Trend of Shared Living and Working

Julie Shenkman
Posted by

The average worker spends about 50 minutes commuting to and from work, according to USA Today. This is because most workers live far away from their places of employment. Arrangements that center around the idea of communal living, however, are springing up to try and reverse this trend. By having employees live and work together in the same space, the companies behind this new movement hope to create a unique environment that fosters innovation.

The idea of having for employees of the same company live together is particularly appealing to technology companies. These firms often hire young programmers, designers and engineers who might not function especially well in an office setting. Not every employee is capable of producing his best work in a structured situation with rigid rules and schedules. Putting younger workers together under the same roof in a shared environment gives their creativity a chance to flow.

In addition to established technology companies, communal living is a good choice for technology start-ups as well. A new firm might rent a large apartment for all their workers, for example, and have everyone focus completely on the venture with few outside distractions.

Apartments are not the only option, however. Some established companies buy houses for groups of workers. In this situation, communal living is often just a temporary setup. The company might only want to put employees in the same housing for a particular project. Once the project is complete, the employees go back to living separately. The company then puts a new group in the home to work on a different project.

One advantage of employees working in a home with communal living is the closeness it fosters between the various individuals in the group. For example, team members not only work near or next to each other but also take many of their meals together. Depending on the design of the house, they can also work out in the same exercise room and spend leisure time together in a recreation room. The sense of community communal living develops helps break down personal barriers and allows everyone to exchange ideas in a supportive setting.

A potential problem of this type of shared environment is that workers are isolated from the rest of the company. To ensure that the employees do not lose contact with the rest of the organization, some firms insist that they visit the office on a regular schedule, such as twice a week. This gives everyone a chance to stay in touch with their colleagues at the main office.

The trend of combining communal living with employment has advantages for both companies and workers. Because it is so beneficial to everyone involved, this arrangement could expand throughout the business world.


Photo courtesy of Saad Faruque at



Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch