Re-defining Remote Work
WorkerBee, a registered charity, social initiative, interactive website, and is the result of the two-day Toronto Global Goals Jam Event that took place in September of 2019. Engaging designers, developers and strategists to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by creating short-term interventions with long-term impact. The project aimed to tackle SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) with the focus of designing the tools and services required to support remote worker programs and increasing accessibility.
In Toronto, 38% of people live alone. Research has shown that compared to living with others, the overall health, mental health, and life satisfaction of those living alone is significantly lower. It has been proven that living alone without a strong social network (social capital) – isolation – can lead to loneliness. The negative effects of loneliness are significant: They have the same impacts as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Conversely, social connectedness can decrease the risk of premature death by 50%.
WorkerBee's goal was to reduce the risk of social isolation and loneliness that is likely to occur with the growing trend of remote and virtual work, by linking remote workers to the right spaces, resources and communities, both physically and virtually. Instilling a sense of place and belonging, as well as providing the necessary resources through workshops, mentorship programs, networking opportunities and virtual watercoolers.
In addition to connecting users to available co-working spaces and underutilized spaces in their proximate area which could be transformed into temporary work-spaces such as churches, offices, theatres etc. resulting in a mutually beneficial exchange. Redefining traditional co-working spaces, and activating and connecting the community.
Finally, WorkerBee dug deeper into the notion of accessibility, and aims to provide pop-up/mobile working stations with resources and items gathered from the community. To service truly remote areas, providing its population with access to the necessary resources and spaces to work, in addition to a robust physical and virtual community.