Moving to a new city, whether it is for work or education, brings with it a huge dose of excitement. After all, who doesn’t welcome the chance to embrace new experiences? At the same time, leaving the comfort of familiar environs can be daunting. One of the biggest challenges is finding a comfortable place to call home. Many cannot afford to stay alone due to budgetary considerations, yet do not want to compromise on comfort. The solution, though, is at hand – co-living.
Co-living is the new mantra for modern-day city-dwellers. It is more than just people staying together in a flat or a building. It is an attempt to create a conscious community that can live a sustainable lifestyle, by sharing the resources and the space provided to them. Co-living is all about sharing a place with like-minded people, where one can benefit from being part of a working community by getting inspired by others. In a world where people are increasingly engaged in virtual socializing, co-living spaces help keep it real.
Spread of concept
The concept is growing rapidly. It primarily attracts millennials who do not want to be tied down – young working individuals who do not want to be bogged down juggling work and home chores. Co-living offers them the liberty to live a hassle-free life by omitting a lot of compulsions and have-tos of daily life.
In fact, co-living is increasingly becoming a viable option for a multitude of people, across different age and income groups. Today, with the advent of technology and an awakened consumer consciousness, people (mainly millennials and Generation Z) are looking for places that avoid involvement of middlemen, difficult landlords, signing a lot of bonds and agreements, and the multiple payment loopholes. As more and more people realize the importance of a healthier life, they are becoming aware of the perils of travelling long hours in polluted streets. They are also becoming aware of the importance of a work-life balance, and staying near to where they work is easily the best option.
This awareness makes the future of co-living spaces look very interesting. In the next couple of years, co-living will expand to the inclusion of co-working spaces within the same campus and community. With the inception of such ideas, the co-living industry aims to become a 360-degree community.
Co-living providers ensure the living space is well-maintained and adequately furnished. It provides amenities like food, internet, laundry, flexible contracts, and recreation options. Communication between the provider and consumer is transparent and quick. It is usually via an Android or iOS app. In case the customer/resident faces any issues, all they need to do is ‘raise a ticket’ or get connected with the service provider through the app. Also, there is a group of professionals available 24×7 who take care of the needs and requirements of the resident/customer.
Feedback from people who have experienced co-living shows that the factors that help them zero in on a space are fun (like community-driven engagements), flexibility (like zero lock-in periods, easy move-in and move-out options, no brokerages, flexible payments, etc.), and functionality (inclusion of all amenities without being overly expensive).
The demographic that is open to this concept is usually within the age group of 22-35 – those who have just started their professional careers or are pursuing a post-graduate programme. However, a few beyond the mentioned categories are also taking it up as an option. It is observed that a split of approximately 59-41 percent of men and women respectively are embracing the co-living experience in India. With varied affordable options available, co-living is a much more acceptable option than what it was a couple of years ago. Over the past six months, a trend that has been noticed is an increase in the number of working women taking up co-living accommodations.
Co-living revolves around a simple concept of like-minded people living under the same roof, and the provider making it a functional and better place for the residents to live by providing all the basic amenities within a pocket-friendly budget. It is not merely an upcoming idea – it is a sustainable option that is already in practice and all set to grow.
Dr Nikhil Sikri is Co-founder and CEO of Zolo.