Why Co-Living Is The New Co-Working
by Ashok Kamal, Outsite.co Investor & Advisor
It All Started With Co-Working
It’s an understatement to say that the Internet has changed the way we work; all aspects of our lives are different than they were before we could virtually clock-in to our job from anywhere in the world. Today an estimated record high 43% of the workforce is working remotely and 90% of Millennials want to work remotely. This connectivity has led to greater freedom and flexibility, and the rise of co-working spaces for nearly a decade. From hyperlocal establishments to global companies like WeWork (valued at $16 billion), providing space for the location-independent workforce has become a big business.
Why Not Work in Paradise?
It was a natural evolution of co-working to realize that workers didn’t have to spend the winter in frigid Finland when it was balmy in Bali. Co-working spaces have popped up in many locations where people can enjoy a change of scenery or season: Hawaii, Mexico, Thailand, Morocco and even the Canary Islands, to name a few. Everyone from entrepreneurs on staycations to freelancers visiting clients to full-time remote employees working on projects are taking advantage of co-working spaces in unique places. After 15 years in New York City I sold my apartment to work remotely by the beach in North County, San Diego. Like others who share my perspective, the goal is to balance working with playing in the great outdoors.
Where Co-Working is Headed: Co-Living
The term “co-living” may bring up memories of bad roommates, cramped quarters and college dorms; however, in reality, co-living is still focused on co-working. It just allows those using the space to sleep, eat and hang out among others who share a similar lifestyle.
The idea began as “hacker houses” in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, where exorbitant rent made it difficult for aspiring entrepreneurs to afford a place they might only inhabit 4–5 hours per day.
Now the experience is becoming as professional as those who are using it: Pure House in Brooklyn and Common in San Francisco are examples of high-end co-living spaces, and even WeWork is betting on this trend with a recent real estate investment for WeLive in Washington D.C. and NYC. These co-living spaces each have their own theme; Coconat near Berlin and our own Outsite locations in California aim for a boutique hotel experience while offering fun activities such as surfing. While not meant to be permanent residences, each provides a curated experience at a reasonable price for temporary to short-term accommodation.
Co-living solves many of the problems that entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers face, such as finding quality space on short notice with minimal commitment. At the same time, co-living provides the added benefits of community, focus and inspiration. Noted digital nomad and co-founder of Buffer, Leo Widrich, commented, “I’ve been more productive in my four weeks at Outsite than any other week in 2015.” While still in its early stages, the mobility of the workforce is sure to propel co-living to greater prominence at the Millennial intersection of community, convenience and coolness.