We continue our series of coliving and coworking community profiles with We Roam. Co-founder Sean Harvey believes providing the “fun” is the easy part for live/work programs. The more difficult task is to ensure the experience lends itself to a client’s professional development. That’s where he believes We Roam sets itself apart from its competitors.
Tell us about We Roam. What is it? What inspired you to start it?
We Roam is a program that brings a diverse group of talented professionals on a trip around the world, working and living in a new city each month, for one month at a time. We provide travel, accommodation and shared workspace logistics so that our Roamers can focus on their jobs while also soaking up the local cultures of our 12 destinations. Professional development and career advancement are a major focus of our trip and we provide workshops, speaker series, think tanks, and networking opportunities along the way.
This focus has led to a number of companies expressing interest in partnering with us, leading to the launch of our Corporate Partnership Program. We will be partnering directly with forward-thinking companies to help them leverage our platform as a recruiting, retention and development tool for top talent.
Why do you think coliving and coworking programs are so popular?
I think it’s a combination of things, the first being that the idea of not being tied to a desk and having the ability to work from wherever is now a much more prominent piece of companies’ strategies. The advantages are proven and real, not just to the happiness of the employee, but also benefits to the employer. We are seeing a massive overall shift towards a more mobile workforce, beginning from freelancers, later to tech companies, and now it is seeping into the more traditional corporate workforce.
The second is a much easier one. Who wouldn’t want to live and travel the world, all while maintaining employment and having a steady income? With the millennial generation now dominating the US workforce, it’s very clear to see that we place more importance on experiences and travel, rather than on material things as past generations have. Combine that with a program like We Roam that handles all of the logistics so that you can simply show up, get your work done, and also enjoy being surrounded by different cultures in the variety of cities that we visit. Not to mention you have a community of like-minded Roamers that you get to share this whole experience with!
Who do these programs most appeal to?
These types of programs certainly aren’t for the faint of heart since there is a ton to figure out before picking up and traveling the world for 6 months to a year. While we have a wide variety of applicants, you certainly must be the somewhat adventurous or curious type. While some people are born nomads and have been traveling the world for as long as they can remember, others haven’t really had the opportunity to travel and have finally hit a point in their life where it is now personally, professionally, and financially feasible.
I think it’s very cool to have a mix of these types of people from opposite ends of the spectrum. From a purely demographic standpoint, we tend to see most applicants in their late 20s to early 30s and generally have more female than male applicants.
How do you persuade people on the fence that they will really be productive while living this lifestyle?
The reality is that for our target demographic, we don’t have to do any persuading at all. Nathan and I still conduct every single video call with new applicants to ensure that this is already an important aspect of the potential new Roamer. We are very focused on putting together a group of like-minded and professionally-driven people with jobs that require them to be productive. If we have to persuade someone that they are going to be productive on our trip, they already probably aren’t the right type of applicant that we are looking for.
What makes We Roam different than other coliving and coworking programs?
We are really focused on providing a high-quality experience and a professional environment where our Roamers can thrive. The “fun” aspect of these types of programs is the easy part and frankly, anyone can organize that. The hard part is putting together a group of like-minded people that are all working towards the same goal of getting their work done as well as growing professionally. The professional development aspect of our trip goes behind every decision we make, from the destinations we choose to the applicants that we accept.
What is the most unique/strange request you’ve received from a traveler or host?
We’ve really heard a lot of funny and crazy requests or inquiries from different people, but one that we surprisingly get somewhat frequently would be that people assume our program is free for them to join. I’m not too sure why someone would think that we would simply pay for them to travel, live, and work around the world, but we get it all the time. If this were the case, I think you’d see me on the other side of the application process!
What else would you like us to know about We Roam?
We are extremely excited about our trip and the group we have put together. We still have limited spots available in our program and are still accepting applications!