Have you embraced remote work yet? If you’re wondering what a virtual workspace is, we got your answer!
The virtual workspace (a.k.a virtual office space or virtual headquarters) isn’t a buzzword - it’s a growing means of keeping your team members happy, high-performing, and connected to their work.
According to Buffer’s 2020 State of Remote Report, 98% of remote workers want to continue to work remotely (at least part of the time) for the rest of their careers.
At the same time, these team members report that their two biggest struggles are collaboration and communication (20%) and loneliness (20%).
Virtual workspaces are the key to effectively supporting your team members no matter where they work and solving these remote work challenges.
Below, we answer several common questions about the virtual workspace and how you can implement one for your team.
What Is a Virtual Workspace?
A virtual workspace, also known as a virtual office, is a platform that brings team members together to work, collaborate, and socialize remotely in a digital space — whether in place of, or in addition to, a physical office space.
A virtual workspace replicates the best features of a traditional office — including the ability to see and support your team's collaboration and socialization efforts — without the need for everyone to be in the same physical location. This is an addition to cost savings, increased productivity, and other benefits of virtual workspace software.
What Companies Can Benefit From A Virtual Office Space?
Virtual workspace tools are becoming increasingly popular among small businesses and large enterprises alike.
After all, all you need is a stable internet connection and a computer to shift from boring video calls to a digital workspace that enables social interactions that build company culture, trust, and morale — all while staying productive!
However, the way companies use their virtual workspace may vary depending on their needs and goals.
Distributed and remote-first companies can overcome not being in the same physical workspace to bond by using a digital workspace that's designed for their team's remote work style.
On the other hand, companies with multiple departments and many employees can use a virtual workplace as a way to avoid inter-department silos and encourage cross-team collaboration.
Finally, hybrid teams that are working remotely only several times a week can use a virtual office to ensure their hybrid workforce stays in the loop and can easily collaborate with on-site team members.
Virtual workspaces can be useful for all remote work models, including standard companies working from one office, distributed international companies, and fully remote companies.
What are the Benefits of a Virtual Workspace?
There are many benefits to implementing a virtual workspace that we've discussed in great detail here.
But just to give you a taste of the advantages a virtual office can give your remote team, here are just a few:
1. Communicate and Collaborate from Anywhere
No matter where your teams are located, they can access your virtual workspace and instantly collaborate with others in the company. Create a collaborative virtual space that encourages creativity and ideas to flow freely.
It’s seamless and straightforward, and it helps reduce the feeling of loneliness that so many remote workers experience.
2. Scale to Any Size of Company or Team
Virtual offices scale quickly, and there is no limit on size.
Unlike a physical space, you do not need to worry about using all of the space available to you or not having enough space.
When your company grows, your virtual office grows with you — no additional costs involved.
3. Experiment and Optimize
A virtual workspace allows you to experiment with what works best for your team. For example, your teams can work together by business unit in Q1, job function in Q2, and project in Q3. No need to bring architects or interior designers.
Change your virtual workspace with just a few clicks. If you need inspiration, we've created several virtual office templates you can recreate in your own headquarters.
4. Tailor to Your Brand & Culture
Virtual workspaces are extremely adaptable to your unique organizational needs. Involve your team members in creating a virtual workspace that matches your brand and culture. A robust virtual culture will help keep team members happy and connected to the company.
5. Onboard with Ease
During your new hire onboarding, you’ll be able to show them around the virtual office with an easy-to-visualize structure that helps them understand how your company is set up and operates. That helps new hires quickly identify the right departments and functions to ask questions during onboarding.
How To Use a Virtual Workspace?
Your imagination is the only limit to the use cases for a virtual workspace!
That's the beauty of it all — the virtual workspace works for you and your team, no matter the size and industry.
Across our customer base at Kosy, we’ve seen many exciting ways companies have used our virtual workspace platform, including:
1. Connecting International and Distributed Offices
A virtual office can help your international teams connect in situations where they do not share the same physical office.
