There’s a new option for working in the metaverse and this world will fit on your phone. Teamflow released the next generation of its virtual office software this week with a new mobile app and project rooms with privacy and collaboration tools built in.
Florent Crivello, founder and CEO of Teamflow, thinks work is the right place to start building the metaverse. Virtual offices give everyone a shared space and Teamflow 2.0 solves the problem of collaboration and productivity tools scattered across the departments.
“None of these tools were built for remote work and the switching back and forth is a big pain point,” he said.
Crivello sees Slack as a “proto-metaverse” that supports collaboration but is still fragmented. Teamflow is web based and does not require a headset.
“We don’t think VR is ready yet,” Crivello said. He’s also not a fan of Meta’s “proprietary walled garden approach” to the metaverse.
Teamflow’s engineers had to rewrite the entire software engine to incorporate a mobile version of the virtual office. This improved performance significantly overall, Crivello said.
“Now you can access the metaverse from any device — an old Android phone or a Macbook 11,” he said.
A person is represented in the virtual space by a round icon that displays her camera feed. The new version of the software uses AI camera framing to focus the user’s face and shift perspective as the person moves. As a person moves away from a group, the voices of colleagues fade away. An office worker navigates the space by clicking on her icon and dragging it to a new space.
In addition to providing a shared office space for remote and in-person employees, the software collects collaboration tools in one place as well as app integrations with Figma, Trello and Google Docs. The new version also includes a shared web browser within Teamflow.
“Everyone can whiteboard at the same time, which makes it a lot more engaging,” he said.
Teamflow 2.0 also has project rooms that feel like an infinite white board with no risk of accidental erasure. A project team can use the room for ongoing work or a manager and team member can use the room for private meetings to track individual goals. Users also can limit access to these rooms.
How companies are using virtual offices
Teamflow 1.0 launched in early 2021 and users have racked up more than 1 million meeting hours since then, according to the company. That works out to five days a week and six hours a day on the product. Most Teamflow customers are in the tech industry, according to Crivello, but finance and healthcare companies are using the software as well.
SafetyWing provides health and travel medical insurance for remote workers and teams, and uses Teamflow for its distributed team. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are coworking days when the team comes together in a Teamflow virtual office between 8 and 11 a.m. Pacific time.
Anycart, a grocery shopping engine, switched to Teamflow instead of using multiple standing Hangout rooms for different teams. CEO Rafael Sanches said in a blog post that this new collaboration space has broken down information silos and makes the team more productive. At Anycart, when a person leaves the virtual office, they’re no longer available. The Anycart team reports that this helps employees separate work time and personal time.
Teamflow also gave its virtual spaces a makeover in the latest release with new visual elements including grass, water, paths and sand. Users can create outdoor spaces, game rooms and a full office floor plan. Teamflow added a cafeteria to its virtual office and Crivello said he has lunch there most days.
Teamflow’s basic features are free forever for up to five employees. For larger teams and more functionality, subscription options start at $15 per month.