What if employees could return to the office without actually leaving the comfort of their homes? Virtual tech platform Teamflow is making it possible.
The employer-facing product intends to help organizations recreate an in-person culture in a remote world. Virtual offices — complete with cubicles, break rooms and conference rooms — are built to welcome employees’ avatars, encouraging workers to interact and collaborate with places and people as though it were a real physical space. (Think The Sims, but for work.)
“We all love remote work, but I think it’s become universally understood that it’s missing something,” says Flo Crivello, founder and CEO of Teamflow. “It has become harder to collaborate, harder to be social with people. The whole thing has become very formal and transactional.”
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With Teamflow, employees can revisit some of those long-lost habits that used to make days feel normal: stop by a colleague’s desk to ask a question or have a quick conversation without the ping of a Slack notification. Employees are encouraged to go to the virtual break room where they can hang out or have an impromptu co-working session. For more formal meetings, Teamflow enables team note-taking tools and shared views of documents to boost conversation and input.
“You do find yourself having a lot of interactions that simply wouldn’t happen otherwise,” Crivello says. “There is something very human about [things like] introducing yourself to colleagues or just saying hi. We recreate that human relationship with work, which is having all sorts of effects on productivity, on engagement, on employee retention and so on.”
Teamflow is also focused on solving for proximity bias, which is the idea that employees with closer physical proximity to their team and company leaders will be perceived as more valuable than their remote counterparts.
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“We’re offering the same modalities of collaboration to people who are remote as the people who are physically and centrally located,” he says. “And the impact is threefold — it’s gonna have an impact on retention, on [employee] development and on diversity.”
Platforms like Teamflow combine many of the digital tools many workplaces already embrace, like Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom. One easy-to-use interface ensures that, no matter employees’ circumstances, their inclusion and connectivity are prioritized.
“Nobody likes to feel like they’re being left behind,” he says. “[Neglected remote employees] are going to leave your company in favor of one where they don’t feel like they’re being left behind when the tools to help them grow get exposed to these decisions and these conversations that are happening in the office are available.”