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How coliving is shaping the future of work in Spain

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How coliving is shaping the future of work in Spain
One of the coliving pioneer projects in Spain is in Javea. Photo: Sun and Co
11:34 CEST+02:00
Everyone's heard of coworking spaces, but one project in the Costa Blanca is taking the concept a step further. Introducing coliving spaces; the next big thing for digital nomads.

The Local gets the lowdown from Sienna Brown, a full-time resident at Sun & Co coliving space in Javea. 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in online entrepreneurship and location independence has become a trend that everyone is talking about.

Research shows that 24 percent of people are currently earning money from digital platforms and it’s easy to see that the future of work is allowing almost anyone with a laptop to be able to live and work from anywhere in the world.

As these trends grow, it inevitably means that more people are calling different countries home, whether it’s for five months, five years or longer. So how does that impact and innovate the various societies that they’re moving into?

Here in Spain, we’re seeing the same increase of entrepreneurs and freelancers "working from home" or a place of their choosing but with that also comes a price.

It changes the way that people work, play, and integrate themselves socially in their local community while still having a positive impact on the world around them.

As the trends evolve, the movement of coliving has a direct influence on the way that these remote workers not only work, but also navigate the world.

What Is coliving exactly?

Despite what some may think, coliving isn’t sharing a flat with roommate like one might do in university. But coliving, when done well, is creating a space and community that brings together like-minded individuals with diverse backgrounds to both live and work under the same roof.

In the same way that one might enter into a coworking community to evade the sentiment of isolation on a daily basis, coliving takes it just a step further and for the better.

With over 30 percent of freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote workers claiming that isolation and loneliness is something they regularly struggle with, it can be hard to find meaningful relationships in an age where we’re always sitting behind a screen.

It’s been found that when people experience coliving; both living and working under the same roof, it doesn’t just have benefits on well-being, our environmental impact and meaningful connection but it also alters the way that we work.

One of the innovators of the coliving movement in Europe is Sun and Co. based in Javea, Spain. A 19th century house converted into a coliving space has welcomed over 500 location independent workers through their doors in less than three years, finding their new “home away from home” and returning time and time again.

Whether it’s to try out the concept of coliving, find their Spanish home on their “digital nomad” journey or just simply disconnect from their daily life for a “workation”, the benefits of an experience like this prove to be true for many reasons.

How It Works

The structure of the coliving experience in Sun and Co. is quite simple; you decide how long you’d like to stay for and everything included from accommodation to workspace and community. Depending on what you’re looking for, you have the option to choose from a single, shared or quad room and the prices from €28 a night to €55 depending on the length of your stay. Keep in mind, this is what you’re paying for accommodation, a coworking space and access to an international community of professionals.

Of course, the longer you stay, the more affordable it becomes.

To provide value and a sense of connection the minimum stay is one week but most people stay for 2-5 weeks, while others choose to stay for 2-3 months at a time. The people who stay are more than just coders like most imagine but instead, there are coaches, editors, designers, project managers, entrepreneurs, freelancers and more professions but underneath it all everyone who comes has a desire to live life outside of the typical “9 to 5”.

During the week, there are both professional activities from 'skillshares' (which is when someone shares their knowledge in a certain field; varying from topics like Facebook ads, email marketing, tai-chi, remote team organization, etc.) to masterminds, which is when someone has a personal or professional challenge that they’re facing and the rest of the community gives insights and helps them through the issue.

And of course, the social activities ranging from hiking, kayaking, cooking challenges, movie nights and even many local events in town.

Strong Community

Community might be one of the biggest benefits from staying in a coliving space and it’s been seen that many of the relationships created, often extend past the walls of the house. In our day-to-day lives, it’s quite difficult to craft new relationships that extend past our professions but in an environment when you’re not just working next to someone but also sharing a glass of wine with them over dinner, real connection happens in a short amount of time.

In most coliving spaces, there is a brief application process that secures that like-minded individuals will be a part of the community so no matter what your background might be, you’ll be able to truly connect with the others in the house. Coliving communities have lead to job opportunities, new friendships, travel partners and even blooming relationships.

Professional Growth

Collective and collaborative learning is what fosters professional growth in a coliving environment. When you have an array of individuals with a variety of different skills, they’re able to share with one another ideas, concepts and knowledge… being able to both teach and learn from one another.

Not only are you able to learn new skills but your network also grows tenfold, entering into an international community of people who are willing and open to provide value for the others.

Places like Sun and Co. have also taken the concept of professional growth one step further by launching Sun and Co. Academy, seven-day immersive courses that cover specific topics like brand building to scaling a business and even creating online courses that allow for the attendees to immerse themselves in a learning environment and leave with new skills and knowledge to advance professionally in a different field.  

Work/Life Balance

When you have spaces like these in remote towns like Javea, it fosters a different sense of work/life balance than what you might find in cities like Madrid or Barcelona. With a central focus on working smarter and living better, coliving spaces like Sun and Co. spark inspiration to re-imagine what life looks like when you’re able to balance not just the professional but also the social.

When you’re with new people in a beautiful location, time and time again, people find themselves being more productive in a shorter amount of time so that they can fully enjoy the experience.

With less distractions than what we have in our everyday life and intention activities that foster exploration and slow living, levels of productivity fly rocket and general sense of happiness rises.

With the future of work changing both in Spain and globally, it only makes sense that we have more resources available to support and benefit the way that the world is moving.

Coliving is one of those resources that we now have readily available, allowing for anyone to create a life that fosters community, productivity, growth and balance.

If you’re interested in learning more about the coliving movement or the Sun and Co. community in Spain, don’t hesitate to find out more at Sun and Co. or email sienna@sun-and-co.com with any questions you might have.

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