Quick Guide: The Freelance Economy and Co-Living Spaces

Quick Guide: The Freelance Economy and Co-Living Spaces

This is a guest post by our friends at Outsite. For the full post, “The Ultimate Guide to Co-Living,” click here.

It’s the age of disruption. Every major industry is either in the process of disruption, or people are talking about how it will be The Next Big Thing to happen. From shared cars to filling extra space in your suitcase transporting items for others; the world has begun to take advantage of surplus space through the rise of the sharing economy. The housing industry is no exception.

The rise of coworking is a natural predecessor for widespread co-living: the concept that people can live in a shared space without recreating the feeling of living in a college dorm. Taking advantage of large houses and lonely millennials, co-living has become the newest disruption of surplus space. While there are certainly bumps on the road ahead of the new co-living industry players – legislation, supply and demand, and the standard stresses of shared accommodation – the future looks too bright.

Co-living, at its core, is a diverse concept that is difficult to accurately describe in its many forms. That said, there are some commonalities in the co-living experience: shared kitchens and living spaces, shared amenities, more residents than an average housing situation and the presence of a coworking space. Additionally, almost all co-living spaces offer multiple lease options: nightly, weekly and monthly residents all reside together.

We decided to take a deep look at co-living: the past, present, and future of this industry we are proud to be a part of. As the founder of Outsite, I have a special interest in helping educate others about co-living, and this piece is a means to do that. Whether you’ve considered living in a co-living space or have never heard the term before, this guide will give you the information you need to understand this movement – not trend – in the housing industry.


Part of the reason that co-living is possible comes from the fact that – at this point – the millennial/Gen Y generation looks completely different than preceding ones.

First, millennials are consistently staying single longer than previous generations have. Data from a 2014 Gallup poll found as many as 64 percent of millennials reported having no major relationship in their lives at the time surveyed. Unsurprisingly, this trend is the same for marriage rates: marriage rates declined as much as 10 percentage points over the past decade (it’s worth noting that while marriage rates are declining, unmarried partnership rates have doubled from 7 to 13 percent among respondents). On the whole, millennials are later to the game of having a serious, long-term relationship, with a much longer window of singledom and an independent lifestyle.

That isn’t to say that millennials are all living alone. Single (unmarried) millennials saw a 39 percent increase in the rate of living with roommates or housemates between 2005 and 2015, from 5.7 percent to 7.4 percent. These numbers might seem small in the total population, but they represent an overall trend that among those millennials who are single, an increasing number are willing to live with others. In fact, many of these “housemates” are their parents!

Jobs and the Freelance Economy

Simultaneous with these demographic shifts, the future of work has changed. The statistics cited about how the workforce is changing are mentioned so frequently that they almost sound cliché by this point. The data doesn't lie: there is a major shift happening in where, when and how we work – and who we work for. This is obvious, given the fact that 90 percent of millennial employees want more flexibility in when and where they work.

Predictions made as early as 2010 that over 40 percent of the workforce would be working in a freelance, remote or “gig”/project-based capacity by 2020 are manifesting exactly as expected. Additionally, the amount of time millennials spend at each job has consistently fallen. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrates this: 2015 data showed that for jobs taken by 18- to 24-year olds (young millennials), the individual was no longer in that role 69% of the time within one year, and 93% of the time within five years. This was significantly higher turnover than for 40- to 48-year olds (Generation X) respondents.

What does this actually look like? Many of us who previously enjoyed full-time roles in offices, with full benefits and coworkers to hang out with on lunch breaks, are now working for ourselves, and/or changing roles frequently. Maybe we’re managing multiple clients on various projects, running our own businesses, or have transitioned to remote roles, taking advantage of constantly evolving technologies like Slack and global wifi to work from anywhere. This is part of what has contributed to the rise of digital nomadism – the concept of professionals working from foreign locations and moving frequently as costs and opportunities present themselves.

Simultaneously, location independence fueled by technology has enabled this kind of job flexibility. In many cities, the cost of living has become prohibitive for those not currently employed in a traditional full-time role, and many millennials have opened their minds to the possibility of taking advantage of geo-arbitrage opportunities and work from smaller cities or remote locations as a way to get the best of both worlds: enjoying beautiful surroundings while simultaneously achieving professional success.

Outsite provides spaces for remote workers to live and work together in some of the world’s most beautiful locations.

Konsus is proud to be part of the future of work – offering employers and remote workers an opportunity to work more efficiently, with less stress.


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