Virtual office spaces are an emerging concept brought about by the pandemic when fully in-person teams were constrained to embrace remote operations.
Over time, a growing number of companies discovered the benefits of working from home — however, executives and employees still miss the opportunity to connect at offices, start spontaneous meetings, and connect with clients without the fourth wall of a video call.
That’s how virtual offices — a middle ground between remote work and an in-person workplace, came to be. These spaces give teams a way to interact with each other casually without having to share the same room.
In this post, we are going over 50 reasons why team leaders and business owners should introduce virtual offices to their operations.
Running an office is resource-draining: on average, companies pay $2.23 per square foot in maintenance costs each month. Thus, looking after a small office space costs businesses $500/month or more, depending on the area.
With COVID restrictions in place, most offices don’t reach full capacity but still require upkeep. That’s why switching to a virtual office is a cost-cutting opportunity for business owners, enabling them to stop holding on to their leases.
2. More customizable than a physical office
In a physical space, creative freedom is limited — there’s only as much you can do without tearing down the walls.
On the other hand, a virtual office space layout can be as creative as you want it to be. For some inspiration, take a look at our post covering creative virtual office space ideas (a garden, a castaway island, and so on).
3. Gives an immediate connection to the entire team
A virtual office gives managers a bird’s eye view of their team and makes it easy to approach anyone, anytime.
4. Has more tools than a traditional video conferencing tool
A virtual office space offers remote teams a lot more interactive freedom than traditional video conferencing tools. You can move around between spaces, access embedded content, and interact with objects. Also, virtual office platforms have a better-developed chat system, with easy tagging and reactions.
5. Helps manage large remote teams (different floors, etc.)
Organizing large-scale remote teams inclusively requires extra work from managers. Just to have enough visibility of the team, leaders have to schedule regular meetings, micromanage their peers in Slack, and use complex project management platforms.
Virtual offices offer an excellent organizational hub for large teams. You can put different departments or headquarters from different regions (APAC, EMEA, and so on) on separate floors and come there as soon as you need extra insight.
6. Improves “management by wandering”
In an in-person meeting, a lot of a manager’s work is incessant situational awareness: walking around the space, watching the teamwork without interfering unless necessary. In a virtual office, team leaders can stay true to “management by wandering” as they casually tune into discussions or as much as see teams building something and initiating discussions.
This way, virtual office adds to transparency that is often missing among remote teams.
7. Less intrusive than 8-hour long video conferencing
It’s not uncommon for remote team leaders to want to oversee employees via webcams throughout the workday. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that teams are not fond of such an Orwell novel scenario.
To that end, virtual offices are a better, non-intrusive solution since they don’t require employees to stay glued to the camera for eight hours straight.
8. Different types of interactions
Virtual offices are less monotonous than traditional conferencing platforms because they give users a variety of interactions: video calls, audio-only chatting in a dynamic environment (“walk and talk”), chat messages, and even interactive reactions (claps, drumroll, and so on).
9. Allow hosting large events
Virtual offices make inviting large groups of people and engaging with guests easier. You can clearly see everyone in the venue and talk to attendees one-on-one. Also, the variety of spaces and activities make these tools fitting to remote events.
10. Add gamification and playfulness to work
In a sense, virtual offices feel similar to video games like Second Life or Sims. Thus, they help teams dilute the monotony of remote work, that often feels repetitive and no fun.
11. Make networking between teams easier
Traditional remote work often creates a disconnect between in-house departments. For security reasons, team leaders limit access to chats and tools, making it difficult for employees to track updates across the organization and connect with each other.
With virtual offices, connecting with people from different teams is as easy as changing virtual floors and the interaction itself is richer — you can just walk by and ask a question.
12. Increase a sense of organizational unity
Being able to catch up with the entire team and share a workplace (even if not physical) improves the sense of belonging within the team and contributes to higher employee retention.
13. Help remote employees deal with isolation
According to research, remote work takes an often overlooked toll on employees’ mental health. Introducing your team to a virtual office helps fight isolation since there are more ways to interact with teammates and have casual discussions.
14. Connect remote and office teams in hybrid workplaces
The disconnect between remote and in-person teams is one of the most impactful concerns managers have about embracing hybrid work. Virtual offices help bridge the gap between the two, as they can become a place where both in-office and remote employees interact and share updates.
15. One place for all meetings and discussions
With its increased customization and flexibility, a virtual office is adaptable to all types of office meetings: scrums, 1-on-1s, conference calls, large presentations, and casual breakout chats.
16. Time savings compared to a physical office
Working in a virtual office instead of a physical space saves teams commute-related time, maximizing productivity and job satisfaction. Besides, navigating the office space is a lot faster than walking between desks or taking the elevator to a different floor in a physical space.
17. Seamless activity monitoring
Virtual office platforms like oVice offer visit logs to help managers keep track of their team’s working hours.
18. Easy to move between areas
Thanks to map-like features, navigating larger spaces is a one-click task.
19. 24/7 availability
Unlike a physical space, a virtual office is open 24/7 which makes it easily adaptable to different working styles on remote teams.
20. Customizable avatars
In a virtual office, people get to choose how others see them by setting an avatar that represents them: a picture, a spirit animal, or a fictional character.
21. Instant video conferencing
Unlike traditional video conferencing tools, virtual office platforms don’t require hosts to share invitations. Instead, everyone who is at the office space at the moment can join spontaneously. This makes meetings as natural as in-person interactions are and saves remote teams extra time.
22. New participants can instantly jump on the call
Conference calls in a virtual office space don’t require a set guest list: teammates can join spontaneously if they have as much as a few free minutes. The ease of conferencing makes it thus easier for managers to get quick status updates from teammates.
