How to Create Great Tenant & Community Experiences (Ep. 5)

Welcome to the show notes for the 4th episode of Coliving Conversations, a show that shines light on the people, projects, and places of the blossoming coliving movement!

In this episode, join co-hosts Naima Ritter Figueres and Juan Ortiz for a chat with Jonas Häggqvistco- founder of COLIVE, one of Swedens leading coliving companies and co-founder of Coly, a roommate matching platform for shared living spaces. Dive into this episode to learn all about how to create a thriving tenant and community experienceKey points we cover in the episode include:

  1. How COLIVE is helping address the loneliness and housing crisis in Sweden
  2. The benefits of using a roommate matching tool
  3. Common community building challenges and mistakes
  4. Tips for creating a thriving tenant and community experience

Enjoy!

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    Key Resources mentioned in Episode 5 (Season 1)

    • Coly Matching Engine: A scientific matching, personality & values mapping tool for shared living operations. Provides tenant profiling and matching software for shared living operations such as coliving, student housing, senior housing, and marketplaces. Enables optimized tenant recruitment process, increased social functioning and NPS, as well as improving the tenant expectation management.
    • The Community Facilitation Handbook: Award-winning handbook with strategies, tools & more to make your community flourish. Written by 3 co-authors with valuable input from over 15 contributors from the industry. You will learn why to invest in the community, how to leverage the role of the community facilitator and how to avoid common community building mistakes.  

    • Robert Dilts video on logical levels: NLP developer, trainer, author and world renowned thought leader, Robert Dilts, explains each element of his NeuroLogical Levels. These are: environment, behavior, skills, beliefs/values, identity, and vision.  
    • Coliving Apps, Software & Tech Guide: This guide explores 60+ software solutions to support coliving operators create thriving resident and community experiences. What is the ideal PMS & Community Building solution? And, what are tech options for coworking, sustainability, wellbeing, finances, security and digital access? Find out!
    • Coliving Mobile Apps Survey: A collaborative research project to understand how operators are using mobile apps to optimise resident user and community experience. 

    About Coliving Conversations

    The first season of Coliving Conversations will kick off with new podcasts aired every two weeks and can be listened to on many platforms including Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast and at ConsciousColiving.com/PodcastThis show asks the question –  how is shared living already tackling some of the biggest challenges that we face today AND how can we scale it in the way that the world needs?  

    You will gain insight into the latest trends shaping the industry and hear loads of practical tips related to shared living business models, technology, and investment as well as how to enhance community, wellbeing and sustainability. Each episode will shine insight onto the latest trends shaping the industry and discuss successful case studies with loads of practical tips.

    Season 1 Partners

    Coly is a shared living matchmaker, designed for fast, inclusive and accurate tenant matching

    Spaceflow is a digital tenant experience platform that increases building efficiency and resident enjoyment

    Go Human Go! is a global collective of digital professionals supporting people and planet

    Full Transcript:
    How to Create Great Tenant & Community Experiences

    [00:00:00] Naima: How can we create great tenant experiences in shared living?Let’s explore!

    Welcome to Coliving Conversations, a show that shines light on the people, projects, and places of the blossoming coliving movement. 

    Hi, my name is Naima Ritter Figueres, and I’m Head of Community & Wellbeing at Conscious Coliving. I’m here in the studio today with my co-host for this episode, Juan Ortiz, who is Head of Communications & Technology at Conscious Coliving. Juan has a background in technology, coaching, systems thinking, team dynamics and leadership development. So it’s really great to have you join us today for this episode.

    [00:00:49] Juan: Hi Naima, great to be here in the studio today with you.

    [00:00:55] Naima: Well, in this episode, we are going to dive into the topic of the tenant and community experience in shared living. Juan, why is this so important to talk about? 

    [00:01:07] Juan: Well, I think it’s important in two levels mainly. First, because we know that tenant experience is linked to tenants happiness and wellbeing, and given the growing alarming rates of anxiety, depression, and general non wellbeing that we’ve seen and spoken about in previous episodes, learning about ways to enhance wellbeing is super necessary and urgent at the moment. 

    And secondly, from a business perspective, happier tenants means less turnover, hence lower vacancy and reduced acquisition costs. 

    [00:01:37] Naima: Yeah, absolutely. And so to explore all of this further today, we speak to Jonas Häggqvist. 

