In recent years, many people have decided to switch to working remotely.
They replaced their stationary offices with many different things, from home offices to coworking spaces, where some of them decided to go even further and bring their working station with them all across the globe.
We already covered this topic in our separate article about coworking nomads, so feel free to check it out.
This trend has become more and more popular among new generations of workers, due to many different reasons, but one certain thing is that this trend has allowed a new living model to be born, and that is coliving.
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What is coliving?
Coliving is a new living model, where visitors have an opportunity to share accommodation with other like-minded people, usually remote workers, and digital nomads.
Even though colivings don’t strictly reserve spots for these groups, due to the nature of their jobs, digital nomads, freelancers, and remote workers are the most common enjoyers of this type of lifestyle.
Coliving places are usually equipped with shared working areas, where visitors have the opportunity to carry on with their work without the need to leave their accommodation. This amenity makes these places perfect for people that require a stable internet connection, and a defined working environment.
Keeping all that in mind, since this is still a relatively new model of living, it is hard to give one overall definition for coliving.
Concept of coliving
The co-living model is built on the concept of sharing your life with others and having support from a community of like-minded individuals. This concept is not something new, and it existed in different forms throughout the history of mankind.
Today, we are only going to concentrate on the latest concept of coliving, the one that we see is rising in popularity right now. There are many defining aspects of coliving accommodation, but the next five aspects stand out as the pillars of coliving:
First of all, coliving does not come from the idea of a standard tourist trip. In fact, it doesn’t even start with the goal of traveling, but more of a goal of experiencing a new way of living.
Instead of focusing on tourist attractions, these places provide you with a genuine local experience and the opportunity to discover what it’s like to live like a local.
For you to enjoy the real benefits of coliving, you should stay at your desired place at least for a month. To support this idea, most colivings actually don’t rent their rooms for shorter stays.
A longer stay will allow you to truly experience how it feels to live there, connect with the local area, and maybe even develop some deeper connections with your fellow colivers.
Coliving places are usually have shared areas where visitors can interact with other colivers. The most common ones are the kitchen, working area, communal area, relaxing area, etc.
Unlike hotels and hostels, coliving places put a lot of thought into their communal areas so they would spark conversations and inspire you to come together. Community is a big part of colivings, so the communal areas are also a big part of what makes colivings different compared to other accommodations out there.
However, unlike in hostels, in colivings, you don’t share all rooms with others. Some rooms are there to connect you with others, but you will also have your privacy because, in most places, bedrooms and even bathrooms are private.
A big difference is that hostels are usually oriented towards shorter stays, while, like we already mentioned, coliving places are built for long-term stays. Even though a person can share a room with many different people for a short period, it’s a bit tricky for an adult to stay for a month or longer while never having their privacy.
Access to the community might be the most important factor that divides coliving places from other types of accommodations. Again, the emphasis here is not on the accommodation but the whole experience, so redefining coliving from “a type of accommodation” to a “way of living” might be the right thing to do.
Colivings are built around their colivers and they offer a place where you can meet other people, co-live, and interact.
Most coliving places are very proud of their communities, considering them as one of their most important qualities.
These places offer a perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people, share your life, ideas, etc.
All these lead us to the next pillar of coliving, which is coworking.
Coworking is something that has gained popularity in the last decade or two, and which, in some way, opened room for coliving to fully emerge as a concept. Keeping that in mind, you can say that coliving is built on coworking.
Most of the coliving places have their coworking areas which allow people to have fully-equipped offices built in their accommodation.
This is a super important feature for the new working class. As we said, so many people switched to working remotely, and so many companies started hiring people to work remotely.
Covid definitely had a significant impact on this change, but even without it, it would probably happen very soon.
Companies have realized that they can bring so much more talent in-house without limiting themselves by distance, or even country borders. Along with that, by hiring people remotely, companies found a way to cut costs by not renting offices (that can be so expensive), as well as sometimes paying their employees salaries matching their location.
All in all, so many people started working remotely and soon realized that having a designated working area instead of working from their living rooms, or a coffee shop could be very beneficial on their productivity, expenses, etc. That’s where coworking places started getting attention.
And now, in colivings, coworking mostly goes into the price of your room.
Coliving activities are something that really adds up value and uniqueness to each coliving space. Usually, the activities revolve around some local-related stuff which additionally provides you with an opportunity to truly experience the place or a city where you are staying.
Coliving owners are the ones that usually organize these activities, and it is a good way to help colivers build some bonds and have fun while doing it.
And of course, they are a perfect way to take your mind from hard work and charge your batteries.
There are no limits to what these activities can be, but usually, they are arts and crafts sessions, wine-tasting, surfing, etc. If you want to check out some of the activities that some places in Spain offer, check these two articles where we talk about this.
