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The Distributed Work Movement

We Are Distributed serves as a decentralised global workforce, social community & movement dedicated to empowering workers globally, with knowledge, skills and support to lead happier working lives throughout their careers.

But in order to do any of this, we must first put our stake in the ground, call out the issues preventing progress, so the Future of Work can work for everyone.

We intend to provide tools, resources and guidance across the full employment lifecycle, for workers everywhere — regardless of location or modality.

We can’t solve the problems affecting happiness, fairness & equity at work, if we’re too scared to identify them, admit our role in perpetuating these dangers daily and start making changes at both grassroots & board room level.

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A workplace fit for purpose


We believe the working world needs a new system to cater for the needs of our global population. So here’s our philosophy and manifesto, designed to create systems change at the highest level.

The Current State of Play

  • Global workers are being left behind (1). Access to the best opportunities are only reserved for those living in the richest countries or those with citizenships who have the ‘right to work’ in those nations
  • Even if you’re lucky enough to find a company able to hire from anywhere, your employment type and location, now exist as additional barriers to having a great employment experience.
  • Your eligibility for certain benefits and perks is determined by your passport. This becomes more apparent if the company you work with is headquartered in a country you don’t live in.
  • Full-time employees are given preferential treatment ahead of workers with other employment status types, such as; part-time, contractor & freelance, intern, apprenticeship, temp workers etc.
  • The 5-day workweek has been around since 1908 and is in dire need of change. Studies continually show that we are burnt out! (2) Whilst flexible working — whether that’s a 4-day workweek, a 9-day fortnight or otherwise, are shown to yield better work-life balance, higher engagement, improved productivity and more. (3)
  • Job seekers have limited to no access to company and market data, to make career decisions that work for them.
  • Companies typically show candidates the best aspects of their workplace, and hide the ugly truth under the guise of ‘Employer Branding and Reputation Management’. This practice is self-serving which, ultimately creates unrealistic expectations for new joiners.
  • No workplace in the world is perfect. And no workplace is perfect for everyone. Job seekers need to know what it’s truly like to work somewhere and they need to know as much as possible about their future manager — long before they sign on the dotted line.
  • Reviews published on employer directories are often a tale of two opposing stories: “This workplace is perfect” or “Get me out now”. Both likely to be inaccurate, telling only half the story of what it’s truly like to work somewhere.
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1. Global-First Jobs, Not Western-Centric

  • To build effective people operations processes for a global workforce, you cannot design your HR systems through a western-exclusive lens. And this doesn’t start during onboarding, but from the very first moment potential candidates interact with your brand. For most, this will be via discovery of your open jobs.
  • The facts are clear for all to see, globally distributed workers cannot find well-paid remote job opportunities that hire in their country. Only 16% of companies worldwide are fully remote or allow employees to work from anywhere. (4)
  • Many listings on the biggest remote job boards clearly state whether a job is “100% remote, hybrid or in-person”, yet often what gets ignored is the tagging of geographic locations a role is available for vs. who and where an employer is truly trying to hire.
  • For example, many companies who state a job is available for EMEA citizens, disproportionally interview and hire Europeans above Middle-East and African candidates.
  • EMEA stands for Europe, Middle-East & Africa, yet we see Middle-Eastern and African candidates being disproportionately shunned from job opportunities. Sometimes receiving thoughtless canned responses from hiring managers such as: “Sorry, this job is only available for EMEA (Europe)”.
  • This is a frustrating experience for job seekers based in the Middle-East or Africa, as they are spending 3-4x as long as their NAMER and European counterparts, searching for jobs they thought they were initially eligible for. This additional mental tax, is one of many discrepancies we’ve identified and yet to see addressed.

To combat this, we’ll build a truly global job board, one which only surfaces jobs from truly global employers. No regional tags, 100% remote/distributed opportunities, salary range sliders & much more; available to everyone, no matter where you live. [DONE]

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2. Know thy employer

How can you tell whether an employer is the right fit for your career goals & objectives? Unfortunately many employment directory sites are thinly-veiled employer branding & reputation management products.

If an employer can pay to remove negative reviews or can incentivise internal employees to leave positive ones, the whole system is rigged.

We're building a public-facing Workplace Grader to address this.

It’ll assess psychological safety and emotional wellbeing in the workplace. Think Culture Amp, but public, anonymous & with ‘best in [category]’ leaderboards across the entire employment lifecycle for all to see.

We’re not building this to call out the behaviour per se; that's a separate matter. But rather for prospective employees to see the track record of an organisation they're interested in joining.