    [00:01:45] Juan: Yes. Jonas is a co-founder of COLIVE, one of Sweden’s leading coliving companies, and he’s also co-founder of Coly, a roommate matching platform for shared living spaces, who happens to be one of our main partners for season one of Coliving Conversations. 

    So Naima, what are we covering in today’s conversations with Jonas? 

    [00:02:02] Naima: Yeah, so we’re gonna hear about COLIVE’s spaces and operations, as well as how it’s helping address the loneliness and housing crisis in Sweden. We will explore Coly’s benefits as a tool for shared living operations, and Jonas will share his top mistakes and top tips related to creating a thriving tenant and community experience.

    [00:02:26] Juan: Great. And Naima and I will meet you after the conversation here, back in the studio to expand a bit further. Enjoy! 

    [00:02:36] Naima: And before we dive in, I wanna quickly give a big shout out to our partners, without whom season one of Coliving Conversations wouldn’t be possible. These are:

    – Spaceflow: An all in one tenant experience platform to enable better life and buildings.

    – Coly: a scientific profiling and matchmaking platform for shared living. And,

    – GoHumanGo!: A collective of professionals, supporting people and planet.

    ****

    Well, welcome Jonas, and thanks so much for joining us today on Coliving Conversations. 

    [00:03:13] Jonas: Thank you, Naima. It’s a pleasure to be on the show. 

    [00:03:17] Naima: So Jonas, I thought it’d be great to, to start off with hearing a little bit about your journey. Could you share a little bit about this journey? What motivated you to get into the space and, and what problems were you wanting to solve in Sweden that, that motivated you to start COLIVE? 

    [00:03:35] Jonas: Absolutely. Um, I think I’d need to start with saying that, I’m not really proud over Sweden’s, uh, housing market.

    It is quite dysfunctional and I think that is probably what sparked this initiative for me and my co-founder, Katarina Liljestam Beyer, when we decided to take on the mission of addressing two major problems, namely loneliness and, uh, lack of, uh, housing for young adults between 20 and 35. 

    Before we actually started COLIVE, we look, looked outside of Sweden and, and, uh, our market traveling around in the US and UK, different countries in Europe, and saw this development of coliving in it’s, let’s say a new format. Where you really have the ability to, to focus on, uh, different aspects addressing lots of society needs, basically.

    Yeah. It’s, it’s resource efficient, it’s affordable. Uh, yeah, it’s flexible and you have this social, sustainable, uh, component. And, uh, there is sort of a paradigm shift on how you can view living. 

    And we, we, we were one of the first players, so I hope that we are really paving the way for other companies, both local and the international players.

    We are, we we’re one piece in, in this puzzle of making a change. But nevertheless, we, we are in, in, uh, we are disrupting this local scene of housing and maybe the international scene as well at some point. 

    [00:05:26] Naima: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I, I’ll definitely say personally, I do feel you are all pioneers. I remember meeting Katarina at the 2018 Co-Liv Summit, you know, and being very inspired, um, already back then. So definitely big props to you all and, and, and thank you for everything you’ve been doing. 

    Um, and could you share a little bit about what’s the way in which you see that COLIVE has been able to address these two issues that you’ve mentioned of loneliness and affordability?

    [00:05:58] Jonas: Yeah, I think, I mean, when, when we look at coliving as a phenomen, Uh, it by itself has, uh, the components that, that addresses just that with loneliness and, and also makes available and affordable and resource efficient, uh, housing solution. 

    I mean, we already, when we started, we, uh, We decided that, okay, what kind of parameter could we measure, uh, that makes sense to cover both those angles and, and we came to the conclusion that, okay, let’s, let’s try to measure, uh, perceived tenant experience per Euro.

    And that is something that is when you’re a small company, once you don’t have any beds in place. It’s more like a mantra or, or a sort of an attitude towards, okay, let’s, let’s build this with a focus that, uh, it should be able to cater for the many people and, and have a, a very outspoken target to focus on the tenant’s experience.

    [00:07:08] Naima: Mm. Fantastic. Thanks for sharing that. Could you just for the audience, give a little overview of COLIVE in terms of, you know, what the spaces are like, uh, what size, how many beds, what kind of shared facilities, just to give us an image of, of the operations. 

    [00:07:27] Jonas: Absolutely. So if we start from what, what the target is, that we will have between 6 and 7,000 beds in place in the major cities in, in our five year plan. That’s, that’s the target. 

