The Remote Work Platform, FLOWN, Feels like Going Back to the Office...Without Actually Going Back to the Office

Remote Work App Flown Balance Between Community And Productivity

TL; DR: How many people reading this also work from home? Whether it’s part time or full time, I’ll take a wild guess that you’ve had bouts of absolutely sincere non-motivation. We’ve all been there — but kicking it to the curb isn’t easy when we’re alone in the same places where we relax, sleep, clean, and eat. Alicia Navarro, Founder and CEO, introduces FLOWN, a virtual co-working platform for remote workers to socialize and stay accountable as they would in the office.

By the time everybody worked from home in mid-2020, I’d already been doing it for years. I quit my teaching job and became a freelance writer in 2018, which was one of the most empowering yet challenging decisions I’ve ever made.

It was empowering because I was my own boss. But it was also tough because I went from making lesson plans, tucking kids into naptime, and playing kickball outside to being holed up in my office with a computer screen, which just gave me eye fatigue. I didn’t regret my decision — after all, it led me here to HostingAdvice — but even as an introvert, I was getting bored of my own company.

So, when everybody else was forced to work from home amid the pandemic, I actually felt relief. Knowing how other people were feeling made me feel so much less alone.

Alicia Navarro, the Founder and CEO of FLOWN, felt this, too. FLOWN is a communal focus platform for remote workers and was founded at the height of the national lockdown in May 2020. It was around that time Alicia saw how the structure of remote work was failing to support the conditions necessary to work from home effectively. homepage
Whether it’s responding to emails, editing a chapter, or finishing a presentation, FLOWN is the place where you can accomplish your tasks alongside others who are focused on their work just like you.

I don’t even mean producing high-quality work, but instead, she saw a broader issue: Studies have shown the absence of opportunities for concentrated work and social interaction can result in anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

In other words, although remote work has benefits, it’s also a lonely place to be without the right resources, especially since that isolation can easily translate into decreased productivity and a lack of accountability.

But there’s good news. FLOWN can solve all that — and more.

Meet FLOWN, the Community Platform All Remote Workers Need

FLOWN knows that humans, by nature, are incredibly social creatures.

Throughout history, countless examples illustrate that humans thrive in communities. It’s ingrained in our DNA to seek companionship and support. Without a sense of community, we will begin to suffer. This is evident in our long-standing tradition of living in groups to fulfill our need for belonging.

FLOWN aims to solve two main problems with working from home: isolation and motivation.

“Remote work is great for many reasons, but the negative side is I talk to a whole lot fewer people per day,” Alicia said. “And it isn’t just my colleagues; there are many accidental or indirect connections we all make every day that flavor and meaning to people’s day that you lose if you work remotely.”

Alicia’s referring to those small interactions — a “hello” at work, a wave of gratitude at a busy intersection, an “excuse me” at the coffee shop — we just don’t get when all we have to do is walk 10 feet from our bedrooms to our offices.

But it’s important to know these small interactions we’ve taken for granted actually increase our life satisfaction.

FLOWN was founded during the pandemic in 2020, so it was designed for remote work right from the beginning. Today, the team is entirely remote, but Alicia notes some of her favorite parts about the community are dedicated times for games and quick catch-up sessions.

FLOWN’s work culture is reflected in the platform itself, too.

These activities — one of six key aspects by which FLOWN operates — are necessary because we’ve reached a point where every notification or email is perceived as a task rather than an opportunity for genuine conversation.

In a traditional office setting, engaging in casual chats with coworkers is natural, but transferring these human-centric interactions to a virtual workspace isn’t as intuitive.

FLOWN’s virtual coworking environment combats isolation by enabling users to work alongside other remote professionals in real-time focus sessions. The mere presence of others can enhance concentration on individual tasks, known as “body doubling.”

Pie chart showing the biggest challenge with remote or hybrid work
Some of the biggest challenges remote workers face are difficulties with communication, tracking productivity, distractions at home, and staying motivated. (Source: Business2Community)

This self-help technique is often used by individuals with ADHD but can be helpful for anybody. It’s something we all experienced back in the office, but at home, it can foster motivation and accountability, particularly for tasks that may seem monotonous or lackluster. Having someone present can make these tasks more engaging and less daunting.

