An increasing number of people are leaving the traditional 9-5 work routine, to embark on lifestyles which allow them to work remotely or as ‘digital nomads’ travelling the world and being able to sustain themselves financially online.

One key motivator for this change in lifestyle is the feeling of isolation and loneliness in traditional working environments combined with the inner desire and knowing that a much more exciting life is possible.

As we pursue paths of following our dreams, making money doing what we love or contributing to a better world, it is sometimes easy to forget some of our most essential needs. One of these most essential human needs is community and belonging. To feel seen, accepted, respected and loved by those around us.

So as we reject and leave our old communities, we don’t need to abandon the idea of community all together and become lone wolves taking on the world all alone. We just need to find the right people, those who share our values and ‘just get us’.

This is one reason why we think coworking spaces need to go much further in what they offer. Sure it is great to offer a place for freelancers to work together, but the sense of community is often limited.

Coliving VS Coworking

The reality is that people go to coworking spaces mainly to work, and maybe to hang out during lunches or coffee breaks, but after a work day everyone goes their separate ways home. From our experience however, real communities are born outside of work. It is not enough to give a space for people to sit next to each other, while everyone is mostly glued to their laptop screens, and call that community.

Communities are born in the moments when people decide to cook together, watch a movie, have a picnic outside or stay up late sharing intimate life stories and exploring life’s big philosophical questions. It is one thing to share our entrepreneurial visions, work histories and new business ideas with each other, but it is completely another thing to really have the time and the space to be able to learn about each other on a deeper level.

At a coworking space it is easy to keep our formal ‘masks’ on, showing others only the sides of ourselves which we feel comfortable with. But when coliving together, the masks quickly dissolve and everyone sees each other in much more authentic and meaningful ways. That’s when real intimacy and connection happens, and that is why location independent workers need coliving spaces.

by Tissione Parmar, Writer and peace facilitator

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