    Uh, we’re calling our buildings, coliving hubs. One coliving hub is a place for between 100 and let’s say 500 tenants. 

    You could say that you have three levels of integrity. You have your own space where you have, uh, your own bed and good storage. You have, uh, shower and, and toilets. Your private ones, and then you share a shared department with between 6 and 12 other tenants. 

    And in addition to that, you have common areas in the building that you share with the whole building. So, uh, depending on how social you are or what sort of functions you need, you have those three levels.

    [00:08:30] Naima: Mm, Fantastic. And in terms of the shared spaces, what are some examples of those shared amenities or facilities? 

    [00:08:38] Jonas: Uh, it is the typical, uh, amenities that cannot be catered for by the shared department itself. So if you wanna have a, a large setting, you want a large, larger dinner, you wanna have, uh, an event or a show, you want to watch a movie together with a large crowd.

    Uh, also it’s typically linked to a social laundry area and some outdoor areas as well where you have, uh, spaces for barbecue and gardening and things like that. 

    [00:09:13] Naima: Great. And um, one question that some of our audience often asks is, what kind of contracts are operators using? So are you using a master lease or how does that work with the new builds?

    [00:09:26] Jonas: Yeah. Uh, that, that is, I think, Uh, a question or an area where I’d love to learn more from, from the world as well, but how, I mean, ideally we have the ambition to, uh, to have a, a sort of a healthy portfolio of a mix between master lease agreement and, uh, management agreements. Let’s say that, that the ambition right now is to have a 50 50 split.

    With that, with that said, the Swedish real estate market is, uh, conservative as elsewhere. So we, we start, we have started in the master release end and we’re, uh, going from there basically. 

    [00:10:12] Naima: Okay. Jonas, could you talk a little bit about the, the community aspect of, um, these coliving hubs and, and maybe also what you’ve noticed, um, are challenges in making kind of strong and thriving communities.

    [00:10:32] Jonas: Yeah. Ab absolutely. So, uh, we started with two small, we call them labs, where we’ve been sort of, trying out concepts, all, all aspects of, of the concept. Everything from how to nudge the community to, uh, choose the correct furnitures, et cetera. 

    What we have realized is that we need to, uh, to make sure that we work with expectations of our incoming tenants. To really be transparent with: what is this? What is staying with, uh, COLIVE? What’s, what does it mean to share with others? How do I function, uh, when sharing with others? 

    So I think that’s, that’s the first step. And then paying lots of attention to how you put the tenants together. And, and we really see that it, it, uh, makes a big difference paying attention to those details.

    [00:11:26] Naima: And just, could you give an example of what happens if that expectation management doesn’t occur? What’s the negative consequence on the residents, on the community experience? 

    [00:11:38] Jonas: Yeah. I, I think probably a very devastating thing if, uh, not handling expectations well would be that you end up with a tenant that doesn’t want to share. uh, with other people. And doesn’t understand what it means to, to share with other people. 

    That could be very, very problematic for, uh, both the incoming talent and the existing community. I mean, when you look at figures about how much a community is affected by a single person that is, uh, uh, feeling awkward in the community, uh, you realize directly that it, it has lots of bad impact. 

    [00:12:22] Naima: Mm, Yeah. Okay. And so in your words, why is it so important to have a positive community experience? 

    [00:12:31] Jonas: Actually, the community itself is, is. It correlates, uh, a lot with the tenant experience. So it, I mean, it goes hand in hand. And if you’re successful with creating this thriving community, you have this phenomenal win win situation. Where you have a tenant that is happy and has a, a great and meaningful stay. And, and for the operator, you have less operational hassle. You have happier tenants and, and longer stays.

    So there’s a lot of rationale to really conquer the, the recipe of creating a great community. 

    [00:13:16] Naima: Yeah. So true. Thank you for mentioning that in such a simple way, because we know most operators struggle to really prove the value of community in their business, so, really, Yeah. really useful explanation that you just gave there. Thank you. 

    So, so share with us a little bit about this, how, how your journey continued towards developing Coly. Um, how did that emerge? Tell us a little bit about that story. 

    [00:13:45] Jonas: Yeah. Um, so it is again, back to me and Katarina in 2017 doing this, this market research. We realized both that operators put a lot of effort into the whole application process. Lots of hard work, basically finding the right talents mixing them in in the right way. 

