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Democratizing the Future of Work: How Community-Sourced Data Helped Us Go Global

When you build a startup to ‘scratch your own itch,’ as is commonly said, you focus on creating a solution. There are likely others who desperately need it—or at the very least would find it useful to have.

Such was the case for software developer and Workfrom co-founder Darren Buckner, who had neatly gathered information about convenient places to work from—including cafes, bars, and yes, even a park bench near a power outlet—in a handy spreadsheet.

It’s an admittedly analog beginning to what would become a decidedly digital solution.

One day, Buckner struck up a conversation in a coffee shop with another remote worker, someone who turned out to have the same struggles he did. A software architect, she was extremely enthusiastic about the idea to build something online that could help others in the same situation. They sowed the seeds for a partnership. Jewel Mlnarik then joined the Workfrom tribe (of two) as the co-founder.

Here is our startup’s creation story, and if reads partly like a Hollywood script, well, that’s fine with us. Since its humble beginnings as a shared spreadsheet, Workfrom has sought to help location-independent workers and mobile professionals in finding their ideal (if unconventional) workspace wherever they go.

From day one, our team has relentlessly focused on building a user-friendly platform. To date, Workfrom boasts 8,000 listings in 2900 cities across 150 countries. None of this would have been possible without a groundswell of support from a dedicated community of global scouts and ambassadors.

Workfrom Scouts take it upon themselves to seek out and share their favorite new remote work haunts with our worldwide community. These folks have helped us to build Workfrom’s comprehensive listing database from the ground up; to say we’re forever indebted for their efforts would be an understatement. You can find our top scouts climbing the Leaderboard, where they get all the glory and bragging rights—and soon, some pretty amazing digital badges—for their accomplishments.

Workfrom Ambassadors are those rare birds who raise their hands and volunteer to introduce their city or town to Workfrom. They host Meetups, hand out stickers, and, short of going door-to-door, evangelize our platform and community to local remote workers, shop owners, coworking space managers and more. Like a campaign team, they help us to canvas the globe.

In building the future of work, we knew from the get-go that this would be an effort way bigger than any of us. (How it would catch on and inspire folks from Portland to Phuket is worth another post.)

Cultivating a remote work community without borders has been and continues to be an amazing experience. Seeing folks chatting, making jokes, offering advice or pro tips in our Slack channels reminds us that no matter our backgrounds, we share a lot in common and have much to learn from one another.

You can use Workfrom to find a cozy cafe in Tel Aviv, a botanical garden in Chicago, a barber shop/coworking space in London, a fitness center in India, and other great places to knock items off your to-do list. It’s an incredibly fulfilling prospect for our team, and for everyone who’s helped us in getting here.

We wholeheartedly welcome and count digital nomads, expats, road warriors, and entrepreneurs among our ranks; we’re also pumped to support distributed employees and other folks who are working from home, to ensure that they have places to discover and be inspired.

Will you join us in building the future of work?


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