The virtual workspace (a.k.a virtual office 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 virtual workspace and how to use them to support your teams, regardless of their location effectively.
What Is a Virtual Workspace?
A virtual workspace, also known as a virtual office, or virtual headquarters is a platform that brings team members together to work, collaborate, and socialize remotely--whether in place of, or in addition to, a physical office.
Virtual workspaces can be useful for all work models, including standard companies working from one office, distributed international companies, and full remote companies. We've already written about 4 models remote and hybrid teams should follow.
What are the Benefits of a Virtual Workspace?
There are many benefits to implementing a virtual workspace. The following are 5 of the top benefits virtual workspaces can provide your teams:
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. 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.
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 the architects or interior designers. Change your virtual workspace with just a few clicks.
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 only limits the use cases for a virtual workspace! Across our customers at Kosy, we’ve seen many exciting use cases for our virtual workspace platform, including...
1. International and Distributed Offices
A virtual office can help your international teams connect in situations where they do not share the same physical office.
2. Remote Teams
For fully remote teams, a virtual workspace replaces the physical office, giving teams a place to connect and work together online.
3. Work from Home Days
For hybrid companies, a virtual workspace gives team members a way to connect when they work from home. That allows teams to collaborate effectively and seamlessly no matter what day of the week or location.
4. 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 access to ask questions, creating more transparency and trust in your company.
5. 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. Dedicated project rooms remove communication barriers that can slow projects down.
6. Team Stand-ups
Start the day with a virtual team stand-up in a dedicated virtual workspace. If any topic needs to be addressed further, pop into your room to settle quickly before starting the day.
7. New Hire Onboarding
A virtual workspace makes it easy to onboard new hires. 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. 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. That helps nurture long-term relationships. Learn more about how a virtual workspace can help 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. You can replicate that with an old, outdated organizational structure chart (example below), but it's hard to imagine.
There is no right way to structure a virtual office. 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:
Virtual offices can be structured by a department or discipline like marketing, operations, or sales. Works for companies of all sizes
2. Physical Office
You can structure your virtual office by office location for distributed teams, creating spaces for teams typically sharing a physical office. Best for companies of more than 250 employees.
International teams may also want to structure their virtual offices by country or region. Best for companies of more than 500 employees.
4. Business Units
Decentralized companies often structure their virtual offices by business unit to help all team members within that unit collaborate effectively with one another on key projects. Best for companies of more than 1,000 employees.
How Often Should I Use My Virtual Workspace?
How often you use a virtual 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.
That depends on the level of collaboration needed within a specific team. In general, we recommend starting by bringing people on board a few times a week and then increasing or decreasing as needed.
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, you need to give Kosy a try.