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Ep. 18

Building the first village for remote work

Can remote work completely transform rural environments?

Now that 14 to 23 million Americans planning to move as a result of switching to remote work, it's time we consider how to build physical communities that retain remote workers now that home is no longer where your company is.
What is needed to create a “village” for remote workers?  Will Mercer is the Founder and CEO of Umaya Village – a community of remote workers and teams nestled on a paradise beach in Belize. Find out what led to the creation of Umaya, what he learned from creating a community space in a chateau in the French countryside and what the future of remote communities could look like. 
Together with him, we discussed:
  • The biggest challenges while creating Umaya
  • Architectural design that leads to a great experience for remote workers
  • Possibilities for remote teams and individuals to join Umaya
  • The future of remote villages.
You can find the full transcript here!
Stay tuned for the next episode, in which we discuss the case of hiring globally as a remote company with Tony Jamous from Oyster.
What should we talk about next? We love hearing feedback and suggestions about our previous and future episodes, so send us an email at with any thoughts, ideas or guests we should invite on the podcast.

About your hosts

Sondre Rasch

Co-founder & CEO
Sondre co-founded SafetyWing together with Sarah Sandnes and Hans Kjellby. Born in Bergen, Norway, he studied economics and computer science, before starting work as a policy advisor for the government of Norway advising on social policies. After getting frustrated with the slow pace of government change, Sondre first founded SuperSide (YC W16), a platform for freelance designers. It was here he discovered the lack of a safety net for online remote workers. SafetyWing was then born with the aim of building a global social safety net.

Will Mercer

Umaya Village
After being involved in various community-focused projects, such as the London-based startup incubator The Trampery and the Château de la Salle - a residential work and event space in a chateau in Burgundy, France, Will founded the Umaya Village.
Apart from managing this resort for a community of remote workers, teams and entrepreneurs working online in Belize, he is the Venture Director at Zag, a hands-on early stage investment fund.
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