Posted on 9th of April, 2020

How COVID-19 has strengthened the Coliving community

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coliving chains and spaces have increasingly been in the news. While the impact of the circumstances on the industry is apparent, the primary reason is, in fact, the flexibility, creative solutions, and value they provide during this time.

The following points highlight ways in which Coliving spaces are responding to the crisis and the various avenues in which they keep their locations open and running.

Providing digital nomads with a home

Amidst the lockdowns and travel bans that have been issued, Coliving spaces have had to cope with the inevitable loss of bookings. In the same vein, Coliving tenants now require a space to live more than ever. A large number of the Coliving community are freelancers, contract-workers, conference-goers, and modern-day expatriates. These individuals are digital nomads who rely on Coliving spaces as the perfect solution to their stay in a foreign country.

“If we were to close locations, these people would lose the place they know to be home.” - Coliving space and community Outside

Outside, with 28 spaces globally, describes their members saying they, “are not necessarily ‘travellers’, but they’re also not residents.” While those with a more permanent home-base are able to quarantine, these digital nomads require their own space. “To stay at home is to stay where they are”, says Outside, and “if we were to close locations, these people would lose the place they know to be home.” In this way by keeping their doors open despite the costs, Coliving spaces are providing solace to many.

Community support

While the Coliving spaces themselves are looking out for their tenants, the tenants themselves have formed a community through which they can look out for one another. This has been manifested ranging from Whatsapp Groups to Neighborhood gatherings from balconies or front doors. Housemates are purchasing masks, thermometers and groceries to distribute between themselves.

On the Outside Slack channel, tenants are exchanging information on travel bans and updates of country regulations, as well as conditions of airports globally.

In addition to social networking channels, Coliving communities are using Facebook’s Community Help, and are exchanging delivery apps, COVID-19 information platforms, and health and well-being apps.

Optimizing operations for employees and tenants

Coliving spaces are implementing as many tactics as possible to reduce the stressors of employees and tenants. Resources such as vetting all personnel, managing entries, and facilitating delivery services are a few ways in which operations are being adapted and optimized to meet the pressure of the pandemic.

Coliving spaces are still keeping their kitchens and restaurant services open, allowing room service delivery and maintaining optimal hygiene.

Some go as far as making sure essential commodities such as toilet paper are available for every resident and Coliving global chain Zoku, is providing hand sanitizer gel dispensers in public areas such as their Social Spaces.

How COVID-19 has strengthened the Coliving community 1

Flexible stays

An additional benefit which some Coliving spaces are providing their community is to bend their offers to a week-long or single-night stays.

This allows individuals in precarious situations the option to find temporary housing in a time of need.

Additionally, for recent travellers who may have contracted the virus, Coliving spaces are offering flexible refunds.

Valuable discounts and offers

Discounts can go a long way in a time of economic uncertainty and Coliving space Sonder exemplifies this by offering a 40% discount to anyone who stays longer than 14 days at their private spaces.

The Collective Canary Wharf is an example of a Coliving space which while staying open, has temporarily closed short stay bookings of 1-7 nights until 14th April. In order to balance this, should bookings be affected, they offer flexible date changes or full refunds.

In these circumstances, Coliving spaces are thriving in their ability to creatively dealing with the repercussions of COVID-19, as the examples above illustrate.

“These uncertain times are turning many things upside down. For many, it is now time to rethink concepts. Let’s face it, physical distancing is a new unprecedented challenge; but what we see now is people realising social connection more valuable than ever before.” - Christian Schmitz, Global Account Manager PBSA & Coliving at SALTO Systems

These spaces and their communities are making the best out of the situation and deserve support from the rest of us. If anything, their values and vision have been strengthened for the better.

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