If you worked in a physical office before you know how things go - kitchen conversations, corridor conversation, elevator conversations and so on are vital components of a company's culture. They bring people together in unexpected ways and as a result can spark moments of creativity and problem solving that a normal meeting just didn't. It's called the watercooler moment and unfortunately, moving your company to full remote mode makes you lose a big chunk of it. Eventually, company members are growing further apart and are losing the sense of community that is an important result of having a physical space.
Fortunately, whenever there is a problem, there is a solution. Inspired by technologies used in gaming and mixing them up with classical video conferencing we have built an interactive solution that will bring back the watercooler moment and improve your team's flow.
With flat.social you can build a virtual space (called a flat - because it's flat and 2-dimensional, no VR goggles required) that can act as a physical layer on top of your existing stack of remote working tools like Slack, Jira etc. The guests of this physical space can move around freely and speak with others that are in their proximity. This allows for more serendipitous and casual conversations when put in comparison with tools like ZOOM where all of the participants are chained to a grid of squares and it's pretty hard to facilitate large cocktail-party like events.
So, what are the benefits of having a virtual office?
Enable more frequent casual communication. With flat.social you can build a virtual office that will be always-open for any of the team members that currently feel like interacting. Maybe it's a lunch break, a couple free minutes or a scheduled social event. Just like a physical office - it's always there ready for both scheduled and impromptu conversations that spark creativity and joy. Meetings are a playful event, not another chore that has been added to one's calendar.
Foster serendipitous collaboration. It's a virtual space but has all the collaboration features like a normal whiteboard app would have. Guests can draw, add pictures, emit reactions and so much more. It's all about fun because the most creative moments happen exactly when participants are embedded in a playful collaborative space where they can explore ideas, create new connections and brainstorm freely. Since it's an always-open space, they can join and leave at any moment.
Stop the siloying & increase communication between different teams. Meeting with members of other teams is hard when working remotely and leads to teams siloying and communicating only with people that they directly work with. This is especially bad for larger organisations where this phenomenon can hurt communication and crucial information flow.
A study, run on more than more than 61,000 Microsoft employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, found a significant decrease in collaboration between teams, causing employee networks to become “static and siloed, with fewer bridges between the disparate parts.” (study link)
Having a virtual office that's available to everyone in the organisation is a great way to aid this problem and enable participants to meet in an unscheduled and casual environment where they can connect with each other even if they don't work together directly in a day to day routine.
Reduce zoom fatigue and disengagement. Using flat.social as a virtual office allows everyone to participate in the meetings equally. If you'd like to speak with someone, simply fly up. Not liking the conversation? Fly away!
It's what a cocktail party is to a business presentation. Online workers have been overwhelmed with meetings that required their passive attendance - webinars, business presentations and online calls that have been monopolised by one person and a small group while the rest progressively fall asleep in front of their screens. It doesn't have to be like this.
Improve employee happiness.
While we might have more time on our hands and get we more work done, over 50% of online workers feel isolated. The watercooler is gone and organising a static PowerPoint pub quizz is rather embarassing. Meeting with your colleagues became a chore, not an opportunity for bonding and social interaction.
Having an always-open virtual space where your team can hang out is a great way to foster social connections. Happy team is a productive team.
“I love by how interactive flat.social is!”
Rafal, organizer @ Creative Jobs