You’ve heard of co-working, but co-living?

For entrepreneurs, co-working was an exciting concept for a work environment. Access to affordable, flexible workspace, and a community. I remember the old days of Fishburners, Haymarket in Sydney — the original building. I’d attend the Friday drinks, hang out, see businesses pitch and listen to guest speakers from the ecosystem. There was hype and excitement from the success stories from within it. Fishburners has since integrated into the NSW Government’s Sydney Startup Hub in the CBD — an 11-floor building established to generate SME’s through co-working, of which have created 100 percent of all net jobs growth in NSW in the 6 years leading up to 2014 (*Source: Jobs for the Future Report). Co-working has played a part in many startup’s lifecycles — many do launch and start out in these communities because of the support that’s so valuable during a business’s infancy.

COVID-19, earlier in the year, I was sitting in a co-working space seeing people leave their hot desks or small office space wondering what would be next for co-working. Teams distributed overnight. What had been an emerging norm and source of so much value in my work for the past 4.5 years looked to be going down the drain. I left for regional Australia.

The workplace literally became anywhere. For the first time, locality was irrelevant so long as you had your laptop and Wifi. As individuals and teams weren’t in co-working spaces where did they go… anywhere but a Fishburners, which the Government boosted to grow the economy or a WeWork, which in recent news has been the center of co-working controversy.

The workplace is anywhere

The demand for co-working is predicted to increase, that’s undoubtedly true but how co-working will evolve is still being defined.

Today’s workplace can be anywhere — remote employees, startups, and freelancers are now migrating seamlessly between home offices, coffee shops, and co-working spaces. As I write from the common room of UKO Stanmore I’m about to go for a meeting at a cafe and then spend the afternoon at +U Collective. As part of my co-living subscription, I have 10 days/ month access to UKO’s partner co-working space. Combined co-working co-living subscriptions at UKO start from $400/ week, all-inclusive. Other international co-living providers Mason & Fifth (London) and Outsite (USA & Global) offer similar solutions where members live in private studio apartments and share access to common areas.

When I left my last co-working space to go to regional Australia, I was confident that as long as I had my laptop I could be anywhere for opportunities. In South Australia, I thought — why don’t people do co-working — well they didn’t want to pay for something that they could do in their four-bedroom detached home.

I see co-living as the next biggest thing in housing due to the benefits of all-inclusive rent, added conveniences, and access to a community that lowers the cost of living. As 1 billion people are predicted to access co-working by 2030, right now is only the begging for co-living — what’ll be a bigger and better version of co-working. How it continues to evolve is still unknown.