    Uh, but we, what we realized with that, uh, having this, huge vision that we have for, for Sweden to do a lot and to do it fast and cost efficient, et cetera, we understood that, okay, this, uh, has one risk of being biased.

    Uh, if, , you, you have a person making all the calls on who should, , fit into to my living operations. And also all the, the man hours or women hours that needs to be put in to, uh, to actually do the work. It can be good and it can be bad as well, depending on how skilled you are in understanding people.

    [00:14:50] Naima: And by that you mean kind of the interview process. So, talking to people. Is that what you mean? 

    [00:14:56] Jonas: That is what I mean. So that is during the application interview process, uh, that was the sort of first step where we realized, okay, we need to, we need to do this in a, in a structured way using a digital tool.

    So we decided that, okay, let’s, let’s build this kind of tool. So, so we already at that point we decided that, okay, let’s build a matching. , and um, so we, uh, we hired a tech team and a psychologist, a data scientist in, in 2018, and we built.

    [00:15:29] Naima: Linnéa! .

    [00:15:32] Jonas: Yeah, that’s our superstar doing all the, uh, number crunching and logics in the background and implementing machine learning algorithm and whatnot. 

    So, and, and we, we have now been using the tool within COLIVE for more than three years and they can’t live without it. So we decided in 2021 last year that, okay, let’s make this available for the rest of the world. it’s a great opportunity for ourselves, but it’s also something that is really valuable to share with others so we, we need, we just need to do that. 

    [00:16:10] Naima: Yeah. Well, fantastic. How exciting. And could you, uh, for the audience just explain a bit more how the tool actually works? So if an operator’s using Coly, um, how does it work? 

    [00:16:23] Jonas: Right. So, the tool consists of two parts. One part is the expectation management tool. And the second one is the actual matching.

    So the first part with expectation management. That is where the tenant is receiving a psychometric test. And typically this is something that is done during the coliving operator’s onboarding flow, when you have an incoming applicant. And the format that the, the, the tenant is receiving is very similar to what you typically see in a recruitment process.

    So you will receive a bunch of statements. I think there are 80 of them, where you have to react on them basically. And, uh, based on that, when you, uh, finalize the last question, you will immediately be presented with a report that in a playful way, gives you a, a visualization of, uh, who you are in terms of personality traits.

    Are you a very extroverted person? What kind of values do you have? So it, it outlines your personality traits and, and values. Together with guidance in terms of tips and tricks, what to think of based on your traits in, uh, a shared living context. So you, you, um, in essence, you enable a street smartness in relation to the people you live with.

    [00:18:05] Naima: A community smartness! . 

    [00:18:07] Jonas: Yeah, exactly!. 

    [00:18:10] Naima: Love it. Okay, great. 

    [00:18:11] Jonas: So that is the first part with expectation management. Then you have the actual matching, and there we now have the data points for the specific tenant has been collected through the test. So we are using that data to then create compatible groups of tenants.

    So if you are the operator and you sit with, uh, let’s say three. Uh, apartments with different groups of people you use the data or the tool in, , presents to that. Okay. This incoming tenant, uh, is matching with 82% to apartment A and 72% towards B, et cetera. And then you have the tool to choose the right context.

    [00:19:01] Naima: Okay. Wow, Fascinating. 

    [00:19:03] Jonas: And, uh, just to, to add on onto that, one, one aspect that we see, uh, from, from the live environment using, using, uh, the personality reports is that tenants, when they get their individual report, they, they often tend to, uh, to share it with other tenants. And they, they are lively around uh, comparing and discussing. 

    Uh, and that way the understanding of each other and yourself increases and, and thereby, definitely a, a more healthy living environment. 

    [00:19:42] Naima: Okay, nice. And what measures do you all take in terms of privacy with the data?

    [00:19:48] Jonas: So we’ve put a lot of effort into GDPR and making sure that we are not owning any data connected to the actual individuals. Uh, they belong to the, to the operator, and of course the operator needs to take responsibility of handling that data.

    So we we’re, we are only, uh, using anonymous and anonymized data in order to, to improve the algorithm.

    [00:20:13] Naima: Okay. And what would you say, looking back now on the past few years, what have been your biggest mistakes when building COLIVE and Coly?

    [00:20:27] Jonas: I think that there is no doubt that we made too much software development being a, a coliving operator. So when, when we started we decided that okay, we, we, we really need to, to make a matching algorithm to cut down on the complexity and, and workload of interviewing people and, and combining people into a great communities.

