What is a virtual office?
Wikipedia describes a virtual office as being ‘part of the flexible workspace industry that provides businesses with any combination of services, space and/ or technology, without those businesses bearing the capital expenses of owning or leasing a traditional office. In other words, it means mimicking an office through a virtual office software without the ‘physical’ office.’
A virtual office enables collaboration between remote teams, similar to in-person collaboration that happens in a physical office space, required for effective functioning of a business. It replicates the interactions that take place in a physical office via virtual means.
What are the kinds of collaboration tools offered?
Imagine that you are working in a physical office. You arrive at the office at 9:00am and start having a conversation with your team members. The stand-up call is scheduled at 9:30am. For taking this call, you and your team members gather in a silent room. Your manager is working remotely and thus you connect with him/ her either via a conference call system or a video conferencing tool. You need to be ready with this set-up before the standup call begins. This is for a single person working remotely. Now imagine that more than 50% of your team works remotely. Would this arrangement be convenient for everyone in the team? I guess not 😔 This is where virtual officeware kicks in and serves the purpose!
Stand up is just one of the many meetings that take place during the day. There are multiple formal and informal conversations that happen throughout a given day. An in-house team in an office environment has water cooler chats, team lunches, quick team announcements, tap-on-shoulder doubt resolution, etc. which are difficult to imitate in a remote setting.
Virtual office aims to give you all those things as features of a single product including:
- Video conference
- Water cooler chats
- Synchronous communication
- Co-working using visual collaboration options such as screen shares, whiteboards, web-app control etc.
Why and how to setup a virtual office?
One of the greatest benefits of setting up a virtual office is the cost savings achieved which would otherwise be spent on setting up a capital intensive physical office space. The second benefit would be that companies having virtual offices can attract a diverse talent pool. Also, such a set up is suitable for any team size - large or small. Tools such as Tandem and Pragli are great solutions for your virtual office software needs and are extremely easy to setup.
Alternatively, there are organizations who try to create a virtual office space by setting up different tools for individual activities. If you prefer to use separate tools and services for collaboration, you can check out our handpicked list from individual categories as below:
- Visual collaboration
- Team chat apps
- Code Collaboration Tools
- Mail Communication tools
- Idea Management tools
- Design collaboration tools
- Document Collaboration Tools
- Interactive whiteboard tools
- Video conferencing apps
We've listed some of the best virtual office software available here. Do check it out: