Making Connections at Alternative Workspaces: Grovemade & Workfrom Meet Up
19 Jul 2016
In late May, a dozen Workfrom members and staff attended a special coworking meetup at Grovemade’s HQ.
The Portland-based company produces high-quality wood products such as laptop stands and desk accessories. Our gracious hosts gave our members a chance to experience the artisanal spirit that characterizes Grovemade and their expertly handmade goods.
I spoke with Workfrom Co-Founder Darren Buckner and Community Manager Kristen Runvik to get their thoughts on a successful meetup.
Enter here for a chance to win a $100 Grovemade gift card and three free months of Workfrom VIP membership.
1. How did the meetup come about?
DB: I was introduced to Ken [Tomita] at Grovemade through a mutual friend and I was interested in seeing what types of partnership opportunities made sense. We connected and I swung by their space to meet and chat more in person. During that meeting we decided to host a meetup at the awesome Grovemade space and do some things to celebrate both communities. It was a great decision.
2. Why is visiting a company like Grovemade and working from their space beneficial for both remote workers and company employees?
DB: The cross-pollination of ideas, social engagement and creative energy that comes from working in new environments is an important part of staying productive as a remote worker. It works the other way as well for employees who welcome people into their work environments. You gotta mix it up and keep things interesting. If your day-to-day looks and feels the same for extended periods of time — I feel you lose something. Something healthy and integral to the kind of outcomes we often seek.
KR: Grovemade loved having us there. For them, it infused a new and different energy in their normal space and routine. For us, it was similar — being able to work from a new, different space while connecting with a local brand. It shows the willingness to collaborate, celebrate community and most of all, do good work and have fun.
3. What made the meetup a success, and what were your personal takeaways?
DB: Connecting humans around common interests make meetups successful. The meetup at Grovemade HQ did just that. Personally, I really enjoyed getting an inside look at the magic that happens in that space and getting to meet some of the awesome people making it happen each day. I loved enjoying a new space with my local Workfrom cohort and the happy hour [at Basecamp Brewing] certainly didn’t make things more difficult. I’d like to do more of these types of events in spaces and with companies who support a new workforce full of mobile professionals, collaborating and doing amazing work.
KR: This meetup felt like a success simply because it got our community members into a space that wasn’t a coffee shop. I think that’s one of the great things about Workfrom: to get you out of your house, out exploring and into spaces that aren’t always traditionally known for working. We all have spent most of our working time in coffee shops or at home, so being able to work alongside the Grovemade team in their space was really interesting.
My personal takeaway about the meetup was the community aspect. Grovemade is a local Portland company, as is Workfrom, so being able to connect,collaborate and share their space was an awesome testament to the PDX community.
4. What sort of feedback did you get from the Workfrom members who participated?
DB: It was positive across the board. Great people, great space and great time all around. Lots of feedback about the quality of the work Grovemade does, and getting that inside look I mentioned previously.
KR: Most members loved being able to see behind the scenes of a local company, plus the shot at winning a gift card to fill up their home office with Grovemade products. The Grovemade team was friendly and gave us a tour of their space. It was interesting to see the manufacturing process. Others agreed that it was a unique working experience and felt ‘special’ that a local company opened their doors to us for the afternoon.
5. How do events like the Grovemade meetup play into Workfrom’s community outreach efforts?
DB: It’s simple. Great company doing interesting and relevant work while supporting the independent and nomadic spirit abundant in the Workfrom community. It’s a simple dovetailing that supports everyone involved and facilitates the quality connections we all need to thrive.
KR: Tying back into the 2nd question, connecting Workfrom community members with Grovemade was a unique way to expose them unique working spaces — and being in it together. Working from a space like Grovemade shows us that your typical working day doesn’t need to be done only at a coffee shop. If you get out there, scout interesting places and share them with others, it gives you the opportunity to be part of a bigger mission, which is that we’re all in this together. We’re all independent workers, working from anywhere with wifi and you can find unique places that aren’t your typical coffee shop to get things done and do good work.
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