    But when we continued, there were new requirements from our operations, everything from chatting channels to incident reporting and laundry booking, et cetera. And we tried to, implement it uh, ourselves, or we actually did. Uh, so, uh, after a while we were sitting there with a dinosaur, uh, a very large chunk of software that was very hard to manage and, uh, yeah, and maintain. 

    So that, that was a, a huge strategic mistake I think, and we spent too much money on it, but we also learned a lot because now we have, have slimed it down to a laser shop niche product instead gotten rid of the unnecessary stuff. 

    [00:21:44] Naima: Mm. Yeah. So really slimming from the dinosaur to a lizard.

    [00:21:53] Jonas: Exactly. Yep. 

    [00:21:54] Naima: And, um, where do you Jonas see shared living evolving towards in the, in the coming years? 

    [00:22:03] Jonas: Uh, definitely something that is here to stay and, and, with, with that said, we are at coliving infancy’s still. It is new and there will, there’s a lot of fantastic things to, to evolve. What I think that we will see is, as as tech is evolving in parallel with coliving, I think there will be a lot of benefits and, and synergies there where we a little bit best of, of two worlds.

    Where we’re going back to basic in terms of living close together with other people. But we are living to a large extent in, in cities. We have to be resource efficient, uh, and we need to get along and create great communities.

    And there we, we will lean on, on sort of front line of, of tech where we will get a boost in, in creating great shared living spaces. 

    And, uh, I hope that we see more more solutions for seniors, more solutions for cross-generational coliving. I mean, there are projects up and running like that, but I think that we will see, uh, lots of different new flavors of all kinds to, to accommodate that we are humans with different, uh, wills and needs.

    [00:23:42] Naima: Mm, absolutely. So, Jonas, What would you say are your top tips for shared living operators, in particular around creating a thriving resident experience? 

    [00:23:58] Jonas: Okay. Um, I think I will. I, I would like to, to come back to the concrete, the specific tips, because first of all, I would like to say what I think is most important when, when building any company. And in particular when you do something that is really hard. Because this has been, uh, a tough and developing journey.

    I think it’s about the people and the, the people that I, I have around me. I, I think that everyone going into a mission of accomplishing something disruptive like this should have a co-founder. Never do it alone. I mentioned it earlier about Katarina. Uh, I think that’s very important.

    I think a health healthy mix between male and female in the startup is a prerequisite for successful scaling. Do try to do it 50 50, never more leaning towards the either or other direction than 60 40. And always try to recruit better people than yourself. 

    I mean, so that’s, I think that’s most important. Uh, and a little bit cliche because you can hear it every, every. Uh, when you’re talking about, okay, what’s the key recipe for for being a good entrepreneur? But it works. That’s why you hear it. 

    And, um, coming back to the specific tips, I think one, one very important area would be to really, even before tenants moving in to, uh, to listen in and, and try to understand your, your talents. 

    Who is coming in? And to be structured about that and, uh, documented in, in the way, uh, that that fits in into your operation. 

    And then second, definitely something that we have seen now in, in our operations and validated it. And that’s the matching. We know that we increase the, the social, uh, functioning between tenants. We increase tenant dynamics and we get happier tenants by matching. 

    And then last but not least, continue to be structured when people are living at your space by following up. Uh, and to do that over time, we typically do it just after moving in and checking in and asking a, a, a block set of questions and then do it with regular intervals to feed back into, uh, the whole process, to, to learn and improve at all times.

    [00:26:43] Naima: Great. Those are great tips. Um, something we like to ask all of our guests is to share something that is a bit weird or unique about yourself. 

    [00:26:56] Jonas: If, if I’d ask a colleague or, uh, a friend that probably say something about running and, and I’d correct them as say, uh, jogging because I’m not really fast. But I do run or jog a lot. So, uh, and with that, I mean very, very far. So for instance, from Stockholm to. Starting on the East coast to the West coast, uh, And that takes several days in low speed and then I feel fulfilled afterwards. 

    [00:27:33] Naima: Wow. Okay. Several days of jogging or running. I’m impressed. Um, and then a final question is, what does living consciously mean?

    [00:27:46] Jonas: Uh, paying attention to, to what is important. I mean, that, that is being, being in the present, paying attention to what is important and, and what is important to me is to, to actively focus on kindness, to be kind. 

    [00:28:06] Naima: Thank you. Thanks for your, your insights there. 

