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Co-living Essentials During the Pandemic and Beyond

Before COVID-19, co-living and working arrangements were gaining popularity. Even now, during the pandemic, companies such as HomWork, where you can live where you work, work where you live, anywhere in the world, specialize in finding these spaces for people who need this type of living and working arrangement.

Desiree Doubrox, the founder of HomWork, says this idea is not new. For decades, people have shared housing space and financial responsibilities as a way to save money. In addition, some people seek co-living spaces for temporary job positions. And some just haven’t found the right place to invest in and buy. 

Doubrox’s company, HomWork, has a unique angle. It is specifically designed to connect women and give them a shared place to live and work and feel safe and supported. 

The concept of co-living is genius; however, the pandemic has opened our eyes to just how fast diseases can spread and how much damage they can cause. These alarming facts complicate the practicality of co-living, but they should not keep people from considering this as a housing option.

Because co-living is a viable solution to the housing crisis, people considering this option deserve to feel safe, even during a pandemic. Even though vaccination is underway, it will take some time. According to Dr. Shamsundar Ramrattan, DO Internal Medicine, “Coexistence depends on vaccines deployed and/or additional strict universal hygiene. With these measures,” says Dr. Ramrattan, “ if you get the virus outside of the home or in the home, the symptoms will be mild.  Like the flu.  As we get herd immunity later in the year, things should be roaring for Thanksgiving.” Dr. Ramrattan’s advice seems encouraging and suggests that co-living arrangements can still be a viable housing option with some strict hygiene measures.

The following is a list of co-living ‘must-haves’ in the COVID-19 era and beyond.

1. Proof of vaccination

Say what you want about vaccinations, but the various COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be incredibly effective. Both Moderna and Pfizer report their vaccines are 95 percent effective at preventing both mild and severe symptoms of COVID-19.  This success should be the first indicator that people who live together should be vaccinated for their safety and the safety of all those with whom they share housing space. Therefore, co-living candidates should be able to prove they have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

2. Negative COVID-19 test and quarantining

In addition to vaccination proof, those considering the co-living option should provide a negative COVID-19 test and verify they have quarantined for 14 days before moving into the co-living situation. According to the CDC, you should still self-quarantine for 14 days after testing since it can take that long after exposure for the virus to produce COVID-19 symptoms. By self-quarantining for 14 days, you lower the chance of possibly exposing others to COVID-19. It is also suggested you have some rapid tests with like a COVID 19 POCT test from SureScreen for testing after the 14 days.

3. Precise and uncompromising house rules 

Even long after the pandemic is over, there will always be the possibility of other harmful diseases compromising our health. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that co-living agreements should include clear and firm rules about cleanliness. Shared spaces should be sanitized frequently. For example, kitchen counters and appliances should get wiped down directly after use during the pandemic. After the COVID-19 threat is eradicated, cleaning these shared spaces daily is still necessary. In addition to regular cleaning, especially during the pandemic, a professional cleaning company should disinfect the area regularly. Therefore, co-living contracts should include a specific set of house rules indicating cleanliness standards for everyone’s safety.

For some people, entertaining the concept of co-living with strangers outside their usual circle might seem scary, especially right now. However, having a clear set of rules for the practice can eliminate some fear. 

For others who are not as concerned with the details of the COVID-19 virus, these requirements might seem extreme. But the times really do dictate this level of caution. Agreeing to strict criteria such as the ideas listed above ensures your safety and the safety of the others sharing your space.

I am a physician and career entrepreneur. After studying medicine, I founded a social media marketing agency and a fitness equipment company as well as direct a non profit. My goal is to inspire others to achieve their dreams and create the freedom in their life that they know is within reach. I host a podcast Mentors Collective to interview some of my favorite business minds.

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