Remote work is ubiquitous in the workplace today. What happens if we take it one step further? Virtual offices. I’ve been long excited about this growing trend of Virtual HQ and whether it’s during pandemic or post-pandemic, I am confident that virtual offices are here to stay.
Virtual office is a superior platform — it enables companies to work with talents across different geographies (making it a critical component for any company out there trying to hire the best talents around the world). While remote work has been proven to be efficient for employees in various industries, existing remote work tools lack spontaneity and fluidity, resulting in less creativity. Virtual offices allow individuals to build trust and foster genuine relationships. From employee onboarding and training, company town hall to sales meetings, almost every meeting we used to host in-person in physical offices can now be done in virtual offices.
For the last 12+months, I’ve been living in the world of Slack, Zoom, and Google Meet. If not for those, I don’t know how I would have survived through working remotely in this bazaar covid era. But I did find myself with significantly fewer opportunities to bond and engage in casual conversations with my colleagues. On top of video calling and messaging, what I really needed was one place where I can instantly hop on a chat, ask a question, get an instant reply, jumpstraight into discussions and brainstorming without having to schedule a call, create a call link, copy-paste to share the link and so on and so forth.
Remote work 1.0 = Google Docs, Slack
Remote work 2.0 = Zoom, Google Meet
Remote work 3.0 = oVice, Gather
Remote work is here to stay and there is a growing demand for new tools that empower employees to collaborate more efficiently and productively. Virtual offices increase transparency across an organisation and enhance company culture in a virtual setting.
This is why I was so excited to meet Sae Hyung and learn about what his team was building at oVice. oVice offers virtual offices that are replicas of physical office experiences but better. With oVice, employees can video chat with a single click, collaborate (eg. open Google docs, whiteboards, Figma) and effortlessly join in and out of watercooler conversations. These functions enable employees to build relationships and trust as they then have visibility on who is working on what, understand what’s happening on the other side of the team. In addition, you can decorate your virtual office with wonderful designs that might not have been available for your physical office.
Of course, more people will return to physical offices after the pandemic but the way we work will be a more robust mix of virtual and physical spaces. This is why oVice focuses on optimising hybrid communication (online+offline/virtual+physical). They are currently working on a 360-degree camera that can be integrated into virtual offices (oVice) to enable seamless communication with physical offices.
Companies like En-Japan, Dentsu, and Itochu use oVice to build their virtual offices. And the list of companies goes on in multiple geographies. Some of them realised their employees’ productivity and satisfaction increased working at oVice so they got rid of their physical offices, saving tons of rent.
As an investor, I get excited about founders first and foremost. And Sae Hyung immediately impressed me with his experience, passion to create a more productive environment, and his vision for how oVice could disrupt the global office real estate market. Sae Hyung is an engineer himself and one of the things he focuses on is the basics, to offer absolutely amazing sound quality (if you have been living on Zoom like me, you will know how important this is).
If you’re at a company that values transparency, inclusion, creativity, and collaboration, come and check out oVice. I’m thrilled to partner with them on their journey. And yes, oVice is hiring.