Nobody ever said working from home had to be from your home.
As more companies begin to make the move to bring workers back to offices that have been largely empty for two years, a Portland startup is doubling down on remote work with its tech platform.
Radious helps users list their home work spaces Airbnb-style, giving people the chance to get out of the house and into another that’s in their neighborhood. Radious also has a B2B focus, working with companies to help their employees get the benefits of in-person collaboration and work-life balance without having to commute to a traditional office.
Moreau is a big believer in the benefits of remote work and what’s been learned during the COVID-19 pandemic about the future of work. She’s written about what we’re getting wrong, and she believes the chasm between what companies want and what employees need has contributed to the so-called great resignation.
“There is one thing that both sides have in common, whether they realize it or not, and that’s that in-person collaboration is important to have, at least sometimes,” Moreau said, adding that employees no longer want to commute regularly to a central office and employers that force the issue will continue to lose top talent.
“We’re providing companies with a more flexible, on-demand, unique way to provide a space for in-person collaboration that’s way more convenient for people because it’s right in their neighborhoods,” she said.
Radious just hit 50 listings on its platform, which Moreau called a “huge milestone” because it’s what the startup told investors their money would get them to, and they’re ahead of schedule.
The company closed a $265,000 funding round in January, with backing from Portland Seed Fund and OTBC’s Westside Startup Fund 7.
Radious work spaces rent for approximately $150 a day. The price is largely contingent on how many people a space can accommodate, and, according to Moreau “how cool it is, frankly.” A renovated 1970s Airstream trailer is $50 plus $10 cleaning and $10 service fees.
Other listings include modern houses, backyard bungalows, basement offices and even a train-car-turned-office that is billed as perfect for client presentations and team off-sites, and runs $560 a day.
“Since this is an active railway, please expect the occasional train horn!” the listing says.
Radious has attracted companies across industries looking to give their remote employees the benefit of a day away from the home office. A Portland company called called Grovemade, which makes home office accessories, needed places for employees to meet that were quieter than the company’s factory, and they’re Radious’ first corporate customer to sign up on a subscription basis.
Radious counts its competitors as anyone that does work space on demand, from co-working spaces such as WeWork to hotel conference rooms.
But those places are often more expensive and they don’t have the comforts of home, Moreau said. There aren’t thermostats or operable windows where you can have full control over your temperature.
“We’ve gotten used to that over the last two years,” Moreau said. “And I don’t know about you, but us women, our hands and feet are frozen all the time. We feel cold a lot. And so having warmth and control over that is a nice thing. Those things matter.”
While getting people together is a selling point, Radious spaces are also ideal for anyone who needs a solo escape from a bad work-from-home setup, whether they just can’t concentrate at home or can’t disconnect.
“Let me tell you, I am sick of these four walls,” Moreau said during a Zoom chat with GeekWire from her home office. “And so I have a Radious space booked tomorrow, and I’m doing some in-person meetings in the morning. And then I’ve invited the rest of my team to just drop by in the afternoon whenever they want.”
It’s a type of flexibility that Moreau thinks bigger companies would be wise to pay attention to as they insist employees need to be in the office a certain number of days a week.
“Just because your office is open doesn’t mean that you have to mandate a full or even a partial return,” she said. “You can just open it and say, ‘Come if you want, don’t come if you don’t want.’ And I actually think that the companies that do that are the ones that are going to win in the talent wars.”
Moreau is the only full-time employee at Radious right now. She’s working with 11 contractors in various capacity.
She drew a 16-mile radius around downtown Portland to establish the initial boundary for Radious, but the plan has been to “nail it and scale it.” Moreau wants the second market to be culturally different from Portland — maybe a city in the Midwest or South — so she can identify how to be relevant for all locations.
Once the startup develops a playbook for expansion, Radious has big remote-work hopes.
“We’re gonna raise a few million dollars to build out our team, ramp up our dev capabilities and start taking over the United States and then eventually the world,” Moreau said.