. Need help moving a project along; simply ask one of your housemates.

Acceptance

A coliving space is an energetic, thriving hub of open minds and instant connection. They are non-judgemental communities that welcome people of all races, religions, sexual orientations and bank balances. The instant acceptance is intoxicating. It’s like nothing else — to be welcomed and accepted without hesitation.

So what are the disadvantages? Well, you may never want to return to your current lifestyle. Some countries only offer one-month visas — but that simply means that you have to find yourself another fantastic view in another wonderful location. Hardly a terrible thing. Nomads have a way of finding each other in other locations around the world so meeting up in the future is a common occurrence. There is even a nomad cruise if you want to have a coliving space on the ocean. Some spaces don’t have an on-site Community Manager and it shows. But overall, the pros seriously do outweigh the cons.

Coliving is fast becoming an appealing and attractive way to live for millions of remote workers — and it may be right for you too!