It might be tempting to stay inside your little home office (sometimes just a WFH corner, like mine now) and never let anyone else interrupt your focus time. But that isn't necessarily the best thing for your team, or your health.
Sure, you can manage your remote team effectively by using these five essential collaboration tools. However, it's easy for remote workers to get trapped in their own cubicles.
For many, working side by side with colleagues is the most efficient way to get things done. How can you replicate this experience when your team is miles away from each other?
To help you with this challenge, we've compiled a list of the five best virtual workspaces to help you build a cohesive team from across the country or world.
What is a virtual workspace?
Virtual workspaces are becoming more popular for remote teams. Research shows that keeping up a certain level of social interaction is essential for the optimal performance of WFH employees.
A virtual workspace is an online hub where remote teams collaborate. It functions similarly to a physical office but in a digital form. Of course, the platform should make it easy for your team to work together by providing features for online discussions, team meetings, and file sharing.
But you might need more. Want to chat, to see who's in the office, and to know what they're up to? A virtual workspace should take your remote experience to the next level and lets you interact with the team as if you're sitting next to each other. This creates a sense of belonging and fosters a strong team culture for remote teams.
Key Features to Consider in Virtual Workspace Software
Consider the following factors when choosing a virtual workspace platform for your team:
Make sure the virtual workspace you choose has robust remote collaboration tools. Remote work becomes challenging when people need to keep in touch, update progress, and work together. Many innovative features help remote employees handle work as a team effectively, even when they're not physically together.
Feeling of Togetherness
To create an engaging remote work environment, use virtual platforms with customizable office settings. This way, managers can provide office amenities, and team members can personalize their virtual desks. Ensure the platform also has communication features beyond email and Zoom invitations to enable easy and fun interaction among your teams.
Security and Privacy
The Best 5 Virtual Workspaces for Your Remote Teams
1. Gather Town
Gather Town is an innovative virtual workspace software that enhances collaboration and communication for hybrid and remote teams. It creates a virtual space where team members can interact, work together, and engage in various activities. The platform mimics the experience of being physically present in a shared office or meeting room.
In your Gather Town workspace, everyone can move around freely, sit at their designated desks, or walk to different rooms to connect with others. They can join conversations and discussions based on their proximity within the virtual environment. The spatial audio feature creates a more natural and intuitive communication experience, making remote workers feel more connected and present.
- Spatial Audio simulates real-life sound dynamics, creating a more natural and immersive communication experience.
- Users of Gather Town can create personalized avatars that represent them in the virtual environment, allowing for individual expression and identity.
- It supports interactive objects within its virtual spaces, enabling users to share files, collaborate on documents, or even play games together.
- The platform offers screen-sharing capabilities, allowing users to present their work or provide demonstrations. It also provides the option to record meetings and sessions for future reference.
- Gather Town provides analytics and insights into team activities and engagement within the virtual environment. This data can help managers assess team dynamics and identify areas for improvement.
What we like about this virtual workspace
You might enjoy Gather Town's platform design as a young and creative team. The ability to move around and interact with others in a spatially-aware manner encourages spontaneous conversations and serendipitous interactions.
The platform allows users to customize their virtual environments, creating virtual offices, meeting rooms, or other spaces that suit their needs. This flexibility enables teams to digitally recreate their physical workspace and establish familiarity and belonging.
Gather Town seamlessly integrates video conferencing capabilities, ensuring face-to-face communication while working in the virtual environment. This spatial audio and video conferencing combination enhances team dynamics and promotes effective collaboration.
The platform offers various features to facilitate team-building activities and social interactions. It allows teams to organize virtual events, such as happy hours or game nights, where team members can gather in a more relaxed setting and strengthen relationships.
You can integrate Gather Town into Google Calendar on Chrome and Slack to update your calendar and receive notifications about upcoming events.
However, while Gather Town's interface is intuitive, some team members may require time to become familiar with the platform's features and navigation. Adequate training and onboarding resources should be provided to ensure a smooth transition for all users.
To fully leverage Gather Town's immersive experience, a stable internet connection and a computer capable of handling the platform's graphics are necessary. This could pose a challenge for individuals with limited resources or older hardware.
The free plan is available for teams of up to 10 people. The starting price for the premium plan is $25 per month per user. Gather offers customized pricing options for businesses with specific enterprise requirements.
Kumospace is a web-based virtual workspace that helps teams collaborate and connect without having too many meetings. It provides a user-friendly environment with live chat and gentle reminders.
One of the standout features of Kumospace is its ability to replicate the experience of being in a physical office. Remote teams can create virtual workspaces that resemble real-world offices, complete with meeting rooms, workstations, and common areas. Teams can quickly locate their colleagues within the virtual space and interact with each other via voice and video chat. They can even engage in spontaneous conversation by "bumping" into each other. These organic communication and serendipitous interactions are similar to those occurring naturally in a traditional office.
- Kumospace has customizable floor plans and uses spatial audio technology to create a more realistic experience for remote teams. Users can decorate their virtual spaces with custom artwork, furniture, and branding elements.
