If you work remotely, you’ve probably tried finding a coworking space before. Nowadays there’s plenty of options, but finding one that doesn’t suck or drain your wallet is a whole different story.
Either there are too many people talking, the coffee machine is broken, the internet’s from 1999, the monthly rent is costing you an arm and a leg or the furniture is as comfortable as sitting on a rock.
While this can be a frustrating process for many remote workers, Darren Buckner from Workfrom recognized an opportunity and founded a platform where remote workers can find the best — and sometimes the most unusual — coworking spaces in their cities.
We sat down with Darren to discuss remote work, coworking spaces, how an idea was born from his own need, and how remote workers can find better coworking spaces in the future.
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Workfrom: An idea born out of necessity
Being a remote worker himself, Darren realized that he struggled to find great places to work. When he did find spots where he enjoyed working, he would put them in a note to keep track of his favourite spots, like:
- Coffee shops
- Business Centres
- Areas of airports
- And much more
As he moved to other cities, he realized that he was having to start over with this same process over and over again, and so an idea was born. As Darren says, it was about scratching his own itch to find great places to work and he figured other people could benefit from it as well.
Solving isolation and human disconnection with coworking
Darren admits that remote work has a range of benefits, but that the downsides are also apparent. The biggest issue being the feeling of isolation and loneliness: when people don’t feel connected, they don’t feel the support that would allow them to do their best work.
“The isolation [as a remote worker] is a real thing. There’s a certain energy, a certain productivity, and a certain serendipity that happens when you co-locate with others who are doing similar work or who are like-minded.
At the end of the day, we’re all humans and we want to be part of a tribe.”
That’s why Darren believes a lot of remote workers flock to places that give a sense of connection like coworking spaces, coffee shops, hotel lobbies and even parks.
Hotels have begun to turn their lobbies and common areas into WeWork-like gathering places, attracting both guests and locals.
— Peter Fabor (@faborio) December 14, 2018
Looking at the Workfrom numbers, one piece of data really stands out. The majority of remote workers in the community primarily work from home. Even if they do work from someplace else, these community members are spending at least some portion of their work life working from home.
In other words, about 80% of remote workers spend time at home five days a week, and most likely they’re not interacting with people, contributing to the feeling of isolation and disconnection.
So, how does Workfrom help?
As Darren says, it helps them have access to a variety of other places they can work. People who use Workfrom steer clear of traditional office settings and anything that reminds them of the real office and instead have the opportunity to explore unique, interesting and varying workspaces to meet their remote working needs.
Every day on @workfrom people clock-in while working from an IKEA, a WeWork, a bar, a restaurant, a coffee shop, a cafe, an independent coworking space, a library, a donut shop, a hotel, a brewery, an airport and even a hospital 🏥.
Things are changing ya’ll.
— Darren Buckner 🏋🏾👨🏾💻 (@darrenbuckner) April 29, 2019
On-demand coworking to empower today’s workforce
There’s a huge gap in the market. On the one end, there are companies with excess space, and on the other, there are remote workers looking for a spot to work.
“We’ve entered into a whole new era of where and how we work. It’s a massive shift and this shift requires us to look at everything that we know about today a little differently as well as to start building infrastructure for the future. In this day and age that we’re in, a lot of the infrastructure is going to be virtual and on-demand.”
This is why Darren is launching Homebase, a match-making platform to connect underutilized working spaces and remote workers.
The system functions as follows:
- The remote worker buys credits.
- They choose a coworking space and pre-pay a credit for the given day.
- They go and work there.
- Rinse and repeat.
It’s a system that removes many barriers, doesn’t force employees to have to invest in buying a monthly pass and it’s been one of the staples of Workfrom, helping to bridge the gap that many remote workers face across the world.
For more, listen to the full interview on the More Beach Meetings podcast page or wherever you listen to podcasts.