Silvia, a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at B-Hive Living, talks about how running a coliving business drives social change.
Hey Silvia, nice to have you with us today. Tell us a bit more about yourself. What drives you?
Hello, I am Silvia. I am one of the co-founders and currently in charge of operations at B-Hive Living. My passion and life purpose is to build a more connected and inclusive society through running a coliving business. Before founding B-Hive Living I spent 15 years working in senior marketing management roles for blue-chip FMCG brands such as Wall’s, Lipton and Dove. My ambition was to drive change at scale by building purpose and social impact into these brands’ DNA through strategy and innovation. After all, we were reaching and shaping the lifestyle of millions of consumers around the world everyday.
How did you get into running a coliving business?
B-Hive Living was born out of our aspirations to radically shift the experience of shared living renters around the world. Both myself and Williams – my husband and co-founder at B-Hive Living – had lived in shared accommodations in many different cities and countries from Italy to Brazil and the UK. We often felt that the wellbeing and convenience of renters were an after-thought for developers and landlords. The rising rental prices in most major cities were at odds with the general quality of rental properties and home technology. The millennials also desire a more social and flexible way of living.
Therefore, in 2016, we set the vision for the Hives – exceptional coliving spaces where purpose, design and technology come together to serve the wellbeing and convenience of a new generation who dares to live a more connected, purposeful, and fulfilling life. After two years of market research, we bought, refurbished and launched our first Hive prototype in Bicester, Oxfordshire (UK) at the end of 2017. Since then, we’ve acquired, developed and launched four new projects. They have been crucial for helping us learn and develop every aspects of our business model from land acquisition through development to interior design and service delivery. After such a steep learning curve, we have our eyes and hearts set on bringing our vision to a new scale in terms of size and locations in the UK and Europe.
What makes you passionate about coliving, and why are you actively promoting the coliving scene?
I truly believe that coliving is a great answer and antidote for two big societal challenges we currently face: affordable housing and loneliness.
At B-Hive Living, we believe that living well starts at home. After all, over 80% of our health outcomes are determined by the standard of our home, relationships within it and the surrounding environment. Coliving homes should not simply be a place to rest your head. It should be an experience that elevates human condition through community and wellbeing-led design and build. This was our mindset in the development of all our Hives. We endeavour to create an empowering space for residents to lead a healthier, more connected and fulfilling lifestyle through an integrated approach to coliving involving wellbeing design, built and services.
What are your vision and thoughts on the future of coliving for the year to come?
I believe this pandemic will continue to trigger a host of new requirements from operators and tenants. With that, a greater emphasis on safety, wellbeing and convenience will become the norm. Remote working is becoming increasingly widespread. I therefore expect new coliving spaces to provide larger private spaces with communal areas designed to cater for both life and work, and diverse levels of intimacy. Further investment and training in community facilitation will be needed as mental health support and prevention becomes an essential skill in running a coliving business.
As the long spell of remote working continues, the perceived need for presence and proximity in the workplace is dissolving. A new wave of remote workers, freelancers and digital nomads that shifts the demand and supply for coliving spaces might rise towards the outskirts of major cities and in more residential neighbourhoods. Nevertheless, I expect urban demand for coliving to remain high and growing.
With stress, anxiety and burnout on the rise, the homebuilding community will have a massive opportunity to shift approach to sustainability. The industry will need to go beyond focusing on the 1% equation associated with the costs of energy, water and waste. It will truly embrace the transformative potential of healthy buildings supporting the health and wellbeing of current and future generations.
Find out more about how coliving contributes to social wellbeing from the full interview published in Medium