- Collaboration tools: Voice and video chat, screen sharing, document collaboration, and virtual whiteboards facilitate seamless teamwork and productivity.
- Host and co-host feature for virtual events in Kumospace make it easy for the team to organize even large or complex online events.
- The platform employs encryption protocols to ensure secure communication between participants.
What we like about this virtual workspace
Kumospace creates a visually appealing and interactive environment that enhances collaboration and teamwork. The virtual spaces feel lifelike and remote teams can feel more connected and engaged.
Its user-friendly interface makes it easy for both tech-savvy and non-technical users to navigate and interact within the platform. This saves your time and effort during the onboarding process.
If your team uses either Microsoft or Google Suite, Kumospace has got you covered with easy integration options for Microsoft, Google Calendar, and Slack.
However, Kumospace's immersive graphics and real-time interactions can be demanding on system resources, particularly for older or less powerful devices. While it has a mobile version, the full experience is best enjoyed on desktop or laptop.
Kumospace has a free plan for 5 registered users. Professional and business plans cost $8 and $15 per month per user respectively. Additional pricing choices can be tailored to your specific needs.
Remo is a platform that creates virtual workspaces for interactive and engaging virtual events and conferences. Its virtual rooms represent different spaces within an office, such as meeting rooms, breakout areas, and social spaces. Participants can join tables and talk to colleagues with real-time video, audio, and chat functionalities.
Remo provides features like sharing screens, collaborating on documents, and private chats, making it easy to collaborate during virtual events. Its user-friendly interface and networking options improve team collaboration and enable meaningful interactions in remote settings.
- Remo emulates physical office spaces like another virtual workspace and replicates real-life audio dynamics for natural and focused conversations.
- Remo offers built-in tools for screen sharing, document collaboration, and virtual whiteboard, minimizing the need for additional applications.
- The software provides insights into team engagement, participation, and attendance. So that managers can assess team dynamics and identify areas for improvement.
What we like about this virtual workspace
Remo's virtual workspace creates an engaging environment that promotes teamwork, brainstorming, and social interactions. It's pretty simple and intuitive to use that requires little training.
Whether your team consists of a handful of individuals or spans multiple departments and locations, Remo offers the flexibility and scalability to accommodate your needs. It allows you to create various virtual rooms with customizable settings to cater to different teams or purposes.
Thanks to its in-app collaborative features, your team won't need to constantly switch between apps for sync work or presentation. For those who need to conduct frequent team events and town halls, Remo can be a good choice over other platforms.
However, the cost of this virtual workspace tool is higher when compared to similar alternatives.
Roam Cloud HQ is an all-in-one virtual office software designed to bring distributed teams together seamlessly and engagingly. It addresses the challenges remote teams face, such as the lack of connection and informal interactions that usually happen in the traditional workplace.
Roam's graphical office interface offers a bird's eye view of the entire team. So you can quickly see who is present and get in touch with them. Roam's approach to meetings is centered around shorter and more focused interactions. By providing audio-first default meetings and reducing the reliance on video calls, Roam helps teams streamline communication and reduce meeting times significantly. The average meeting time of 8 minutes and 34 seconds, reported by Roam founder, Howard Lerman, demonstrates the platform's ability to optimize collaboration.
- The Graphical Office Interface provides a user-friendly virtual office space that allows employees to navigate and interact easily through visual representations. Users can also customize their individual workspace with profile pictures and personal items.
- With virtual rooms and customizable floor plans, it is possible to design virtual spaces that resemble real-world offices. These spaces can include meeting rooms, auditoriums, and individual offices that can be tailored to meet the organization's specific needs.
- Get real-time visibility on who is currently available for spontaneous conversations or engaged in meetings.
- It partnered with Krisp, the leading AI-powered noise cancellation solution, to enhance audio capabilities. This integration contributes to a more professional meeting experience, especially in noisy environments.
- Built-in messaging features, like Group Chat and Direct Messaging, allow seamless team communication and collaboration.
What we like about this virtual workspace
Roam aims to reduce meeting time and foster team collaboration. Its map feature creates a feeling of togetherness, even when working remotely. The virtual office setup mimics the experience of being in a physical office, with different floors, conference rooms, and the ability to "knock" on "doors."
Roam offers various communication-rich features, such as audio-only and video and audio rooms, that allow team members to function as if they were in a real office. You can drop by for a chat instead of scheduling time-consuming Zoom calls with just a single click. For larger company-wide presentations, you can also use a theatre-style room that can accommodate thousands of employees.
The platform ensures a smooth transition between different modes of collaboration, making it a seamless and engaging experience for users.
However, the initial setup and navigation within the platform require some time for users to fully grasp its functionalities and make the most of the available features. The platform is still in its beta version, with updated features added in weeks.
Roam's beta period is currently open for sign-ups on the waitlist. The cost is $8 per month per active member, but it will increase to $10 per month per active user in 2023 and $10.25 per month per active user in 2024.
5. Kosy Office
Kosy Office is another great virtual workspace option on the list. It allows team members to interact with each other through avatars and participate in virtual meetings and collaborations.