Coliving activities in Spain
Coliving in Europe
Some of the first coliving places in Europe, in this latest form, started opening at the beginning of the 2010s’.
Today, colivings places exist all over Europe, and they are getting more and more popular. Almost every country in Europe has at least one coliving place.
The biggest players though, are Spain, France, and Germany.
Coliving in Spain
Spain is one the pioneers of the coliving movement in Europe. Some of the first coliving places on the oldest continent start opening here in Spain.
Even though it firstly appeared in this form 7-8 years ago, the big wave of coliving places can be noticed somewhere around the Covid outbreak. This is not unusual. Throughout history, we can see some of the greatest community movements took place during and after tough times.
Covid especially impacted the getting-together and brought loneliness and isolation, so a logical next step was to make places where people can start being part of a group again and surround themselves with others.
Some of the biggest coliving centers are the Canary Islands, Barcelona, and Valencia.
These days there are 20-30 different coliving places around Spain, and you can experience everything from rural coliving to colivings for families.
If you are more interested in discovering about the coliving movement in Spain, you can jump to our separate article where we cover all of that.
Also, recently we started an interview series with coliving owners in Spain, so you can check out their perspective on this movement.
Types of colivings
As we already stated, there isn’t a single definition of what coliving should look like. That is why there are numerous different types of coliving places.
Each of those places has its own approach to coliving, and all of them put some personal touch on this concept. That is one more charm of the coliving movement since it allows its members to shape it.
Some of the most common types of coliving places are:
Rural coliving is probably the most popular form of coliving. The usual motivation for people choosing this type of coliving is to escape from the everyday chaos of city life.
These types of places allow their colivers exactly that, but also the opportunity to continue with their jobs and have all necessary equipment which they can find in the cities.
These places also often promote sustainability and help the local economies grow. The food is either grown in the coliving and colivers take care of it, or the coliving supplies its food and other necessities from local vendors and thus supports the rural community.
With the increase of people enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle, the gentrification of rural and exotic places also increased. People traveling abroad, renting places, and working from coffee shops has had an impact on the local prices, so places like these come as a great alternative and show that you can also support the local growth and development while enjoying a modern stay with fully equipped amenities.
Coliving for families
Not many coliving places are optimized for people with children, and that is why in recent months there are new places that are dealing with this issue. One of them is iSlow, which is opening its space to visitors in April 2022.
Opening the doors to families with small kids can encourage more young couples not to choose between experiencing the world and starting a family but to embrace it all. Growing up in these settings can have a huge positive impact on the children, which we yet have to explore.
New ways of working mean new ways of lifestyle and that definitely includes family life, so it’s amazing to see that there are places that will try to incorporate that into the new coworking-coliving lifestyle.
Coliving for artists
As we said, coliving places are not restricted only to remote workers and traveling freelancers. Some colivings are targeting different groups of visitors.
One representative of these places can be Kalart. They have a process of selection where they are looking to filter out and enrich their community with a diversity of different types of creatives and artists.
They do not target people who would work on their laptops 8 hours a day, but instead people that would share their art skills, make music together, tell stories, etc.
Coliving places for students
Even though coliving places are oriented towards a bit older audience, there are still places that target students and younger people.
These places are more organized around parties and student lifestyles instead of the traditional coworking approach. One of the examples is Coliving Porto which often hosts Erasmus students.
Benefits of coliving
This model of living has so many benefits to offer and it allows its visitors to fully enjoy the local aspect while staying in a new place.
Other than that, coliving places give a sense of community. In the last few decades we were all transitioning to a digital era, and like with any other transition, we lost a bit of ourselves in the process. The communities have weakened, and people became more private and individually-oriented.
Now all our lives are tightly connected to our screens. Instead of going for a coffee, we can now hang out with friends over video calls, instead of visiting the gym, we can work out in our bedroom watching an influencer online, instead of cooking, your dinner can now be at your doorstep in just a few clicks.
Now, you can listen to whole concerts on streaming platforms, talk to your colleagues via chat, and your kids can learn in virtual classrooms while looking at their peers through the screen.
After a decade of improving the technology to be able to do all these things online, we’re all now in desperate need of connecting in real life.
We need to connect with:
- Our friends, colleagues, our family
- The food; our bodies, our health
- The nature, the art, the freedom
Colivings are built on the above – the real connection in the real world but without going completely offline; they’re about bringing the balance into our lives and doing it together.
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Secure yourself the best coliving experience
- Coliving.com – The most popular platform for finding coliving spaces online. On top of that, they have the biggest base of coliving accommodation in the world.
- SafetyWing – The best travel insurance for digital nomads and remote workers. It is perfect for all people who want to experience a coliving way of lifestyle.
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