    [00:28:09] Jonas: Yeah. I’m just very happy to, Have had the opportunity to chat with you.

    We love what you do, and when we met in Paris and you held an inspirational talk around community building and the pillars around that, this is, um. We are still at the beginning and I’m very happy and proud to be in the context with you.

    ****

    [00:28:42] Juan: Wow. What a great conversation that was. Thank you, Jonas, and thank you Naima. 

    Uh, I love the dual perspective that comes up in this conversation. Um, on one hand you have, uh, the experience of five years of like running and, and developing coliving in Sweden, uh, and really expanding and trying out things. Um, so yeah, great kudos to that, to Jonas and Katarina and the team.

    And also the tech provider. Because, , it’s good to understand where it comes from, why it’s there, and also to know that there’s something that has been really tested and tried out already. 

    [00:29:16] Naima: Yeah, I totally agree. I found it really useful to hear that dual perspective as well. Um, both on operating as well as having developed a tool to enable a better experience for those living in COLIVE as well as operating it. So, um, yeah, really, what a, what an honor to have had this chat with, with Jonas today. 

    [00:29:40] Juan: Yeah, so it would be great to expand the conversation by actually going into section two of the Community Facilitation Handbook, which focuses around the common mistakes and challenges in creating communities.

    And then we can explore tools and approaches that can really support operators and developers to create great experiences in shared living. 

    [00:30:00] Naima: Yeah, let’s do that. 

    [00:30:02] Juan: All right. So Naima, can you expand on some of the com most common mistakes in shared living? 

    [00:30:06] Naima: Yeah, sure. So, I’ll frame it in the context of the section we have in the Community Facilitation Handbook called Biggest Community Building Challenges. That’s section 2.3. 

    And the first category is Dun, Dun, Conceptual Mistakes. And this list includes several of the ones that, um, came up in the conversation with Jonas. So unclear expectations, weak onboarding process, and underestimating the importance of curation. 

    And in our experience, what we have seen that works to help avoid these kind of mistakes is first of all, really communicating clearly expectations right from the beginning. So already in the curation phase, in the onboarding phase, and in the adaptation phases. 

    And making sure the expectations are clear, especially around things like behavior, right? Especially in common area. Cleaning, what are the expectations around cleaning? Um, and what are the expectations around engagement, around being proactive in terms of the community co-created experience. 

    Um, and then also sustaining these expectations through the communal life phase. Through things such as community assemblies, through signage and posters, right. So that it’s kind of a coherent message all around. 

    And yeah, I think the, the Coly tool with the personality profiles and tips for living in a shared way does a really great job of helping to avoid these kind of mistakes, especially in the, in the early phases.

    Yeah, totally. 

    [00:31:42] Juan: And I’m just very grateful that now there’s like good psychometric testing option for shared living by the share living industry. Like at some other points I know about our operators and ourselves, we used other types of psychometric testings, like MBTI, DISC, engrams, and so on. Yet you have to be adapting.

    So, yeah, I think like psychometric testing, when done right, and specifically for the industry, it’s like a great, great contribution. And, and it’s nice that it came out from experience and from the need for it, basically. 

    [00:32:11] Naima: Yeah. Yeah. True. And just when you say done right, what do you mean by that? Like, used in the right way.

    [00:32:18] Juan: Yes. So one of the main dangers that we’ve seen with psychometric testing is that sometimes the results can be taken at an identity level. By that I mean, uh, the use of language such as you are an introvert, I am close minded, or any kind of label that is applied at an identity level. If the language is used that way, you’re not leaving too much space, let’s say, for change.

    Whereas if you focus on people’s behaviors or tendencies rather than identity, you create space for opportunity and evolution. 

    [00:32:49] Naima: Gotcha. Yeah. Cool. No, that makes, that makes a lot of sense. 

    [00:32:53] Juan: All right, so what else do we have on mistakes? Uh, one of the areas that you’ve been passionate about and we’ve presented in many places is, uh, the role of the community facilitator.

    [00:33:02] Naima: Yeah. So that’s actually the next section in handbook. Some of the most common mistakes we see and that are listed in the book are a misunderstanding or undervaluing of the community facilitator. We also see disregarding the wellbeing of the community facilitators a common mistake. And also not setting enough boundaries for this role. 

    So in our opinion, the role of the community facilitator includes things such as resident onboarding, promoting and fostering resident wellbeing. 

