This article was first published on MetroResidences under a different title: Are you ready for co-living? – Consider this.

It’s all the hype nowadays. Co-living, co-working and even shared flats—shared living spaces are trending across the globe. With community building and collaboration at the heart of this model, ideally, it sounds great. But with the pros and cons, do you think you’re truly ready to ‘contribute’?

Here’s the lowdown. The ‘co-’ model revolves around private and common facilities that are combined in response to the social and practical needs of contemporary urban citizens. The whole idea depends on the willingness of each individual to contribute to being an active member of the community.

Are you ready to co-create and replicate?

The models we refer to in this article were created around the millennial freelancer/digital nomad profile. The keyword being millennial.

You might fit the demographic classification, but you might not necessarily fit the lifestyle. Other than the fact that millennials have been arguably defined as those born between 1981 and 1996, there are a number of characteristics that define them: 

  • Thrive in community-based efforts
  • Appreciative of sustainable practices
  • Active in collaborative endeavors 

Social cohesion is integral to the success of co-living and coworking. Not all of us are up to the task of continually making friends and forging connections with others—millennials and non-millennials alike.

In a shared space, one will find an abundance of different people with different backgrounds. So it’s important that every member of this community is open to interacting and working together to make this fellowship the best version of itself.

Before anything else, you might want to ask yourself; am I ready to put myself out there every single day?

Drawing the line between work and play.

Conventional living dictates that we work in an environment best suited for the work that we do—be it an office, workshop or school.

In certain coworking and living spaces, however, it’s not always easy to define such areas. Communities sometimes find themselves working while living.

Sure, it sounds nice. I don’t have to go to the office. I will be able to balance my time out better. I can mix it up so work doesn’t become so mundane.

But let’s not forget that having a separate environment of work allows one to enter a mode of productivity with the detachment of daily living-distractions. The more we do a certain activity in a given space, the more we associate the space with said activity.

Working where you live can often lead to rapid burn-outs. The lack of separation from work is undoubtedly unhealthy. Having said that, participating in co-living does offer some benefits to help curb premature burn-outs.

Being surrounded by budding entrepreneurs and eager freelancers can create an atmosphere where the pressure to work harder and achieve more could be used to motivate one’s self.

The challenge here is to enter with a different mindset. One that isn’t truly set but still open to being molded and receptive of your neighbors’ work cultures. So, are you ready to break free from the structured work-life constraints you’ve grown used to? 

Can I trust you?

From the days of backpacking and hostel-living, this question has played on everyone’s mind. I’ve subscribed to living with others, but how can I know who to trust?

Security and privacy are the two main issues that third-party accommodation providers have to address. Even with hotels and serviced apartments, accommodation providers have always been pressed with the need to offer their guests a safe and secure space to live or work from.

Those coming from overseas and starting in a new country are advised to contact your choice of accommodation to ask about the nature of the location, availability of 24hr CCTV surveillance, security guards and access card entry.

If you are indeed choosing accommodation with common space, make sure you check which spaces are communal and which are strictly private. Most of the time you’ll find that shared kitchens, dining and living areas, gardens and patios are the norm. Look for places that list bedrooms as private areas.

Of course, the whole idea of living with other people is to tear down those antisocial walls and mingle, so pouring much focus on privacy and strict security might be almost counterintuitive. Just make sure you’re comfortable with your basic levels of safety and you should be good to go.

So who are my new neighbors?

Shared-accommodation options out there are committed to creating a community of like-minded individuals to co-create and collaborate. No, you won’t get to choose who to live with. But that’s the whole point.

The model is built to match you to people of similar interests or age groups. Your fields of work and industries might be different. Let’s hope they are because you’ll probably learn more from someone who is outside of your circle.

These spaces serve as a catalyst for connections to be made and creative solutions to be found by linking people with different skill sets.

Take a breath—a large portion of the people coming into this shared space have the same concerns as you do. Like them, if you choose to participate with the intention of contributing to this community then there is little to worry about.

How much your neighbors can give you entirely depends on how much you can give, as an individual in a shared ecosystem.It’s safe to say that co-living comes with its fair share of pros and cons! It’s important to remember that it’s a great way to meet new people, but if you like to stick to yourself, you may want to consider renting an apartment or residing in a hotel.

MetroResidences is an online apartment booking platform which sources serviced residences to match your specific living needs. We remove the hassle from booking serviced apartments; connecting people to homes by providing a variety of options while building a community of trusted owners and tenants. Check out our Expat Life blog for tips and guides about Singapore-living!


Joe Frabotta is the Director of Marketing at Anyplace. He's a part-time nomad, traveling + working throughout the year but also having a home base in the mountains of Asheville, NC. When he's not working, you'll probably find him playing guitar, doing a section hike on the Appalachian Trail, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

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