The emergence of a temporary new meaning for co-living

The meaning of co-living in Build to Rent buildings has temporarily changed while we adjust to a new way of living amid the coronavirus epidemic.

Wine cellar, co-living amenity | BTR News

Build to Rent homes come with the added benefits of shared amenities and the opportunities to engage with other residents through co-living spaces, events and activities. They provide the opportunities to work, network, socialise, eat and play together with likeminded people. But now the Government has asked people to stay in their homes and respect social distancing, a new – and temporary – way of co-living is emerging. 

Social interactions and face to face conversations with colleagues in the office, a chat with other parents during the school run, or a catch up with friends at the local coffee shop is currently on hold.

And residents in Build to Rent homes are unable to visit the communal gym, go to yoga classes on Monday‘s or the pizza and beer night with other residents. The way we interact socially – through work, groups, clubs and classes has changed, but the engagement and a sense of belonging to a community remains – and is a vital aspect of living in a Build to Rent home.

Connecting while physically isolated

Although we must physically isolate ourselves, we’re not emotionally or spiritually disconnected. We’ve already seen this in Build to Rent buildings, such as Moda Living’s Angel Garden’s neighbourhood that got residents pumped up in a fitness session from their balconies, lounge windows or in the courtyard with social distancing. But even more, the sessions are streamed online for all to join. And that’s a massive community of people coming together with a shared goal.

“We’re introducing fun initiatives to ensure that residents are able to enjoy their lives, look after themselves, and live as normally as possible while taking the necessary steps to tackle Covid-19.”

Johnny Caddick, Managing Director, Moda

There are also many other ways to promote co-living and stay connected to people in your Build to Rent community, or together you can brainstorm ideas for activities, such as a video WhatsApp or FaceTime ‘buddy’ call, a conference call for the weekly book club, meditation or yoga class in the communal areas with social distancing between everyone, or a virtual workshop, class, party – anything you can think of. Co-living still exists, just in a different way that’s been adapted to meet the current lifestyle changes we must adhere to.

“To help promote this sense of community, we’ve organised virtual house parties, personal training sessions, cooking classes, book forums, online board games and offers of home schooling for kids. 

“This sense of spirit and support as a community will help our residents get through, what can be for many, a stressful and worrying time.”

Lesley Roberts, Partner, Allsop

With an internet connection and a device, what was once considered to create more isolation and disconnection is now the very thing that serves to keep us connected and engaged with one another.

By using technology, hobbies and ideas can develop to create activities, learning and growth – the basic principles behind the benefits of co-living – it’s just delivered through different channels and environments.