FLOWN helps recreate the spontaneous interactions and connections that occur organically among colleagues in an office setting. Users can browse each other’s profiles and projects, leave comments, and send messages, fostering a sense of camaraderie.

“One main benefit of our platform is it’s not free, which means the quality is high and everyone is well-behaved,” Alicia explained. “It’s a bit like a ‘live LinkedIn’ in many ways: A synchronous professional network, where you can actually see people working, read what they are working on, listen along to the music they are streaming, and interact with them in non-distracting ways, like sending them a ‘congratulations!’ for completing a goal.”

A Diverse Platform for All Types of Professionals and Projects

OK, it’s time to get down to the brass tacks. FLOWN offers two types of sessions: Drop-In and Facilitated sessions.

The Drop-In sessions are available 24/7 and are perfect for random drop-ins and working in silence, like at your local library or coworking space.

“This one is easy for us to pop in and out of,” Alicia explained. “Here, you people from all around the world — you’ve got copywriters, PhD students, psychologists — it’s a real mix, but there’s a common denominator, in that they are all professionals.”

The other is Facilitated sessions, which are 1-2 hour sessions led by expert facilitators. Here, you’ll follow a scheduled session where you’ll do sprints, breaks, stretches, and share your goals with others.

FLOWN's Drop-In Sessions vs. Facilitated Sessions
Work how you want with drop-in sessions or scheduled facilitated sessions.

Alicia describes this session as a “Peloton for work.”

“You’ll see a list of classes you can attend, but in this case, they’re focus sessions rather than an exercise class,” Alicia explained. “We hire amazing facilitators that are very good at turning what would otherwise be a dull hour or two into something that feels a bit more high energy.”

But there’s more than just coworking spaces. You can also join Recharge sessions, which are live sessions that help you plan your work and offer handy meditation, at-desk exercises, and workshops. Or, if you prefer, hop onto the pre-recorded Anytime content, which is perfect for those who want to browse the library and work at their own pace.

Additionally, Alicia notes FLOWN offers ability to host your own private focus sessions, which you can run with your friends, family, or colleagues. This option is perfect for remote teams and university students who want to create private work or study groups.

You can also host public sessions so anyone in the global community can work with you at a time you want, or you can attend sessions led by other community members, some of them very well-known!

For example, one host is a New York Times bestselling author who’s currently writing her next book. You can join her session and write your own book alongside her.

Screenshot from FLOWN homepage
Share your goals and encourage others on theirs.

“The idea is that you have this on as you work — and it’s weird, yes,” Alicia admits with a laugh, “but seeing other people focus does make it easier for you to focus.”

There’s also a boatload of neat features, including intention setting, timers, and a music player to boost your focus and enjoyment as you work. All these features combine to help keep users engaged and accountable for their work time, similar to what working in a shared office may offer.

Other community features include user-hosted sessions to provide collaboration, learning, and networking opportunities.

What You Can Expect from FLOWN

Alicia knows remote work is here to stay in some capacity. So FLOWN’s goal is to continue adapting the platform effectively to support remote teams and individuals through its focus and community features.

Line graph titled: "Share of Americans working remotely" between 2018-2023
As expected, there was a decrease in remote work following the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re now observing a gradual rise in remote work once again. (Source: Zippia)

“People are definitely doing work on FLOWN, but there will be some times that you see a guy practicing the drums, someone doing art, a woman gardening in her backyard,” Alicia said. “The platform, at its core, is designed to support any activity where you recognize the need for an extra layer of focus, accountability, and human connection to enhance your experience.”

With that in mind, Alicia foresees the future of remote work expanding as more companies invest in remote work culture. But the key is adapting tools and strategies to support remote teams effectively in the long run.

“It’s one of those things where I encourage people to try it because there’s no cost at just giving it a go,” Alicia said, adding: “People come to the focus, but they end up staying for the community.”

Try FLOWN free for 30 days here.