    Community development through, you know, organizing events, activities, but also empowering residents to get involved and take ownership of events that align with the interests of the residents.

    Um, and also engaging with local neighborhoods. We see that as a key part of this role. 

    And the role also includes conflict support. So when there’s tensions that arise in the community, as well as working with different departments or or team members, depending on the size of your coliving operations to improve the overall user experience.

    So, As you can see, that’s, that’s already quite a lot on the plate, um, in this role. And we notice that often community facilitators become overloaded and burnt out, not only because it can be a very emotionally draining, uh, job, but also when they take on responsibilities that go beyond community building, that is a key factor of, of overwhelm and burnout.

    [00:34:39] Juan: True. And, and we’ve seen that quite often, right? Most of the cases that we see in the industry, there might be a large operation, midsize operation, and they might end up hiring an operation team who specializes. And they might come from a background in hospitality and so on, which is great. Yet they lack the, the community angle.

    And sadly we have seen it to like not great outcomes sometimes, like burnouts or, or not great perception of the company as well. And one thing to add there is the importance of avoiding silos. Right, So here we are talking about a really bad scenario that community might end up in some corner of the organization. And it just doesn’t work.

    We’ve seen that and, and it is nothing specific of this industry either. It’s just like silos in organizations don’t work. And, and I think the art and science of this is like, how do you bring a layer of community to the whole organization, right? Because the whole share living business, everybody who participates in it, are driving and are whole in the community.

    Different roles, different things. But yeah, that’s one of the key points here. Avoid silos and make sure that everybody understands what everybody’s doing. 

    [00:35:44] Naima: That’s such a good point because as you’re saying, having, you know, a great community facilitator or two or three, whatever, does not guarantee a thriving community. It really does require buy-in and support from all levels of the team and the business. 

    And, and along with that also, you know, having community metrics embedded into the core business performance indicators is also key. Um, because without that, it might be really tricky to, to foster community in your coliving space, let alone multiple spaces if you’re thinking about scaling.

    [00:36:14] Juan: Yeah, indeed. 

    [00:36:15] Naima: Um, and just to wrap up on this topic of mistakes, uh, as listeners can see, we love this topic. Um, there are a few other mistakes we list in the handbook. Um, but I’ll just mention them and then you can check ’em out later. These are the community verse convenience paradox, the tragedy of the cus and territory reality and grouping.

    So yeah, make sure to get your copy of the handbook, which you can download for free at ConsciousColiving.com. 

    [00:36:45] Juan: Indeed. All right, thanks Nema for that. And now why don’t we move quickly into some of the tools, approaches that we have seen are helpful for creating tenant and community experiences. 

    [00:36:57] Naima: Yes, let’s do that.

    [00:36:58] Juan: Okay. So perhaps one of the most, let’s say, influential ones are the culture. Like, uh, what, what’s the, what’s community culture, what’s the shared living business culture? Culture can be defined as a collection of ideas, values, belief, rituals, social behaviors of a particular group in this case, uh, a shared living community.

    And yeah, we found that this is very critical because, um, belief drives behavior and whatever we believe will define how we are gonna behave, right? I’ll share in the show notes as short video by Robert Dilts who explaines this concept really well. And, and it’s very useful for many areas, so highly recommended.

    So based on that premise, uh, if in a shared living community we want to foster sustainable behaviors, compassionate behaviors, empathy behaviors. But also very practictical behaviors. Looking after the building, looking after each other. All those behaviours match from a centralized point, which is a culture and also the values that we define, right?

    Uh, so a great example is The Social Hub, which communicates their values in a very simple way. They have five of them, which are curious, fun, bold, conscious, and entrepreneurial. And to keep it simple, they explain every one of these values in less than 10 words. And that really serves, because everybody in your organization can, can look up to them and actually use them as a guiding light, right? And then that will guide the experience that will guide the operations and so on. 

    [00:38:24] Naima: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I glad we’re talking about culture because it’s definitely, it such a key aspect. And if you can, you know, create a culture, which in and of itself is supportive of a great tenant and community experience, it makes it not only much easier on the operation, um, but it also makes it much more likely to actually have a thriving community if the whole culture is already geared towards that.

    You know, in, in our vision, the way we define a thriving community is one that facilitates the flourishing of each individual and of the collective, right? So that more specifically means that the design, the communications, the events, the food, right, um, of the coliving space are all geared towards nurturing the highest potential in each human, in each individual. Um, and as a community as a whole. 

