Communities that practice coliving in Malaysia formulate to make the most out of living with others. But now that social distancing has become the new normal, is this the end of coliving as we know it?
Firstly, we must recognise that this way of living is more than sharing a roof with other residents. Coliving in Malaysia entails a housing environment where people share typical common spaces, like a living room or kitchen.
Under such circumstances, you can see how the pandemic’s advent, the “invisible danger”, would pose a problem for these communities. Social distancing is not easy to implement in shared living spaces, potentially leading to a higher health risk.
Nevertheless, there are several measures coliving operators can take to enforce social distancing — closing off non-essential common areas such as the gym, swimming pool, etc. Another example is having one resident in charge of cleaning while the other cooks.
It’s worth remembering that coliving is a solution to the social and economic needs of many, perhaps even more so now in this time of endemic diseases. And we’ll tell you why!
Economic Advantages of Coliving in Malaysia
We’re sure you’re aware that the pandemic has taken a severe toll on the economy in the past years. Many lost their jobs, and for others, the uncertainty continues. It’s only safe to cut some corners and find a more affordable home.
Learn about the economic advantages of coliving below:
1. Cheaper Rent
Coliving is a rising trend in the rental market for a reason: lower rent. Residents in metropolitan cities are often forced to face hefty rents that take up over 50% of their income.
This situation is the last thing you need as a young adult just entering an already fickle workforce. Although coliving in Malaysia means having a smaller private space and sharing common areas with more people, it makes sense when money is scarce.
2. Better Landlord-Tenant Relationship
The difference between community and traditional living is coliving operators are selling an experience. While traditional landlords simply provide shelter and collect rent every month, coliving operators endorse camaraderie, convenience, and cost savings.
Ultimately, coliving companies are changing the dynamic of the tenant-landlord relationship. Due to their brand image portraying genuine care for their residents, operators may more likely help tenants work out a plan to pay rent when the latter is encumbered.
You might be thinking, “Won’t they come off as pushovers?” On the contrary, studies have shown higher tenant engagement resulting in higher rates of on-time payment.
The motto to live by is that respect goes both ways.
3. Building Social Capital
Social capital refers to the value created through meaningful social interactions. Despite the ambiguous measurement, this economic advantage proves beneficial in times of crisis.
Communities looking after each other have higher social capital and trust levels, leading to lesser costs in social transactions. For example, your neighbour pet-sits for you while you’re gone or drives you to the airport, free of charge.
These saved resources could make a massive difference during hard times. And when you reciprocate such favours, you continue to grow social capital and trust.
Social Advantages of Coliving in Malaysia
Conversely, those who managed to keep a steady income stream might be looking for social interaction after months of isolation. Whatever it may be, coliving offers a resolution.
One thing that coliving spaces offer is much-needed human support. Humans are incredibly social creatures who crave interaction and relationships.
At least with coliving, although with certain restrictions, residents can rely on a dedicated group for physical and mental support.
Let’s dive deeper:
1. Resolving Problems Together
In the previous article, we’ve established that coliving encompasses hierarchical governance where decision-making is collective. Close-knit communities with high social capital are better at solving problems as a collective rather than acting in self-interest.
This mutual trust comes in handy during a pandemic because residents are more likely to abide by social distancing rules. Communities would understand the social consequences that might follow from breaking these rules.
After all, no social pressure surrounds neighbours who lack personal bonds. They wouldn’t care if you’re bothered by an illicit open house next door.
On the other hand, coliving residents with high social capital can rest assured that everyone does their part to ensure a safe living space.
2. Increased Empathy
Coliving provides personal connectedness in a time that would otherwise be awfully lonely. Studies showed that the more profound the connection between people, the more empathy we develop towards others.
Let’s assume that coliving communities share a deeper connection than traditional ones. Not only would they have greater empathy to help each other get through tough times, but they also have lower depression and anxiety levels.
So, is Coliving Here to Stay?
Higher density living arrangements might not seem like the best idea in a pandemic. But as you can see, the factors to consider regarding coliving in Malaysia are multifarious and relative.
The motto to live by is that coliving and its residents can thrive both ways.