Hello my name is Peter, I am originally from Manchester and I moved to Oxfordshire last year to work as Product Design Teacher. I am a reasonably outgoing and social person, and my life prior to lockdown was extremely busy with work and organising lessons. I used to work most evenings to ensure I could keep up with my work commitment.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your lifestyle and workstyle?
As Product Design Teacher my day to day life involves helping secondary school students to build products, whilst learning about the ethics and sustainability of working with materials. During the pandemic t all teachers have had to find alternative ways of working. We didn’t have access to the school workshop where we normally build our prototypes and I had to quickly find alternative ways of working to help students learn remotely. During my working hours I have been really fortunate to enjoy the comfort and privacy of my own room, whilst be able to access the excellent common areas and socialise with my Hive mates.
What have been the benefits of living in a Hive community during COVID-19?
Living with my Hive mates has been absolutely fantastic. With such a diverse groups of people interactions are much more engaging and we could share our different professional and personal experiences in these difficult times. I never felt lonely and this has positively impacted my mental health and wellbeing. We have made time for meals together and some of my Hive mates are incredible chefs and really went the extra mile cooking food for everyone. Mealtimes together have really become a valuable and enjoyable part of living together through lockdown.
During the lockdown I really appreciated the access to nature and the wide outdoor space that our Hive provides where you can relax, work, exercise, socialise, have barbecues and with the great British weather this spring we certainly made the most of it. I felt very privileged to have access to nature at home.
How have the health and safety measures put in place during and after lockdown impact your stay at B-Hive Living?
I really appreciate all the measures that the Hive Team put in place as preventive measures during the pandemic. The communication between the Residents and the Hive team was very frequent and clear at all times. Our Health and Safety Ambassador in our Hive had weekly calls and regular updates with the Hive Team. We received weekly Health and Wellbeing Hacks to keep active and enhance our wellbeing (well… I have to say that the chef in the house had a great impact too!)
The cleaning was aligned with all the latest health and safety standards and viewing and non-emergency maintenance were completely stopped during the lockdown providing us with a safe environment at home. Even now that the emergency is lifted there is an even more stringent vetting process in place for new people moving in the Hive. Of course, the diversity and richness of a varied group of individuals living together comes with a degree of risk. One of our Residents is a NHS Doctor, so he was very much working in the front line during the pandemic but we all supported him and adhered to all health and safety measures while at home to protect the community.
What’s the most unexpected thing you discovered about yourself during the pandemic?
Having to spend less time at work I really enjoyed a little bit more time for myself and getting to know my fellow Hive mates much more closely. We even organised an Escape Room during the lockdown and transformed our communal areas in a real-life adventure game. With a few other Hive mates we designed challenging puzzles for all residents to solve (we even used UV ink on some of them!) and we transformed our living room in a themed room with hidden clues to complete the mission and “escape” the room. It took us days of preparation but it gave us all a good laugh although it was solved in about an hour and a half!
Do you think coliving has had a positive effect on your overall health and wellbeing during lockdown?
Living at the Hive has made the lockdown a much more pleasant experience and I cannot be more grateful for living with such an amazing diverse group of friends. I am grateful to B-Hive Living for the continuous effort and communication provided and would certainly recommend B-Hive to friends and family. I have siblings who share a flat with another person in the centre of Manchester, and they certainly found the experience of lockdown much more challenging. The crisis has brought a lot of changes for everyone but I feel very lucky to have had the pleasure of sharing this extraordinary experience with my Hive mates. We are certainly coming out of it with stronger bonds thanks to the time we spent together and the real opportunity to build and nurture our friendship.