By Wilma I. Miranda
The growing trend in the US and Europe and is beginning to grow in Asia although not yet in the Philippines is the concept of what they call co-living space, communal living or share houses. It used to be that professionals when they reached a certain age starts to live on their own whether in a condo or an apartment or even their own house. But because of the high cost of properties and the tendency of people to be lonely and depressed when alone, the concept of co-living became attractive to many.
This co-living became initially popular in Silicon Valley where the concept of working remotely from home is also popular. And since the homes of these computer geeks may be far from their working place (although ironically they do not need to go to the office), still the convenience and the social interactions are factors in their decisions. The important thing is there should be a good WIFI connection since computers will be the indispensable partners of these so-called ” digital nomads”.
Certain co-living spaces are now growing into empires with houses converted into these types of space in different parts of the world. Common features of these homes are there are no tables or chairs or televisions in the bedrooms but they have common spaces for work and leisure so one can interact with the others.
The better ones have toilet and bathrooms for each room but the cheaper types have common ones. The convenience and comfort of not having to hire your own cleaners and security make it easier for the “renters” to focus on their work. Or if they still go to their office, the convenience of not having to do housework after a long day in the office and not having to drive or commute to the office since most of these are within near the business districts.
Length of stay in these type of homes can be short as one week up to months, years or even a lifetime. There are married couples who also made this co-living spaces as their homes particularly the newly-married couple or the empty-nesters.
It used to be that people who work in offices goes home and goes to the office for work or rent co-working spaces somewhere. Now with this concept you live and at the same time work in the same place. In Silicon Valley for instance, staying in a communal living where everybody is almost on the same type of jobs or career can be very helpful in making one productive and collaborating work or even just consulting with these mind-like co-sharers of space will be easy.
However these spaces are not just for digital nomads but also for entrepreneurs, consultants,executives and those whose work takes them to several places sometimes staying for more than a month in one place. They are cheaper than a hotel and there are providers who allows you to pay a single amount for any places where they have branches for you to stay.
But these places can also be open for temptation if one is faint-hearted and does not have a firm set of values. Because you will be meeting several people and working and dining in the same place, the temptation of getting involved whether just a fling or a serious one is there. In fact, the bigger companies have a community manager who plans group dinners and social events
There will always be a downside in every opportunity and one just have to calculate the risk to avoid the downside. But for now this concept became so popular that a company named Roam had already set up such homes in Miami, Tokyo, Bali to name a few.
As the article in the The Economist for the April/May issue mentioned about living arrangements becoming more popular again since most of the professional work are now in computers, it has become less necessary to go to the office and live near the workplace. In the same article it mentioned about a 2016 Gallup poll, where nearly half of all employed Americans work remotely at least some of the time, up from 9% in 1995 and a fifth of these flexible employees never go into the office. Whether they stay in a co-living home near the office or quite far from it – they can alway find one which suits their needs and their tastes.
This is not yet popular in the Philippines but when it does, it will be certainly a welcome alternative to living arrangements.