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Do Co-Living Spaces Compromise Work-Life Balance?

Co-living spaces offer a cheap, all-in-one package: a place where freelancers can live and work with other self-employed individuals. But is this system crossing the boundaries of work and life?

There’s a shift in the way some people are doing business these days. They’re shedding their office cubicles to become freelancers. It’s not that hard. Most of the time all that’s required is a laptop, electrical outlet, and Wi-Fi connection to get the ball rolling. Tasbeeh Herwees from Good reports that a new economy has sprung up to support and cater to these individuals. But Herwees warns that some of these services say far more about the horrible state of our financial times than the good of unshackling ourselves from the office cubicle.

Co-working spaces represent the good in this new self-employed economy. Freelancers live lonely lifestyles — often working out of home-offices, alone. Co-working spaces have been sprouting up to help fill the void and bring the self-employed together. But freelancers on the go wanted for something more — thus, co-living spaces were born for these “digital nomads.”

These environments offer a place for traveling entrepreneurs to not only work, but also live and connect with other people with like-minded business practices. Herwees writes that the idea sounds utopic, but sends a far more bleak message about how we treat and package people. She writes:

“You can’t afford rent anymore? Here, a better alternative: rent an office space you can sleep in. Co-living spaces are cheaper than most studio apartments in the urban metropolises — Nomad House’s Project Bali is $525 a month.”

She argues that putting co-living and working spaces into an all-in-one package compromises the boundaries between labor and leisure, being used as an answer to overpriced housing. In many cities, renting an apartment — let alone a working space — isn’t possible for self-employed individuals, according to a report in CityLab. Though, many digital nomads may not see it that way — that, in fact, these spaces provide them the freedom to live and work anywhere.

Both versions may hold some truth. What do you think about the rise of co-working and co-living spaces? Sound off in the comments below.

To read more about co-living spaces and how it affects the freelance economy, read more at Good.

Photo Credit: Photo Monkey/Flickr


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