as we have started to enjoy a return to a semblance of normality, global events
show that we might be facing a potential second wave, with continued periods of
uncertainty and lockdowns. This makes it all the more important that we focus
on providing safe and supportive spaces to live.
Facing the ‘New
Since the beginning of lockdown, many of us have been forced to
work from home. For most young professionals, this sudden change in lifestyle
came as a shock and brought new challenges.
One of the biggest difficulties was separating work life from
home life. This was especially hard for those in flatshare rentals with a lack
of space and limited flexibility, while those living alone, without daily
face-to-face interaction, experienced months in isolation.
Understandably, many do not believe they can continue like this
in the long term, and so are making preparations to protect themselves in case
of the renewed restrictions a second wave would bring.
A co-living evolution
Contrary to those who say Covid-19 could be the end of
co-living, we at Vonder are seeing high demand from young professionals looking
for a safe, flexible and social rental experience. And so, even as the economy
faces a bumpy road, we’ve just launched our latest luxury London location,
Vonder Shoreditch, as an addition to our current locations, including Vonder
Hill and Vonder Village.
Our co-living schemes allow people to live in large,
independent, luxurious apartments, while working in separate spacious
co-working areas in the same building. Round the clock cleaning, hygiene and
health checks are standard, shared communal areas and amenities are included
and tenants belong to a true active and supportive community.
This evolution in co-living is wanted now more than ever, so
what should those in the sector do to adapt to the shifting environment and
meet this ‘new normal’ demand?
Let’s get rid of micro-apartments. If people are going to be
spending most of their time at home for the foreseeable, spacious, stylish and
well-designed independent living spaces must be provided. The growth of the
co-living model should also be sustained organically, based on demand, rather
than fueled artificially through massive funding rounds.
Tenants should be provided with a built-in community and support
team to offer help and advice when settling in and integrating. We see the ‘co’
in co-living as referring to community experience, curated content and
connection to people, not ‘co’mmunal living. Our 9.5 month average stay has
helped us to heighten the focus on building a community to reduce isolation at
times like these, driven by a regular and diverse programme of off-and-online
events to encourage safe socialising.
Tenants need help to better separate home from work. Hassle-free
living should be the focus, with all features and amenities (concierge service,
co-working spaces, cinema, garden) provided on-site and under one bill, so
there is no need to leave the building unless absolutely necessary.
The sector must also prioritise 24/7 cleaning and strict
commitment to hygiene and safety. Tenants must feel this is the safest and most
secure place to live and work right now.
These are uncertain times for everybody, personally and professionally.
Adapting to customer needs with flexible rental arrangements must be a
Rather than spelling the end, co-living has real potential to
offer a genuine solution to meet consumer demands of the day. But changes have
to made if you want to truly deliver the customer experience and value
Tomer Bercoviz is chief executive of residential consultant
and co-living specialist Vonder Europe