Virtual coworking spaces: What are they and why do they matter?

Did you know that the origins of coworking spaces lie in a ‘hackerspace’ set up in Berlin in 1995?

Known as C-Base, this was a collaborative space for computer enthusiasts to learn, work, and share information and resources.  

But the term ‘coworking’ was only introduced four years later by a game designer from the US,  Bernard de Koven, although with a different idea in mind compared to coworking in present times. 

Today, as technology continues to advance, propelled by the pandemic, the way we work has transformed drastically. 

From telecommuting to remote work, virtual offices to coworking spaces, the way we perform our jobs is changing.

But what exactly is a virtual coworking space? Is it just a place where people meet up online to work from home? Or is there more to it than that?

What is a Virtual Coworking Space?

A virtual coworking space is a shared simulated office environment that allows people to work remotely from home or anywhere with internet access.

Virtual coworking spaces allow people to collaborate, socialize, and share ideas online while being physically apart. It provides a way for people to work remotely and still be part of a team. It creates an online environment that is social and connected. 

It’s like having your own office with access to your colleagues but without the hassle of commuting to work every day. Or, if you’re a freelancer, you can meet up remotely with others working from home. 

Why do virtual coworking spaces matter? 

The main benefit of virtual coworking spaces is social interaction. Working from home is isolating and takes a toll on everyone’s mental health. A virtual coworking space helps combat this by giving people the opportunity to connect and build relationships remotely.

Let’s take a look at other key benefits of a virtual coworking space:

1. People can work from anywhere

Virtual coworking spaces mean that people can work and connect with colleagues from literally anywhere — home, a coffee shop, a library, or even a flight (that is, if you’re willing to shell out a huge sum for the in-flight Wifi). 

This offers flexible work opportunities for employees as well as means that they can easily collaborate with people across the globe. 

2. Improved productivity 

Working away from the office doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice productivity.

In post-pandemic America, the trend of working from home will boost productivity by 5%, according to Bloomberg.

And virtual coworking spaces provide the relationship-building experience of a traditional office environment while eliminating distractions arising from workplace drama. You can also log out from a virtual office space if you need some time to yourself.

3. Cuts down on costs for both employees and the organization

Commuting to work can be stressful and exhausting, especially when you live far away from your workplace. Virtual coworking spaces put an end to the time and costs of commuting as well as help reduce carbon emissions. 

There’s no need to rent out a physical office for organizations and pay for associated costs such as water, electricity, insurance, and equipment.

How to choose the right virtual coworking space for your organization?

Here are four key factors to consider: 

  1. Cost/Value Ratio: How much does it cost per month? In addition, how much value does it deliver? You should ensure that the amount of time spent working in the space balances against the cost of using it.
  2. Organizational needs: Can the space meet your organizational requirements? Does the platform provide all the features, tools, and integrations that your business will need?
  3. Support: Does the virtual coworking space offer 24/7 technical support? Is it included in the overall price, or do you have to pay extra for the service? How responsive is the support team?
  4. Feedback: Read reviews on trusted platforms such as G2 or Capterra. That’ll help you see what other business owners are saying and enable you to make the right decision.  

Best Ways to Make a Virtual Coworking Space Effective for your Organization

4. Provide a comfortable environment

A virtual coworking space must be comfortable enough to encourage teamwork and socialization without distracting employees from their primary responsibilities. 

5. Promote a culture of collaboration

A collaborative culture is necessary to ensure that workers are open to sharing ideas. Collaboration increases worker satisfaction and productivity.

For instance, teams can use a shared calendar to communicate important deadlines and events. They can encourage communication between departments by facilitating open discussions and brainstorming sessions.

6. Choose the right space

This is an oft-forgotten yet crucial consideration. Some virtual coworking spaces focus on collaboration, while others focus on productivity. Determine which features are most important to your organization and choose a space accordingly. 

7. Establish clear expectations and provide training

Establish clear expectations regarding the type of work that will occur in your virtual coworking space. Provide training to your members so they know how to use the platform effectively. 

8. Organize events to foster a sense of community

Simulate the socialization aspect of a physical office space. The virtual space layout can mimic a traditional office with virtual desks, game rooms, conference rooms, among others. Make sure to schedule virtual coffee breaks, online webinars, and virtual events. Organize monthly meet-ups in each city. 

What does the future contain?

Virtual coworking spaces are bound to grow leaps and bounds. They offer a flexible solution for remote workers who want to collaborate from home but don’t want to sacrifice the social aspect of working in a shared office environment.

Ready to get started?

Want to see how a virtual coworking space works without the hassle of paying for a trial? 

Take Orbital for a spin! 


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