The concept of virtual coworking quickly grew when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020. Many companies were thrust into working remotely, but still wanted a way to feel like collaboration among teams was happening.
And as the world goes back to some normalcy, many companies have stayed remote or moved to a hybrid work schedule. This also has created a surge of coworking spaces, which can be great options for collaboration or workers wanting to get out of the house.
However, shared coworking offices can be expensive and not everyone is located near the same cities as their coworkers. Hence the concept of virtual coworking.
Use this article as your simple guide to all things virtual coworking and discover the best virtual coworking platforms to help you build a community and improve collaboration. Let’s dive in!
What Is Virtual Coworking?
Virtual coworking is a way teams can work together and feel like a connected community, but it’s all through a digital space that looks and feels like you are in a physical office.
These virtual office spaces can have custom floor plans with desks, meeting rooms, online events, virtual retreats, and more. And typically, your company can set this up to include other features like chat, video messaging, screen sharing, and other collaboration options.
Benefits of Virtual Coworking
For many that are new to remote work or even those who have been working from home for years, sometimes you can feel a bit lonely and disconnected.
It’s much easier to feel siloed from coworkers and your team when everyone is distributed in different locations. And it’s a common downside from the data that exists around remote workers.
One statistic of 2,000 people surveyed, found 67% of workers aged 18-34 stated that since working remotely, they have found it harder to make friends and maintain relationships with work colleagues.
Does that mean remote work is doomed? Of course not, thanks to ways to improve the remote work experience, like virtual coworking spaces.
Helps build a work community.
Often in remote work, employees can feel like outsiders to their organization and that they do not know much about their teams.
Virtual coworking spaces can help individuals get to know coworkers and leadership, and attend events or schedule virtual coffee breaks much easier.
Improves comradery among coworkers.
Besides building a company-wide community, virtual coworking can help coworkers build friendships and trust among each other.
By utilizing these spaces, employees can have 1:1 breakout work sessions, easily chat or video message others, and work on projects together even if they are located in completely different locations.
These digital work environments make it easy to organize and host social online events, which allows remote workers to have that team-building experience.
Enables better team productivity.
While it’s been shown that productivity improves with remote work, not everyone feels as productive compared to being in the office. But enabling virtual coworking can help bring that office vibe back and add a layer of accountability to each person.
For example, it’s easy to find virtual meetings to join, to share projects you are working on, and keep the team aligned on their work.
So you want to ensure if you choose a virtual coworking platform, it has the features you need for productivity.
Best Virtual Coworking Spaces and Platforms
You might be wondering how to set up virtual coworking for yourself or your company. Luckily, you don’t need a collection of tools or a manual process. Instead, you can utilize one of the few different virtual coworking platforms and apps.
|Virtual Coworking Platform||About|
|Workfrom||You can host a virtual cafe session for your team or build a metaverse for your community, bringing everyone together. Custom designs, private or public options, etc.|
|Focusmate||Build your working schedule, launch video sessions, and work together or even quietly for better accountability. Great for freelancers, consultants, or partners working on something.|
|Remo||Create better virtual experiences and events. Remo has plenty of digital office layouts as well as collaborative features and integrations.|
|deskMy||deskMy can be opened from any device and you have all your teammates and apps in the same place, no matter where everyone is physically located.|
|Bramble||With Bramble, you can create a virtual headquarters, and host conferences and conventions, or other events.|
|Sococo||Create your online workplace or classroom to work together and improved productivity from anywhere in the world. Voice, video, chat, screen share, and more.|
|Virtual Office||Design your virtual office to hang out, collaborate, and host meetings. For hybrid teams, fully remote teams, and coaches or consultants.|
|Flow Club||Co-working sessions to help you manage productivity when working remotely. It’s all about community and accountability.|
|NextGen Virtual Office||Custom digital offices for remote teams and schools with real-time in-office status, secure video conferencing, chat, and more.|
|Grapevine||Create virtual event rooms, virtual workspaces, or gathering rooms for friends and family to stay connected.|
|Kosy Office||Kosy is a virtual office for remote teams to better enable collaboration and productivity. Create a virtual headquarters, host office hours or interviews, host social events, and more.|
|Knock||Easily see, talk, share and work in real-time with your distributed team.|
|Teemyco||Create a custom virtual office space with branding and unique experiences to get your team more productive.|
Best Free Virtual Coworking Spaces
If you aren’t ready to commit to a virtual coworking plan quite yet, then some platforms offer a free version to test out. You can always upgrade later as your team grows or you are ready for a bigger commitment.
A bunch from our list above are free, but here are a few of the best free versions to give a test run or if you are a very small start-up team.
- Bramble: Offers a free version of their virtual spaces for up to 10 people at a time and some of their basic product features.
- DeskMy: With this platform, you can visually have all your teammates and apps in the same place, no matter where anyone is working. You can use it for free with up 5 concurrent users along with some of the product features.
- Focusmate: More for work accountability and working as a freelancer or digital nomad, you’ll get three free coworking sessions per week. And you can upgrade to more and additional features as needed.
Virtual Coworking Platform Features to Consider
Now that you have a list of virtual coworking tools, you might be a bit overwhelmed currently.
That’s okay! Remote work can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never worked this way or built a distributed company or team.
If you are new to virtual coworking spaces, then you might be wondering how you know what’s best for you. Beyond the pricing, you’ll want to look at features and how intuitive it is to use.
Here are a few things to consider as you explore different tools. Use these questions as a starting place and checklist. However, you may have further questions to confirm your needs.
- Does the product offer good collaborative features like chat, screen share, and video?
- Are there customizable virtual conference rooms that make meetings more engaging?
- Does the platform offer a virtual desk space experience for each remote worker?
- What security features are capable to ensure data and privacy is secure?
- Is there a virtual mailbox option to customize the appearance of a physical address?
- Can you connect other technologies you have to the virtual coworking space?
Think about the needs of the company and ask your coworkers what would help them better work virtually. Then use that list, along with your budget to make a decision on the platform that suits everyone’s needs.
The good news for remote employees today is that there are options to still feel connected and engaged with your coworkers.
And it’s why your organization may want to consider enabling a virtual coworking space and using a platform to streamline it all.
While there are many benefits to regular coworking spaces, this might not be the best option for you or your company. Plus, you may find in-person spaces noisy or a bit distracting from actual work.
This is exactly why virtual coworking exists today!
And as technology and virtual reality improve, I think you’ll continue to see advancement in these platforms to better enable digital workspaces among remote employees.