During the pandemic, a lot of teams switched to remotely-only work. For some, the transition has been successful – for others, creativity and organizational culture took a hit. As the world is coming back to normal, executives bet on hybrid work – a mix of remote and in-office work.
In theory, this approach helps managers connect with teams and have space for creativity while committing to autonomy and flexibility.
Practically, as more companies adopt the hybrid work model, its challenges resurface: disconnect between remote and in-office employees, friction between executives and employees (who want to work remotely as much as possible), and the inability to accommodate a growing number of international teams created during the pandemic.
New collaboration tools for business are needed to bridge the gap between office and remote workplaces – virtual office platforms are among the most promising solutions.
Virtual office platforms: definition?
The pandemic gave rise to numerous hybrid work software that streamlined video conferencing, project management, and collaboration. However, they haven’t successfully replicated the benefits of office dynamics – seamless communication, and the ability to see and work side-by-side with the entire team (without necessarily interacting).
The key selling points of physical offices – peer pressure created by working alongside teammates and seamless leadership (“management by wandering”) – were lost in a digital-first environment.
The minds behind virtual office platforms like Vice spotted the problem and created tools that committed to bringing office interactions – casual chatting, walking up to a teammate’s desk for a quick question, gathering as a team in a shared space – to the digital world. These tools help leaders improve efficiency, productivity, and team management through:
- Custom office spaces that match the type, spirit, and organizational goals of the workplace.
- Spontaneous, low-effort interactions that remove the pressure of scheduling and back-and-forth conference call confirmations.
- A common space for work, collaboration, and team-building where employees can connect across departments or branch offices.
- A platform for seamless employee onboarding that helps integrate new hires into the organization.
Choosing a virtual office platform: top tools for hybrid teams
In this post, we will review the top virtual office platforms that keep hybrid teams linked, engaged, and productive.
Released in 2020, oVice quickly became a phenomenon in its home country, Japan. In the few weeks following the release of the platforms, hundreds of executives were setting up virtual spaces to relieve the burden of the pandemic. The platform quickly attracted investor attention, raising over $18 million in venture capital.
At the moment, oVice supports over 2,200 remote and hybrid organizations worldwide. It gives leaders a flexible platform for team management and collaboration.
The platform has the look and feel of office space – you can casually approach teammates, hear their voices get louder as you come closer and die down as you move away – while giving teammates room for focused, uninterrupted work.
- Intuitive, avatar-based navigation
- Wide library of customizable layouts and the ability to create original designs
- Streamlined video conferencing with simultaneous screen sharing
- Multi-store offices that connect all teams within organizations.
2. Spatial Chat
Spatial Chat is a virtual office platform that unites hybrid teams for brainstorming, video conferencing, scrums, and other collaborative activities.
The tool facilitates video conferencing, supports simultaneous screen sharing, and allows teams to instantly share knowledge, ideas, or media assets (images, audio, video).
- Virtual office and event spaces
- Built-in audio and video conferencing
- Easy-to-use chat
- Organization-wide broadcasting for industry events
Sococ’s mission statement is to connect distributed teams in shared virtual office spaces. The platform introduces a stripped, easy-to-navigate interface that gives leaders a full view of everyone in the space.
Sococo helps managers structure workflows and seamlessly oversee processes by gathering at custom office spaces, divided into separate areas.
- Instant audio interactions
- Quick video calls
- Multiple screen sharing
- Spaces are divided into areas for all departments and uses
Teamflow is a collaboration-focused virtual office platform. It drives brainstorming sessions and meaningful discussions with a built-in whiteboard, a collaborative editor, and areas for all meeting types – from private 1-on-1s to group conference calls. The platform allows connecting spontaneously or scheduling meetings in advance for more organizational structure.
- Customizable furniture and office space background
- Conference rooms and private meeting areas
- Built-in chat
- Easy-to-navigate meeting scheduler
5. Kosy Office
Kosy office gives remote and hybrid teams a platform for side-by-side co-working, sharing status updates, and seamless collaboration.
platform’s unique “small video” feature allows spontaneously chatting with someone and being able to read their facial cues while reducing the meeting fatigue of “full-screen” video conferencing.
- Customizable office spaces
- Spontaneous audio and video communication
- Reduced meeting fatigue with a small camera tab
- Spaces for group brainstorming sessions and 1-on-1s.
Spot creates virtual photorealistic offices that help hybrid teams feel connected in a building resembling their physical headquarters.
The platform comes with a range of stylish 3D designs that add a gamified look and feel and help increase employee engagement and reduce communication friction.
- Ability to design office spaces from scratch or choose a premade template
- Detailed teammate profiles help keep track of status updates
- VIrtual venues for industry events
- Interactive elements within office spaces
7. Walkabout Workplace
Walkabout Workplace offers a unified hub for hybrid teams with custom branded virtual offices. The platform gives a real-life look an feel to virtual communication with spontaneous audio calling and HD video calls that increase the feeling of presence.
Walkabout Workplace comes with a robust chat infrastructure, allowing users to communicate in channels, and exchange public and private messages.
- Custom spaces and floor plans
- High conference room capacity (up to 50 participants)
- Built-in file sharing and document storage
- High audio and video quality
Set up a virtual office space to connect hybrid teams
The benefits of virtual offices for team leaders are out in the open – improved engagement, retention, and streamlined processes. However, our experience at oVice shows that the best way to see how your team can benefit from virtual office space is to give the concept a try.
At oVice, setting up an office space takes a few clicks and is free for 14 days. If you want to see the virtual space where our team works and talk to oVice employees – take a tour. As an international team, we are there to answer your questions 24/7.