When video conferencing is not enough to build a company culture in a remote setting, a virtual office can help bridge the gap and make your remote employees feel like they are part of a larger community.
2. Giving Remote Teams a Virtual HQ
For fully remote teams, a virtual workspace replaces the physical office, giving teams a place to connect and work together online.
Fully remote companies often have trouble replicating the water-cooler chat and serendipitous interactions that happen in a physical office. A virtual workspace can help employees feel like they are part of a real team, even when they are not in the same physical space.
3. Better Collaboration for Hybrid Teams
For hybrid companies, a virtual workspace gives team members a way to connect when they work from home. That allows teams to build seamless communication and collaboration, no matter the day of the week or location.
4. Holding Office Hours
A virtual workspace can be used for online office hours, giving your IT, HR, and other teams a dedicated space for questions and support throughout the day.
Managers and executives can also use virtual office hours to give team members the time to ask questions, creating more transparency and trust in your company.
5. Setting Up Project Rooms
When working on a new project with remote/distributed members, a virtual office brings everyone together around a virtual table to work and reach out whenever they want.
You can dedicate multiple workspaces inside the virtual office to specific projects to remove communication barriers that can slow projects down.
6. Meeting for Team Stand-ups
Start the day right with a daily stand-up in a dedicated virtual workspace.
If any topic needs to be addressed further, you can carry over the meeting to a different room that has all the necessary assets to get to the bottom of an issue.
7. Onboarding new hires
A virtual workspace makes it easy to onboard new hires and make them feel like part of the team.
For example, we train our junior team members by seating them in a virtual workspace with more senior staff so that they can ask questions at any time. That makes the onboarding process smoother and less intimidating than the new hire emailing or requesting a meeting every time they need help.
8. Hosting Virtual Parties and Events
To increase team cohesion, host virtual parties and team events in the Kosy virtual office platform. People can talk about their interests, play games together, and more — all of this helping nurture long-term relationships and increase team member performance and satisfaction.
How Do I Structure a Virtual Workspace?
The value of a physical office was easily visualizing how your teams worked together and who was doing what from an organizational perspective.
In the virtual world, that becomes more challenging but not impossible. You could replicate that with an old, outdated organizational structure chart (example below), but it's a bit hard to imagine.
With the Kosy virtual office platform, you can build your own virtual office and structure it in a way that makes sense for your company and continuously change it as your company evolves!
The companies we work with typically structure their teams in 4 different ways:
1. By Department
Virtual offices can be structured by a department or discipline like marketing, operations, or sales. This works for companies of all sizes, giving each team member their own space to occupy while also having an overview of the rest of the team.
2. Physical Office Recreation
If you recently went remote or hybrid, you can structure your virtual office to resemble your physical office.
This will help remote employees stay connected to the company's image and make the transition to virtual work smoother.
3. By Country
International teams may also want to structure their virtual offices by country or region. This beehive-like structure makes it easier for remote/distributed members to connect with each other, without worrying about language barriers or time zones.
4. By Business Unit
Decentralized companies often structure their virtual offices by business unit to help all team members within that unit collaborate effectively on key projects.
How Often Should I Use My Virtual Workspace?
How often you use your virtual workspace really varies by team and company.
Some companies may want to be connected 8 hours a day, while others may get the same value from being connected only 2 hours per week.
In general, we recommend starting by bringing people on board a few times a week for internal meetings and then increasing or decreasing as needed.
If you want to know more, we've written a whole guide on how to start out with Kosy and how to incorporate it into your company's workflow within 1 week.
More Questions About Virtual Workspaces?
Virtual workspaces let your teams work however they want, wherever they want, and how much they want without skipping a beat. Of course, making a transition to a virtual workspace isn’t exactly easy when you’ve never done it before.
Not sure how to get started with a virtual workspace in your company?
No worries, Kosy is here to help. Our virtual office platform makes it easy to create custom virtual offices built to meet your company’s unique needs.
If you're interested in having a fully decked-out virtual office, book a demo with us or give Kosy a try yourself.