Coworking, a style of work which involves a shared workspace, has grown in popularity over the last decade, the concept spreading around the world. In a similar way that coworking spaces have encouraged professionals to change the way they work together, coliving has helped a new generation of professionals reinvent the way they work and live. They are both movements which have deeply ingrained value systems based on collaboration, transparency and community – but how does this impact how we live and work now and in the future?
The rise of these spaces
Once believed to be just a fad, coworking has in fact proven itself to be more than this over the last decade. An independent analysis has found that co-working spaces have expanded from just 75 spaces available in 2007 to 13,800 available globally in 2017. It has dramatically changed the way many of us work today and changed the expectations of how an office should look – challenging the traditional workspace. Advancements in different technologies have allowed workers to be anywhere in the world and communicate readily from the touch of a button on laptops and mobile phones. As a result, more companies are letting their employees work remotely and freelancers are on the rise. Millennials are also a driving force to the change. The last generation born to the 20th century is beginning to earn more responsibility and buying power in the economy, and their attitudes are beginning to influence how we live, work and play in a very real way.
Why are people choose to colive?
Coliving is a style of shared residence, typically involving furnished apartments with communal kitchen and common spaces – with emphasis on amenities and community. Not so long ago, a few startups started experimenting with applying the coworking model to housing spaces. Coliving is also on the rise and popular with Millennials. Many young adults around the world live with multiple housemates or flatmates. Although recessions and other financial challenges no doubt play a part in this, it’s becoming clear that many millennials are adopting shared living as a conscious lifestyle choice. Much like coworking, coliving offers much more than just a bed to sleep in. Individuals that seek out these communities are looking for an experience, one which will allow them to expand their network and minds – affordability is an added bonus! Coliving spaces are therefore popping up more and more, particularly in densely populated and urban areas.
The social and networking aspects are probably the most obvious benefits of coliving, but it’s also proven to make you healthier and live longer. As mentioned is can often be a big money-saver, allowing us to split costs for things like food, utilities, household items and utensils or borrow what we don’t have. We can even split our time on the monotonous everyday tasks – such as cleaning and washing! In many ways, shared living is also a more sustainable way to live in terms of energy and resources – we can cut down on how many appliances we run, or items which we end up buying and later throw away. Ultimately, in larger co-living communities, it becomes so much more than a place to sleep at night. It becomes a community and place of belonging.
Coworking is evolving to combine coliving
In the last decade, coworking has proven itself to be more than just a trend. It has dramatically changed the way many of us work today and reframed notions of how an office should look. However, coworking is now evolving to combine the popular trend of co-living. These spaces tend to offer serviced rooms in shared apartments with communal lounges, kitchens and bathrooms – providing residents a more sociable lifestyle, for a more affordable price than the average rented studio flat. Some companies are offering all-inclusive rent with access to coworking spaces, wifi, gym, cinema, spa and dining rooms. While empirical research on coliving is yet to emerge, 96% of residents of co-housing communities report increased life satisfaction according to research.
How does the future look?
Co-working spaces offer the potential to address other challenges facing our future cities as they provide accessible space for individuals to work, network and become part of a like-minded community. As they evolve with coliving spaces, they are potentially meeting the demand of workers for flexible, autonomous and creative work environments, broadening the changes to how we work and live. However, some research indicates that the social nature of co-working spaces may actually lead to issues experienced by traditional office users, such as distraction and lack of privacy. No matter your views, it’s undeniable to say that coworking and coliving spaces are dominating space as a service concept, drastically changing how we work and live. This could ultimately lead to the demise of the traditional workspace and home life as we know it.