Last week I had a surreal experience: I found myself making Christmas plans. The experience was surreal not because, well, any experience involving my family tends to be surreal, but because it just does't feel like a year has passed since last Christmas. But apparently it’s almost November -- 2016 is nearly over -- and I’m left wondering where on Earth this year has gone. Am I the only one?
It’s something that comes up fairly often among my circle of friends, the idea that time seems to be speeding up. Is this a symptom of getting older? Is time actually speeding up due to some magic mechanism of science that only quantum physicists can understand? Or are we just too busy?
There might be something to that last point. I had started this year with a list of things I’d wanted to do and places I’d wanted to go; I’d thought that money might be my biggest blocker, but it’s looking more and more like time has been my real challenge. How do you overcome that? You can make more money, make efforts to save a penny here and there, but your time is finite and fixed.... to a certain extent.
Since it came to my attention last week, I’ve become aware of how much of a ‘time-war’ many of us live in. Modern life chips away at our hours with work, commuting, and never ending lists of life admin -- it’s like watching a bank balance dwindle.
Whilst big shifts are happening around work culture and improving work-life balance, it remains that British employees work the longest hours in Europe. More and more of us are becoming part of what’s been termed ‘Burnout Britain’, working in excess of 48 hours a week. I don’t think this age of time poverty is limited to city workers or even to those who simply work ‘excessive’ hours -- it’s more of a zeitgeist born from how we as a society have come to (de)value our time.
Last week I wrote about time poverty as a factor in widespread loneliness, but it extends so much further than that. How we manage our time, or fail to manage our time, is fundamentally linked to how we experience and enjoy life. How can we become better at it? Striving for a better work-life balance is probably the biggest task most of us face in that regard, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle.
Fighting Time Poverty With Co-Living
Often overshadowed by the promise of connectedness and community is co-living’s offering of convenience. For a start, at The Collective Old Oak, everything is covered under one inclusive monthly payment: rent, all utilities, council tax, internet, gym membership, community events and cleaning. No more time lost of setting up and managing different accounts, sorting payment methods and meter readings, or trying to split costs amongst housemates -- and then of course closing all these accounts when you need to leave. At Old Oak your room is also professionally cleaned [once a fortnight], including linen changes. Communal spaces are cleaned daily, and there are staff available at all hours to help you with any issues you might have -- no more having to chase a distant and disinterested landlord or letting agency.
Co-living at Old Oak also saves you time by having all the amenities you could possibly need on site -- no more schlepping across London to go to the gym or to the laundrette. There’s an on site restaurant and bar, as well as a games room, cinema, and selection of spaces to work in.
Your social life is also taken care of, as members have access to a variety of weekly on site events: from film nights to live music, yoga classes to guest speaker series, shared breakfasts and potlucks, and even free drinks. Co-living not only facilitates as busy a social calendar as you feel comfortable with, but ultimately provides an easy way to constantly meet new people and feel part of a connected community. Looking for a particular skill, insight or advice, or simply someone who shares an interest in something, hit up the community Facebook group! With over 500 roommates, there will be someone who can help you with just about everything.
Is co-living a solution to time poverty? There’s definitely a place for it in offering people a more convenient way of living that frees up time to be spent on what you really care about. A preference among Millennials for experiences over things is challenging an outdated working culture that put work-life balance in the shadow of maximisation of earnings and tradition. Perhaps as a result, wider shifts are afoot in the world of work, with more of an emphasis on flexible working and geographical mobility.
The most important takeaway is that people are beginning to care more about their time again -- and the implications on the way we live and work will be massive.
Want to learn more about co-living? Get in touch and arrange a tour of Old Oak.
Written by Grace Waters