The Virtual Watercooler – Connecting in a Virtual Office Space
Technology has made it very easy for us to work globally, which has a great number of advantages but sometimes we’re left feeling disconnected. Workers in the Virtual Workspace sometimes miss the connections that come with working in an office where there are co-workers in the office next door or several cubicles of co-workers.
One way that people are connecting is through the use of virtual offices. This isn’t really a new concept, it’s been around for a while. IBM has used the Second Life platform to hold meetings and do training since 2006 and I am sure that other companies have been using it and now there are companies developing online workspaces where you can rent an office in cyberspace.
How does it work? You log into the virtual office and you have an avatar who represents you in the virtual world. You can have voice chats, either in group settings or in a private office space (and it’s configured so that if you want to have a private chat, it is truly private). You can also leave messages for other virtual workers. Some folks actually spend the whole workday logged into their virtual office, where they are available to other employees who are logged in or can chat with clients who log in.
It can also be a great way to connect with clients. You can conduct a meeting in a virtual conference room, use video presentations, have a staff meeting or just get to connect in a way that feels more “face-to-face” than a Skype chat or a webinar.
This is also a really unique way to do onboarding and training. It’s much more personal than having someone read a training manual or watch videos and if you have a whole group of new hires, it helps foster connections so they don’t feel like the “lone new kid on the block”.
If you are seeking an innovative way to connect with colleagues, clients or new hires, check into using a virtual office space, have a chat around the virtual water cooler and enjoy the very REAL collaboration & connection.
Laura, Delegate Team Member