Could you handle living and breathing work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, living under the same roof as your coworkers, maybe even your boss? It’s a new work trend known as “co-housing,” which is gaining popularity. For example:
An advertising company called Enplug rents a six-bedroom house in Bel Air,where 12 staffers live, work and sleep in the same space.
Also CrashPad is a company that rents out communal living spaces in Boston, known as “cloffices” or closet offices, where co-workers can work, sleep and share a kitchen.
And Whirlpool recently started sending new sales trainees to live together for ten weeks in a condo in Michigan. One that’s filled with appliances from Whirlpool. The idea is to immerse recruits in an environment where they can become experts on the products they’ll be selling, like dishwashers and dryers.
But there are many other benefits to the co-housing trend. For starters, it helps companies save money because instead of salaries, employees get a small stipend, plus free food and rent. Co-housing also helps employees bond and build stronger professional relationships. In fact, a lot of workers compare it to living in a college dorm environment where the sales manager makes calls in one room, while the software engineer writes code in their boxers nearby, and the boss brainstorms while making everyone grilled cheese sandwiches.
One obvious problem with co-housing is that there’s no separation between your work life and private life. If you have a bad day on the job, you can never just detach and “unwind” at home because your home IS your work. But many employees say having a free place to live more than makes up for the lack of privacy.