The future of remote work is coming, and there's reason to be excited.
Until now, virtual office software has been limited to typical communication tools, such as always-on video conferencing, messaging apps, and collaboration platforms. As remote work becomes the norm for many companies, the technology to support it is becoming increasingly innovative.
In this article, we'll discuss the shortcomings of the existing software, as well as what is coming in virtual office software and how that technology will exponentially improve the quality of distributed work.
Virtual Office Software: The Future of Distributed Work
Currently, teams are already using an array of digital tools to create more collaborative work experiences. But, as remote work evolves, so do the wants and needs of many distributed organizations who rely on the success of their remote workers.
One example of innovation in remote office software is virtual reality. Already, industries worldwide are experimenting with the capabilities. OxfordVR, for instance, builds VR experiences for therapy, which provides immersive cognitive treatment programs. Toyota uses Oculus Rift to educate customers about the dangers of distracted driving.
For remote teams, this type of virtual office software will be a game changer. With immersive meetings and conferences, teams can truly connect and collaborate.
Let's examine where we are now and how more virtual experiences will transform the landscape of distributed work.
The Top 6 Virtual Office Software
One of the most critical components for remote work is securing a virtual HQ. In lieu of physical office space, a virtual HQ acts as the primary location for updates, conversations, and announcements.
The most popular virtual office software and team communication tools used as virtual HQs include:
Many of these tools are more than suitable for day-to-day correspondence. However, with mere text, audio, and video functionality, remote teams are limited in how they can collaborate and connect. As a result, the needs of distributed teams are rapidly changing.
What's Coming Next
In the future, teams will have access to technology that makes remote work more immersive. It will break down the barriers of remote work, such as social isolation, challenges with assessing tone, and communication gaps. Virtual office software that leverages virtual reality will provide even more capabilities, connecting teams from around the world in a space specifically designed to foster better communication.
In-World Experiences That Block Out Distractions
Remote work gives employees the flexibility to work from anywhere. An employee can plug-in from a home office, a coffee shop, or a co-working space. However, similar to a physical office, all of these locations have their distractions.
Hilton, Nestle Purina, and Ford are building shared knowledge and increasing efficiencies with Oculus.
The garbage truck makes noise outside. Someone knocks on your front door. At home, it’s difficult to filter out day-to-day noise. The virtual reality technology that’s coming will help block out those distractions. You can log into a virtual office space with your distributed team, where you can hold meetings, brainstorm, and sit side-by-side with full-spatial audio and robust graphics.
Global Virtual Networking
One of the advantages of a co-working space is networking. You can connect and brush elbows with other people you may have never crossed paths with naturally. However, one of the disadvantages is that co-working spaces are notoriously expensive. Often, you’ll experience the same challenges as in-office work, with too much noise and too many distractions.
Using virtual office software, you can achieve the same environment as a co-working space, minus the friction. You can source the best talent and reach people all over the world without leaving your house.
The Opportunity To Fully Express Yourself
Remote work is appealing to a lot of introverts, and it's easy to see why. You can be alone and recharge throughout the day. It's not as emotionally taxing as being in an office. For more reserved people, this also comes with a challenge. When you work remotely, and you're already pretty reserved, it can be difficult to bond with co-workers or fully express yourself.
Tiffany Lam discusses how virtual reality improves memory, retention, and empathy.
Here's where some of the features of virtual reality, again, come into play. You can create your own avatar that represents your likeness. Then, you can use an avatar during meetings and conferences instead of having a camera in your face. When you need to, you can be alone, and when you need to talk to a co-worker, you can approach them virtually.
There's less pressure, as interactions will not be as forced, and conversation will feel much more organic. For extroverts, this is beneficial, as well. There's a noticeable difference between socializing from behind a camera versus using an avatar.
Exclusive Events And Workshops
Often, due to budget or location, remote workers miss out on events, workshops, and conferences. In virtual offices of the future, these events can be brought to you. You can log-on and listen to exclusive speakers at virtual based conferences, attend virtual events with other remote workers, and brush up on new skills without leaving your home office.
The Future Of Virtual Office Software Is Almost Here
With the recent advancements in virtual reality, it's only a matter of time until the remote workforce can reap the benefits. We're working on a tool that uses virtual reality to connect teams, which will make many of the existing virtual office software obsolete.