Finally, candidates will be able to get answers to some of their most pressing questions:

  • What’s this employer’s compensation philosophy? Does it align with my values?
  • Has this company done layoffs in the past? How often, how many? How did they conduct themselves? Are the messages they communicated to the media congruent with the experiences felt by impacted employees?
  • How long do they tend to take before responding to candidates post application?
  • Do they offer paid test projects for assessments?
  • Is there a culture of pay transparency both internally & on job postings?
  • Does this company actively work to build safe spaces for marginalised groups?

If we can do this for products (G2), services (Clutch) & talent (Upwork).. why not companies too?

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3. Choose your future manager

On the manager front, the evidence is also clear.

Your happiness at work is tied directly to who your manager is; more specifically their leadership style, philosophy on their craft and your relationship with them. Unfortunately, the manager you get upon joining a company is completely outside your control.

But what if you could decide who you choose to work with?

  • What kind of impact would that have on workers, hiring managers & companies if job seekers could apply to work with specific managers or managers with a specific leadership style / personality instead of companies?
  • How would that affect how companies structure their teams, who they promote into leadership positions and how they hire in general?

This is something we seek to experiment with.

We will build a directory of the best managers to work with, separated by industry — graded by the public in real-time. Only verified, direct reports & individual contributors can submit a manager for inclusion.

Once launched, we’ll take our global job board and flip it on its head. Job seekers will then, by default upon visiting, get to choose whether they wish to see:

  • All open, hire from anywhere jobs
  • Jobs based on an employer's attributes and values
  • Jobs based on the type of manager / department head they’d like to work with
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4. Predictable income for all

Freelancers & contractors have been in a precarious position for years.

  • Unreliable work hours
  • Difficult clients who don’t understand the meaning of ‘personal boundaries’
  • Stop-and-go projects and more

For the most part, many contractors aren’t contractors by choice, but necessity. Typically treated as 2nd-tier citizens in workplaces with access to fewer benefits, lower pay and makeshift resources compared to their full-time co-workers.

We seek to create a level playing field for independent workers, starting with an Unpaid Invoice Collector service, designed to help contractors, freelancers & solopreneurs reclaim unpaid invoices worth millions of dollars from unresponsive clients.

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5. If you know, you know

Most people don’t know their employment rights or local labour laws. And not knowing, only benefits employers as an employee's lack of knowledge results in lost income.

For far too long, employers have taken advantage and profited off the back of their workers' lack of understanding of employment law.

I’ve worked in tech for over a decade and I’ve rarely, if ever challenged the statements or clauses mentioned on my employment contracts. Not because I couldn’t be bothered, but due to fear of having the job offers rescinded.

Now, unless you or your parents studied or worked in Legal or HR, you likely don’t know your country’s employment law, regulations and rights inside out. I know I didn’t.

It was never taught in schools, but it's our collective belief that it should be.

Workers don't have access to readily available guidance or support, to walk them through their employment contracts.

We believe that everyone should know how the law works in their country, so they know exactly what they're signing up for and can negotiate from a position of strength.

This needs to change.

We’ll empower workers with the knowledge required to protect themselves throughout their entire working lives. From VISA support and job offer negotiation help, to PTO advice, separation agreements and everything in between.

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6. For the citizens and workers of tomorrow’s world

We believe the future of work is being written now, and it’s up to us as workers, as a community, as a people to build that global future together. HR teams, execs and workers, hand-in-hand, crafting a better workplace & future for us all.

It would be disingenuous and hypocritical of us to state on one hand, how we believe the future of work is both globally distributed and will be built with us working together, whilst on the other hand, building this future of work model, ecosystem & community as a locked entity with no input from the very people it was designed to serve.

So with that, here is our call to action…

  • Join the #wearedistributed movement to contribute towards a better, more compassionate, global workplace for everyone
  • Share this manifesto far & wide. Here’s a non-gated PDF download for ease

Over the coming weeks and months we’ll share upcoming releases, ways you can contribute and a deeper look at the impact and systems change we’re looking to influence in the short, medium & long-term.

We look forward to seeing you on the other side!

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Join the #wearedistributed community to build the future of work 🌍
Photo of David Oragui — Founder of We Are Distributed

David 'DJ' Oragui

Founder, Chief Impact Officer
#wearedistributed 🌍


[1] Global Workforce, Hopes and Fears Survey 2022, PwC, viewed 24 May 2022
[2] The State of Remote Burnout Report 2022, Kona
[3] 4 Day Week Global Pilot Program 2022, Cambridge University and Boston College
[4] State of Remote Work 2022, Owl Labs

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