Kosy Office offers a range of features that help remote teams work and interact more effectively. The platform provides virtual rooms for specific projects, meetings, or sprints, allowing team members to collaborate seamlessly. By pinning documents and files to rooms, information becomes readily accessible, fostering efficient teamwork. The ability to co-work side by side virtually creates a sense of working in the same physical space, enabling spontaneous conversations and reducing the fatigue often associated with traditional video conferencing.
- Kosy Office enables users to move closer or further away from teammates in conversations, simulating a natural spatial experience and enhancing communication.
- Teams can personalize their virtual office by adding rooms, furniture, logos, and more, creating a space that reflects their unique culture and preferences.
- The platform allows embedding websites, files, and apps, providing quick access and seamless collaboration within the virtual workspace.
- Kosy Office promotes social interaction through chat, shared music, games, and recreational activities, fostering team bonding and creating a more enjoyable work environment.
- The platform offers options to protect spaces and control access, allowing for private conversations and ensuring data security.
What we like about this virtual workspace
Kosy Office well recreates the ambiance and dynamics of a physical office, enabling remote teams to experience a cohesive work environment. Users might enjoy how easy and fun it is to design your virtual office (and you can even add pets!)
The platform offers spatial audio and video features, multiple screen shares, and interactive objects and integrations. These functionalities facilitate seamless collaboration and improve productivity.
You can send notifications to whom you have a meeting right on the platform and boost team engagement with interactive activities, such as games and group meditations.
Besides, the platform also offers integrations with popular tools like Miro, Figma, Google Drive, and Google Sheets to support your team's collaboration.
However, Kosy has fewer virtual workspace features than others in the market. Customization choices might be restricted in some layouts.
The free plan is available for 5 users. The professional plan is $10 per user per month for up to 10 users, with a 14-day trial. Custom pricing is offered for enterprises.
Why Remote Team Needs a Virtual Workspace
One cannot ignore the flexibility that remote settings bring to the table. With remote work, your employees have the freedom to work from anywhere - be it their homes, coffee shops, or even while traveling. It opens up opportunities for companies to tap into a global talent pool and hire the best individuals with various areas of expertise.
And if your workforce is primarily remote, it's worth considering virtual workspace software. A dedicated online place where you can connect, communicate, and work together effectively despite the distance.
When your team has an online hub, you regain some of what is lost working remotely. You have a space to chat spontaneously, bounce ideas around, and bond over shared experiences. You can organize files, documents, and resources in one spot so everyone knows where to find what they need. And with the right tools integrated, you can even recreate the feeling of teamwork that comes from gathering around a whiteboard or worktable.
Cost Savings for Business
As a remote team, one of the best investments you can make is in a virtual workspace. Why? For starters, it saves your business a ton of money.
- No expensive office space. Paying rent, utilities, and maintenance on a physical office can cost tens of thousands per year. A virtual workspace eliminates those costs.
- Built for collaboration. Modern workspaces have video conferencing, messaging, file sharing, and project management tools that make collaboration easy, even when working remotely.
At the end of the day, a virtual workspace gives your remote team everything they need to get the job done without the burden of a physical office. For a small business, that can make a huge difference to your bottom line - and allow you to focus resources on what really matters.
Promoting Social Interaction
As a remote team, finding ways to connect socially is so important. A virtual workspace can bring your team together and build camaraderie, even when you're not in the same physical space.
- Virtual coffee breaks. Take 15-30 minutes a week for your team to chat over video. This gives everyone a chance to catch up, bond over personal stories, and get to know each other better.
- Online team building activities. Do an escape room, scavenger hunt, or game night over video chat. Laughter and friendly competition are great for bringing teams together.
- Celebrate wins and milestones. Make a big deal when team members have work anniversaries, land new clients, or achieve their goals. Send e-cards, have a virtual toast, or find another way to make them feel special.
- One-on-one check-ins. Managers should schedule regular video calls with each team member. This gives people a chance to connect personally, address any issues, and feel supported.
A virtual workspace may not replace in-person interaction completely, but it certainly helps remote teams feel more connected. With the right tools and strategies, you can build a supportive social environment and strong relationships, even from a distance.
Increased Remote Productivity
A virtual workspace allows remote teams to collaborate effectively.
When your team has a dedicated digital space to work together, productivity will soar. Here are a few reasons why:
- Everything is in one place. Files, task lists, calendars, and communication are centralized, so you waste less time searching for information or trying to coordinate schedules.
- Better communication and collaboration. With messaging, video chat, and interactive whiteboards all built into one platform, collaborating with your team has never been easier. Work through challenges together in real-time.
- Visibility. Remote work can feel lonely and isolating. It means no more "hello" when you enter the office and no more tapping on the shoulder for help. However, if your team can function well in a virtual workspace, these issues shouldn't be a problem anymore.
A virtual workspace helps remote teams thrive. It gives you and your colleagues a place to come together to get work done, build relationships, share knowledge, and drive your business forward as a united front. If you want to take your remote team to the next level, setting up a tailored virtual workspace is an absolute must.