Work may be hard, but finding a place to work shouldn’t be. It’s that premise that got two Californian men thinking about how they could centralise and highlight great places to work.
They created Work Hard Anywhere (WHA!), which is a community of creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs who work beyond the corporate cubicle. They built an app to further connect this community – a tool spawned from our frustration with finding a good cafe or decent work space when they’re on the run or in a foreign city. The app will help the community easily share and explore great spots to get work done, so they can focus on what’s truly important: the work itself.
The Freelance Collective heard about this app, and wanted to learn more. So, we contacted the founders and asked them a few questions about how it works.
They say that with the help of Australian freelancers, they hope to hope to curate the ultimate directory for anyone in any city or any country to find unique and work-friendly spots to get their work on.
We asked a few questions about it.
Q: Tell us a bit about who is behind the concept, and what they were doing in their previous jobs before launching the app?
A: Work Hard Anywhere was founded by Cody Huang and I (Benson Chou) around 12 months ago. Prior to the inception of this idea, Cody was a hardware engineer at Intel and I was running a design firm called Imaginary Zebra, where we focused on visual identity and branding for startups and individuals.
Q: How did the idea for the app come about?
A: Before WHA, Cody and I bootstrapped several projects in the past, and since we don’t live near each other, we’d meet up at cafes and libraries to get work done together. But with the existing platforms at the time, it’s always a gamble using them to find places with outlets, seats, and wifi to work from. They put a dent in our productivity. So, we built WHA to track the ones we’ve been to. It’s turns out that more people than we think shared this problem. So, we began opening the app to our first beta testers (we call them the WHA Pioneers) to help scout and verify locations as well as giving us feedback.
We publicly launched the app around two months ago, and we now garnered more than 6000 spots across 75 countries.
Q: How does the app work?
A: Work Hard Anywhere makes it easy for people to share and explore the best laptop-friendly cafes and workspaces. When you open the app, you see a map with pins, which represent a location. You can click open the blue pins (verified locations) to check out the attributes of the spot, which includes wifi speed, amount of seating and outlets, pricing, and ease of parking. And if you feel adventurous, you can click the grey pins (unverified locations) to add them to the app.
Each location is scouted and verified by the app users—a community of freelancers, entrepreneurs, students, and digital nomads who work remotely.
Q: What are the ultimate tools of the trade for people wanting to work from anywhere?
A: After talking to hundreds of our users, we realised there are no specific set of tools for everyone. Different creatives require different things to excel in their field. However, for people to work remotely, one often seek a place with wifi and outlets (good coffee’s a plus).
My personal setup is a Apple 13″ macbook pro, logitech bluetooth mouse, a pair of in-ear headphones (I’m no audiophile), and an olympus mirrorless camera (part of my responsibilities for WHA is provide content for site and social media).
Q: What’s the etiquette involved in working from anywhere?
A: I’m big on working at a cafe, and I’ve been to a fair amount of them. The more I visit, the more I realise there’s an ecosystem that one should learn to appreciate and preserve. Like dining in a restaurant, working at cafes have their own sets of guidelines. Don’t be the asshole.
Also, buy something from the shop every 2-3 hours that you’re there. Most shops don’t mind that you stick around all day, but in return, compensate them for their space. It can be a meal, a pastry, or another cup of coffee. Do consider that they’re businesses and not non-profits. Plus, take it as an opportunity to try something different. I wrote a post about cafe etiquette here.
Q: Do café owners love or loathe freelancers? Why?
A: Cafe owners that we spoke to love to have people around. They enjoy providing the venue that keeps people productive, in which makes the space lively. But it all comes down to the type of customer you are—no cafe likes a freelancer that hog the table and download massive amount of files while eating the food that you bought else where.
Q: What are the benefits of working from anywhere?
A: No more commute (or your preferred amount of commute). You get to choose your workspace (let it be a revitalising cafe or a tranquil state park.) You get to choose the people you’d like to surround yourself with. And there’s the chance to travel and explore the world while you work.