23. People can have several conversations running simultaneously
In traditional video conferencing platforms, switching between calls is difficult as you can not run several meetings simultaneously. In a virtual office space, it’s easy to quickly alternate between discussions and jump in whenever your input is needed.
24. Simultaneous screen sharing
Virtual office platforms like oVice allow several meeting participants to present their screens simultaneously. That beats traditional video conferencing platforms where a single screen can be presented at a time.
25. Easy to host video presentations for large groups
Virtual office platforms don’t have a limit on the number of participants who can join audio or video conferences.
26. People can give feedback on the presentation with interactive reactions
Virtual office platforms give video conference hosts an immersive way to connect with viewers through a range of interactive reactions.
Getting a round of applause after the end of your presentation or asking people to clap if they had heard of a company or the offer are simple but effective ways to connect with the audience.
27. Integrations with video conferencing tools
Virtual office tools can be integrated with traditional video conferencing platforms to give employees an opportunity to use tools and interfaces they are familiar with.
Employee onboarding and team building
28. Help present the company to job seekers
Inviting interview candidates to a virtual office gives them more context about the company compared to a generic video call link.
29. Give new hires a sense of belonging
Even by exploring the office space, new hires can build an impression of the company they are joining. Taking a tour around the office is customary practice in physical offices. The virtual office helps preserve this practice by giving new employees a way to “glide” into the new workplace.
30. It’s easy to connect with mentors and teammates
Virtual office spares new employees the need to present themselves via Slack or other collaboration tools. Instead, they can walk up to teammates directly, connect with them, and ask questions.
31. New hires can seamlessly join meetings and discussions
Virtual offices give new talent a way to learn their way around in full autonomy — they can participate in meetings without having to ask for an invite and casually join discussions.
32. Increased visibility of the new hire
As soon as they enter a virtual office, everyone in the organization can see new hires moving around and working on their projects. Thus, it’s harder for talent to be unnoticed by the rest of the team.
33. HR managers can create customized onboarding and training areas to make new hires feel welcome
Virtual offices enable faster employee integration since they give talent managers the freedom of creating custom areas designated for onboarding and training sessions.
34. Easy to host team-building events
To build stronger relationships within the team, talent managers can host regular team-building events in a customized venue.
35. Teammates can easily chat in groups
Virtual office platforms like oVice create an immersive social experience through spatial audio — range-based audio transmission. Basically, it means that only people within the range of the conversation will hear what is being said while everyone else can stay focused on their work.
This gives employees room for causal chat without worrying about distracting the rest of the office or flooding corporate chats.
36. Flexible invite list
As is the case for video conferencing, hosting get-togethers in a virtual office space is flexible since everyone can join and leave at their convenience without disturbing the flow of the event.
37. Ability to design creative event venues
Virtual office space platforms can be designed as themed spaces to match the vibe of holiday get-togethers, themed parties, and specialized industry events.
38. Variety of areas for all types of activities
The organizing team can divide the layout into zones and areas: a speaker stage, a lounge room, a DJ zone, stands with promotional materials, a food court, and more.
39. The ability to host multiple presentations simultaneously
Virtual office platforms allow hosting events with multiple speaker sessions running simultaneously. What’s more, switching between talks is as easy and intuitive as moving to different areas of the venue.
40. Built-in social media streaming
Top-tier virtual space platforms allow streaming remote events via social media platforms like Youtube.
41. Room for 1-on-1 interaction with guests
Hosting events in a virtual office space gives hosts more room for engagement with the audience. It’s enough to walk up to a guest and start a casual conversation to learn more about their impression of the event, feedback, and questions.
42. Objects like announcement boards help organize the event
Virtual space tools make navigating event venues easier as hosts can name different sections, place boards with announcements around the space, or customize the layout for easier orientation (placing arrows on the floors and walls and so on).
43. The opportunity to chat with clients after the event is over
In most online events, there’s no way for hosts and attendees to catch up and answer questions once the event is over: guests simply leave the meeting room and the interaction ends abruptly.
In that sense, virtual offices come closer to real-life experiences allowing the organizing team to connect with participants or guests to catch up with each other long after the event is over.
44. Single space for all events
Another benefit of virtual office spaces is that they allow companies to host regular virtual events in the same venue. Thus, there’s no need to rebuild the infrastructure for every conference.
45. More room for interacting with sponsors
Virtual event spaces give hosts more opportunities for engaging sponsors. For one, since they can reach global audiences, there’s a wider pool of companies interested in extra exposure.
Also, platforms like oVice make incorporating the branding elements of key sponsors into the layout easier, giving partners more visibility.
46. Customized lounge space for client meetings
Virtual office spaces give business owners an opportunity to create a branded virtual lounge space for connecting with prospects, clients, partners, or investors.
47. Easy to connect with customers all over the world
Unlike in-person offices, a virtual lobby will be accessible all over the world. To make sure clients from different regions are comfortable navigating the space, layout designers can incorporate translations into the layout.
48. Opportunities to chat with multiple clients simultaneously
A virtual lobby for clients makes it easy to greet everyone who comes in without having to spend extra time on time-consuming video calls.
49. A possibility to have clients, investors, and partners meet the entire team
Coming to the team’s virtual office seamlessly introduces prospects, clients, or investors to everyone who works there. On top of that, seamless video conferencing makes it easier for teammates to casually join discussions.
50. More interactive and engaging than traditional meetings
Whereas in a video conference, founders have to focus on making pitch decks as engaging as possible to not bore prospects or investors, a virtual office adds an extra layer of interactivity — you can take a visitor on a tour around the space as you present the company.
To explore these and other benefits of virtual offices, take a look at our list of top 15 virtual office platforms. Besides, you can set up a virtual office with oVice — a virtual office space provider empowering over 2,000 large-scale companies all over the world. To see our spaces, take a tour!