The World Needs More Innovative Coliving Spaces Like Zoku

Is this the epitome of work-life balance?

Photo Courtesy

From the street, Zoku looks like just another gray building on the outskirts of central Amsterdam. But step inside, and it’s a whole ‘nother story.

I discovered Zoku while testing out different coworking memberships during a recent stint in Amsterdam, and it blew my mind in the best possible way. Allow me to take you through what I believe to be an ideal model for increasing the quality-of-life for workers in today’s gig economy.

Live Zoku — An Overview

Welcome to Zoku

Welcome to Zoku

From the moment I arrive, I could sense something’s different. Plastered on the wall of Zoku’s lobby is their mission statement:

Zoku Manifesto

Zoku Manifesto

I am already intrigued, but still have no idea what to expect when I reach their rooftop social space, described as:

“A buzzing bar, comfy living room, lively kitchen, communal working spaces and some gorgeous rooftop terraces.”

When the elevator doors open onto the 6th floor, I audibly gasp. As if I were standing before the gates to heaven, a corridor of greenery and ambient light unfurls before me, with a candle-lit coworking utopia waiting for me at the end. I instantly grab my cell phone to capture the experience for Instagram. What is this place?

On both sides of the greenhouse-like glass tunnel, there are sweeping views of the city and suburbs. I feel like I’ve stepped into a dream world, but it’s about to get better.

After I take my glorious time to walk to the end of the hall, Zoku’s resident Community Manager, Hidde, greets me with a warm smile and an oat milk cappuccino. He’s excited to show me the “common area” — but there’s no way that benign term can do this place justice. I legitimately feel like I’m in a futuristic incubator on another planet.

As if I were standing before the gates to heaven, a corridor of greenery and ambient light unfurls before me, with a candle-lit coworking utopia waiting at the end.
Tour Zoku Amsterdam

A Space Open to Everyone

Zoku has undoubtedly created a rooftop paradise filled with everything you’d need to survive the 21st century. Scattered around is an array of nooks, crannies, desks, and tables — perfect for working, reading, or chatting.

Then there are also meeting rooms, event spaces, multiple patios and decks, a full-service “living” kitchen, games, phone booths, and larger booths equipped with office supplies.

Have an idea? You can map it out right on the wall.

Throughout the space, there’s free fruit and water, and plenty of vibrant food and drinks are available for purchase. They also serve three home-cooked, organic meals per day — should you want to partake.

The interior is pristine, with a decor that has achieved the feat of combining the practicality of WeWork with the comfort and chic appeal of a Restoration Hardware showroom.

I repeat — Zoku is a veritable Millennial paradise.

This is a place that you’ll never want to leave. Luckily, you don’t have to. The main members area is open 24 hours per day, and there are 5 floors of extended-stay hotel rooms below. Oh yes — you can actually live at Zoku, in one of their 144 loft-style apartments.

The Apartments

Each apartment is turn-key ready and fully-equipped with a:

  • Workspace with supplies;
  • Full kitchen with coffee maker;
  • Separate sleeping space with a king-sized bed;
  • Living area;
  • Large kitchen table;
  • Private bathroom;
  • 24/7 check-in;
  • You can even customize the art on your walls to give it more of your personality.

The website warns that you might get separation anxiety if you leave. I believe them.

What’s the price?

Rooms start from around €130 per night, excluding breakfast and 6% city tax. Rates also depend on the room size and dates, and long-stay options are available should you be interested.

What’s included?

You get room amenities plus access to all of Zoku’s social spaces including the coffee bar, game room, kitchen, coworking spaces, music corner, and treatment room.

Zoku has thought of almost everything in making your stay convenient and productive. They offer services such as a mobile app, community manager, regular events, housekeeping, bike rental, laundry, and access to office supplies and materials. There’s even a 3-D printer!

Why are more Zoku’s needed?

The modern-day lifestyle has taken a toll on the global population’s health. There’s a limit to how much stress, inflation, and pressure our wallets, bodies, and minds can handle. That’s before discussing loneliness, depression, relationships, and the many mental health challenges humans face today.

In my article, Is Co-Living the Future of Housing?, I discuss the shortcomings in our current housing paradigm and the potential ways that coliving can solve them.

Today’s professionals want:

  • Ultra-fast, reliable WiFi
  • The most current technology
  • Productive workspaces
  • Convenient access to amenities
  • Safe and comfortable living and working environments
  • Access to local events, fun, and leisure opportunities
  • High-quality food and drinks, craft beers, and coffees
  • Fluid and seamless transportation options
  • To reduce their cost-of-living and the complexity of day-to-day life
  • The ability to delegate, outsource, or eliminate tasks like doing laundry or paying monthly bills
  • Opportunities to connect with others on deep levels in various areas of life: business, social, and romantic

Coliving solutions like Zoku and Roam are at the forefront of meeting the demands of today’s digital nomad and freelancer population. They also integrate an element of social and environmental awareness that their customers value.

For example, Zoku is a LEED- and Green Key Gold-certified building constructed and designed with sustainability in mind. This sustainability carries over into other areas of operation, down to the food they serve to guests and community members.

Looking to the Future and Opportunities for Big Business

The World According to Zoku

Humans are taking on a disproportionate amount of mental work compared to the physical labor of years past. For decades, people have adapted to long commutes, because it’s generally accepted that they probably won’t be able to afford to live where they work. The proportion of people who are freelancing, joining the gig economy, or otherwise working remotely is growing exponentially. People now value freedom and flexibility in their jobs over pay raises. The crave human connection over a large but isolated home in the suburbs.

We need governments and politicians to move quickly toward smart city design, responsible zoning, and thoughtful urban planning. But — in the meantime — there’s a lot of untapped potential for businesses to solve these problems by creating forward-thinking coworking, coliving, and housing solutions for the population of the present and future.

Kristin Wilson has helped over 1,000 people move to >25 countries through her two relocation companies.

Now also a writer and speaker, she teaches individuals how to succeed in the digital nomad lifestyle and helps companies prepare their employees for remote work assignments. Find out more here.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +385,976 people.

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