    [00:39:18] Juan: Totally. That’s essential. 

    [00:39:20] Naima: Um, I could add one thing also about technology. I mean, we had this whole conversation today with Jonas about how they’re using technology to really foster a better community and tenant experience.

    And Juan, you know, it’d be great to hear from you with your tech background, what is kind of your perspective on how tech can be leveraged for creating better experiences? 

    [00:39:43] Juan: Sure. And I really like how Jonas phrased it, that as we move forward, as an industry grows, we will lean on technology to make this happen.

    Mm-hmm. , and I love the term lean, right, because it puts technology where it has to be. We’re not saying we’re gonna depend on technology. We’re not saying technology’s gonna take us there, but we’re gonna lean on technology. And the key thing to like lean on these technologies is to think big and yet start small every single time.

    [00:40:10] Naima: Mm-hmm. 

    [00:40:10] Juan: That comes also from like the software development kind of thinking world. You will start with something small, something testable, something that you can evolve, something that you can launch out and give it to, to your target audience to test already and give information. So that’s something that you can do with your whole operations, actually with your whole business. 

    Um, and that’s also how you bring in technology. And so what Jonas mentioned about them having a couple of labs where they test the community processes, test the technology they’re using, that really allows for. And that’s something that you and Gui touched on episode one I remember, uh, on how to scale shared living. Really like start small and think big. That would be one of my key points. 

    And for more, uh, on technology and share living, uh, in section 3.8 of the handbook, you’ll find more information. And of course, in the Coliving Apps, Software and Tech Guide, which you’ll find in ConsciousColiving.com 

    [00:41:02] Naima: Yeah. And just to tag onto that, um, because we also carried out and are continuing to carry out a survey called the Coliving Mobile Apps Survey to look at, to what extent our coliving operators already leveraging different technologies and different apps to optimize the resident user and community experience.

    So for instance, uh, currently a majority of operators are using an app for, uh, things like announcements and notifications for keeping track of maintenance and, and other issues reported by residents, and also for booking and paying for events and services. 

    Um, then about 53%, um, say they’re using an app to enable residents to promote events, um, which is really great for, uh, empowering residents to kind of take more initiative in the community.

    Um, and then about a quarter of operators are using an app to help residents find out about local tips and read about local news and current events.

    And then finally, we’ve also seen technology and apps used for things like digital building access for fostering sustainable behavior change, and also for establishing partnerships with local businesses.

    And if you’re a coliving operator who hasn’t filled out the survey, then you will find a link to it in the show notes.

    [00:42:27] Juan: Indeed. So we’re run out of time. Naima, any other quick things you’d like to mention to our audience around community experience?. 

    [00:42:36] Naima: Yeah. Just quickly to mention that section three of the handbook is a toolbox. Um, and in there you’ll find community design tools, group facilitation methods. So for things such as community assemblies, sharing circles, et cetera. 

    Um, there’s also tools around personal and professional development practices. So, for instance, for masterminds, um, then there’s also ideas for ways to connect with nature.

    And finally, also communication and conflict resolution tools. Uh, so things such as nonviolent communication and beginning anew. So yeah, make sure to check those out as well. 

    [00:43:12] Juan: Okay, great. So I think that we covered a lot of ground. We covered a lot of different topics and I would love to know, uh, for you as a listener, uh, is this been helpful this, uh, season, this episodes?

    Uh, so yeah, do reach out and let us know and we hope we enjoy it today. 

    [00:43:30] Naima: All right, so that’s a wrap for this episode of Coliving Conversation season one. And I think a big takeaway is that there are many challenges and mistakes when it comes to creating a great resident and community experience in shared living.

    And there are also many, many tools and approaches to help along the way, so let’s take full advantage of them. 

    Juan, thanks so much for joining me in this episode today. 

    [00:44:00] Juan: Yeah, thank you Naima. Uh, thank you Jonas, and thank you all out there for listening. 

    [00:44:08] Naima: In the next episode, we’ll be talking with Amy Frearson who is Editor-at-large of Dezeen, one of the world’s biggest and most influential design websites, and Amy’s also co-author of the book” All Together Now, the Co-living and Co-Working Revolution”.

    Coliving Conversations (Season 1), a co-production between Conscious Coliving and GoHumanGo! 

    Till the next episode!.

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