Throughout the pandemic, there has been a lot of debate on the effectiveness of remote work. On the one hand, it provided the benefits offices couldn’t rival: thousands of dollars and countless hours saved, broader hiring reach, and higher productivity.
On the other hand, when it came to dealing with emergencies, coming up with creative ideas, or connecting with teammates human-to-human, something wasn’t quite there.
Solving new problems calls for new tools
That’s why 35% of remote workers quote lack of communication and isolation as key challenges in working remotely. The lack of tools is not the problem — the market for collaboration tools is expected to reach $40 billion in value by 2028.
The problem is — most of these platforms see collaboration only through the lens of efficiency — getting tasks done, tracking changes, and seeing the full view of projects.
They miss out on a less obvious but equally important factor — a human one. Without an environment for connecting, brainstorming, and sharing knowledge, sprouts of productivity start dying out and explosive growth gives way to burnout.
Sae Hyung Jung, the CEO of a Japanese tech startup, spotted this problem back in 2020. As a skilled engineer, he saw a solution in technology and created oVice — a platform that made sure productivity didn’t get in the way of fluid communication. The project gave remote teams a shared space to meet and connect naturally.
Released in October 2020, oVice had an amazing response in Japan, its home country, South Korea, Vietnam, and worldwide.
By 2022, it’s used by over 2,200 companies worldwide connecting over 60,000 employees every day. After a while, VCs jumped on board — since the launch, the team raised over $18 million of venture capital from One Capital and Eight Road Ventures Japan.
Since its launch, the platform gradually matured. Layouts became more complex and stylish, the tech infrastructure evolved to host corporate events with record-breaking attendance.
As teams requested new features, a map view of the office, the ability to book meetings in advance, expanded teammate profiles, a user list, and other tools were added.
Now, it’s getting its biggest update to date — a full interface revamp. It’s about to launch on Product Hunt this weekend — here’s a closer look at the new features of the new design.
Sleek design for more productivity and efficiency
oVice is back with the style of menus, panels, and icons for a smoother, more intuitive experience.
The product team opted for minimalistic outline icons, a stylish white header, and a hamburger menu that gives teams more room for enjoying office layouts.
The new design seamlessly blends in with all types of spaces — event venues, study rooms, and offices. Whether your team wants to go for a business layout or design a creative space on an island or a garden, buttons and controls won’t get in the way of a seamless experience.
All the features where you expect them
In the new interface, all features are intuitively grouped to help leaders connect with teams in one click. A sleek central panel has features all office users need: microphone toggle, settings tab, and the mini-map that shows the full view of the office.
The sidebar in the top right corner has tools that help managers run the space:
- The user list shows space members and guests and gives team leaders a clear view of who’s in the office at the moment.
- “Away” status: employees usually use it to let the rest of the team know when they take breaks to let the rest of the team know.
- The meeting scheduler allows teammates to book a meeting room in advance to ensure availability.
- Chat helps teammates ask and answer quick questions without having to spam in Slack. All chat messages show up as a bubble over a user’s avatar. If a teammate mentions someone in the chat, the other person will get a notification.
The menu bar is stripped down and fully dedicated to office space management. Team leaders use it to access the Settings tab. Here, they can tweak access permissions, optimise rooms, add static objects, and introduce new plugins to the space.
Managing meetings with ease and flexibility
The new oVice UI has a few tweaks to make connecting with teammates in a virtual office smoother and more controlled. For one, users can keep the microphone on or off when entering meeting rooms — this way, they will not get in the way of discussions.
Also, managers can now see what meetings are happening in conference rooms for more situational awareness.
Effortless communication with the team
Getting to know your teammates is now easier than ever, with the expanded user settings. Approaching someone is also faster than it used to be — the minimap feature allows space users to teleport to any point of the space in one click.
If you click on a teammate’s profile, a pop-up with their job title and the “Chat” button will appear. Space administrators can force mute users as well in case they accidentally left their microphone on.
To see the new version of the platform and talk to the product team, visit the oVice tour space.
Change is constant but the fundamentals stay the same
The oVice team made sure that the interface update doesn’t get in the way of resource efficiency, reliability, and ease of use.
Like in the old version, remote and hybrid team leaders can boost workplace engagement and productivity by creating custom office spaces that help teams focus on productive work. Here, managers can create designated scrum areas, networking zones, areas for lunch breaks, and game rooms.
As always, oVice is faithful to its click-to-move navigation, which allows teams to quickly move across the space and reach each other instantly. You can choose a comfortable way to communicate: from one-click audio chatting to a video conference in a meeting room.
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oVice helps teams brainstorm more efficiently than they would at the office with simultaneous screen sharing and crispy audio quality which makes sure all voices are heard.
Having firsthand experienced the challenges of remote work, oVice founders turned them into exciting opportunities. They created an innovative platform that adapts and grows together with changing workplace trends.
The new interface on Product Hunt this weekend. To support the product team and be the first one to try out the interface, follow the oVice Upcoming Product page.
This article is produced by the e27 team, sponsored by oVice
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