Cheaper than hiring a co-working space, co-homing also has environmental benefits as well as social – giving people the social benefits of an office with people to chat to and bounce ideas off.
Coworking – which involves paying to use a shared workplace, often an office or other working environment – and has experienced a significant boom in recent years.
But co-homing takes it to another level, as locals open up their homes to freelancers looking for a space to work.
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The collaborative spirit of co-homing aims to combat the sense of loneliness that many freelancers face, recreating the social dynamics of the office but with more flexibility and freedom. There is no subscription or minimum commitment required, as the service can be used on an as-needed basis.
There are ecological benefits to collaborative working, as bringing home workers and freelancers into one space reduces electricity and energy consumption. Most co-homers enjoy a cup of coffee at the same time, using the water from just one kettle, and work under one electricity supply.
Tamara Messenger is self-employed and has been a co-homing host in Paris for several years.
“We meet in each other's home, or in a public space, and cowork with regularly scheduled chat breaks,” she tells The Local.
“Co-homing is a way to create a network of support, connection and encouragement with other auto-entrepreneurs or freelancers. We have to be creative to create connections when we are solo entrepreneurs and live in a big city.
“It is also a great way for me to chat to people who are working on their computers in public spaces. I've made good friends that way.”
There are over 900,000 freelancers currently working in France, 37 percent of whom are based in Paris.
The total number of freelancers in France has increased 110 percent over the last ten years, a figure which continues to rise as workers become more mobile.
Kévin Tsigbe, 25, is a French SEO digital marketer who lives between Paris and Brussels. He helps small companies and start-ups grow their business online.
He prefers co-homing to coworking spaces “because it's less expensive, you can go once and stop afterwards without problems, and because you feel at home when co-homing.
“Thanks to the website Cohome, I went in some cool houses and met similar-minded freelancers,” Kévin says.
“I choose co-homing because I don't have enough money for coworking spaces. I only began freelancing a year ago.”
“I hate working alone and am more motivated when I'm with people,” Kévin adds.
“We can talk about our businesses during the breaks, which I enjoy. I can meet people and we can start a new project. When I'm going in a coworking, I don't feel this atmosphere, this friendly vibe. I've been looking to do co-homing abroad, but it doesn't exist in many countries yet. Hopefully it will in the future.”
The Cohome website has now shut down, but keen to keep this phenomenon growing, co-homers have gathered together across social media to advertise their homes as coworking spaces.
These groups are open to the public for anyone to join with co-homing session places allocated on a first-come basis.
Co-homing is much cheaper than paying for a hot-desk or a co-working subscription where prices range from €99 to €300 a month. Co-homing hosts usually charge just a couple of euros to cover the price of tea and coffee, and sometimes open their doors for free.
Whilst the majority of members are based in the capital, this phenomenon is also being seen in some of France's other cities such as Lyon, Nantes, Strasbourg, Montpellier and Grenoble.
The majority of co-homing sites are advertised on Facebook groups.
There’s a wider ranger of possibilities with co-homing, compared to coworking spaces which often have the same traditional office-like set-up.
Kévin's favourite co-homing experience was on a boat on the Seine in Paris.
“I worked inside the boat with juice, cookies and films,” he says. “I fell asleep because when you work on a boat, you can think you're on holiday! I really liked this experience because it was my first time and I felt like Jack Kerou in On the Road.”