COVID Safety Measures, Interview, Coliving Operations, Resident Engagement
March 25, 2020

Interview: How Colonies is Tackling The Crisis

This is an interview realized with Cecilia Arocena, Chief Brand Officer a Colonies

What is the biggest challenge you faced in the current situation and how have you (tried to) overcome it?  

The biggest challenge in the current situation is to clearly communicate what has to change within the house without creating any fear and/or tension.

Is there any specific story you’d like to share?

We needed something more interactive than just giving our tenants tips of online courses or so. At the same time, we learnt that freelancers and small shop owners are the ones that were really impacted hard by this situation. That’s how #Pitchyourtalent campaign was created, which you can find at livecolonies.com/Pitchyourtalent.

From just an “out of the box” simple idea to a concrete campaign.

  1. Freelancers can upload a short video of what talent they could teach our tenants in a live and interactive session with them.
  2. That video is uploaded on livecolonies.com/pitchyourtalent and once a week our tenants will choose what they would like to learn (next week is the first time they will choose).
  3. The 1hr online session takes place live on Zoom, where tenants can ask questions, interact.
  4. Freelancers get paid 100EUR for their session.
  5. The session is then shared on Colonies YouTube channel for everyone to enjoy and create future opportunities for the freelancers.                  
What changes in health and safety policy have you implemented in your coliving space?  

We have created a set of procedures as an answer to the worldwide Covid-19 sanitary crisis. They are shared with the whole Colonies team and tenants in order to enforce new hygiene rules and anticipate any health issues in France and Germany. Updates on the government recommendations have also been sent to the tenants on a regular basis.        

What changes have you made to support the physical and mental wellbeing of your residents in response to the coronavirus?

Our experience managers have been in touch with each tenant to see how they are coping and how they are feeling.        

What changes have you made to support the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff (both on-site and off-site) in response to the coronavirus?

We avoid going on site as much as possible and explaining the reasons to the tenants, virtual coffee breaks, saying hello on slack, share a feel good song every morning in the EXM team.  

What have you communicated to your residents about the virus? How have you communicated this information e.g. email, face-to-face discussion?

We have communicated via newsletter, email and via phone calls and we’re going to send a hard copy poster to hang in the house.


Thank you Cecilia for taking the time to respond to the questions.


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