Having a virtual coworking community at hand is advantageous for any remote worker. As someone who works in a small remote team, virtual coworking is essential for keeping us in communication with each, and knowing what tasks we need to complete each week.
If you’re a remote worker like I am, or you’re thinking about signing up for a virtual coworking platform, you’re probably wondering what options are available, and what is going to be best suited to your working style.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What virtual coworking is, and what benefits it offers to remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.
- The features a typical virtual online space provides
- Some of the best virtual coworking apps and platforms, including free spaces
What Is A Virtual Coworking Space?
A virtual coworking space is essentially a digital platform or app that enables people to work together remotely in a collaborative environment. This can include features like video conferencing, shared documents, and virtual meeting rooms.
Virtual coworking spaces can be used by individuals or teams in varying locations around the world to work on projects together, or by remote workers looking for a sense of community and connection with others.
6 Benefits of Virtual Coworking Spaces
So, you may be wondering why you should use virtual coworking. Here are some benefits:
- Networking opportunities for individual remote workers or small teams to come together.
- Enhanced flexibility in allowing people to work from anywhere at any time.
- Cost savings for small teams when working virtually rather than hiring physical office space.
- Increased productivity by boosting focus and accountability.
- Reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- Access to virtual meeting rooms and added extras, such as mailing addresses.
Who is a virtual coworking space best for?
Is a virtual coworking space right for you?
It can be difficult to know if a virtual workspace is the best decision, especially if you’re not used to connecting with others remotely.
To give you an idea of who may be best suited to online coworking, here are some types of workers that a virtual coworking space may be best for:
- Remote workers who only have the option to work from a home office or coffee shop.
- Freelancers and independent contractors who want to connect and collaborate with others in their field.
- Small business owners requiring cost-effective alternatives to leasing physical office space.
- Teams that work remotely and need to collaborate and communicate effectively.
- Digital nomads who desire a sense of community and connection, and a dedicated work environment.
- Startup businesses requiring a cost-effective option for a professional work environment for their employees.
Virtual Office vs Traditional Coworking Spaces: What’s Best?
The main difference between a virtual coworking space and a traditional coworking space is that a virtual coworking space is accessed and used entirely online, while a traditional coworking space is a physical location that members can visit and work from.
Some other key differences include flexibility as being online enables you to work from anywhere in the world, rather than having to travel to a location with a set number of hours of operation.
However, a traditional coworking space will likely lead to more opportunities for social interactions, especially face-to-face, and you’ll have access to more amenities like printing, food and drink, events, and office equipment.
Features of a virtual coworking space
What can an online coworking space offer you in terms of features?
Naturally, the features will vary depending on the specific platform or provider, but some common aspects are:
- Video conferencing for real-time communication and collaboration
- Chat and instant messaging for quick and easy communication
- Shared document storage for the sharing and editing of documents in real-time
- Virtual meeting rooms to allow team meetings and client meetings
- Calendar and schedule management to organize meetings, events, and appointments
- Virtual receptionist to handle administrative tasks, such as answering phone calls and scheduling appointments
- Access to extra resources and amenities like custom business services
- Community-building tools, including forums, groups, and other social features, to nurture connections and networking opportunities
- Mobile accessibility with the addition of mobile apps for access anywhere, at any time
- Security features like login, user access controls, and data encryption to keep your information and data secure
9 Virtual Coworking Spaces To Try
What are the best virtual coworking spaces to try in 2023?
Here are some of the best online spaces for productivity, focus, and collaboration.
Slack boasts features, including:
- Workflow builder
- File sharing
- Enterprise key management
- Huddles and teams
- Video and audio conversations
- Screen sharing
- Integrations with Google Drive, Office 365, Adobe, and many more
Best for: Small remote teams and startups.
Price: From free
Zoom is a video software platform that makes online collaboration super easy. Whether you require a space for virtual meetings or a friendly team chat, Zoom has it all on one handy platform.
Zoom’s extensive features include:
- Virtual meetings
- Virtual background
- Online whiteboard
- VoIP phone system
- Email and calendar
- Waiting rooms
- Personal meeting rooms
- Meeting recordings
Best for: Individual remote workers and teams
Price: Free for up to 100 attendees and 40 minutes.
Focusmate connects individual professionals, freelancers, and remote workers, helping them to stay accountable with online coworking sessions. On signing up and booking a session, the platform connects you to another person whom you’ll join a video call with and check in to finish those all-important tasks.
Focusmate’s features include:
- Video sessions of 25, 50, and 75 minutes
- Favorite a partner to work with
- Native video
- Video add-ons
- Calendar invites
- Integrations including Beeminder
Best for: Individual remote workers and entrepreneurs
Price: 3 free sessions per week, unlimited from $6.99 monthly
Flow Club is a platform providing online coworking sessions to boost productivity, focus, and collaboration for remote workers. It also aims to reduce stress and feelings of isolation.
Designed to get you in a productive flow state, this virtual coworking platform enables you to share your goals with others, debrief with the session host, and also connect with new people.
Flow Club’s features include:
- Video chat
- Calendar reminders
- To-do list
- Goal sharing
Best for: Individual remote workers and small remote teams
Price: From $33 monthly (free 7-day trial)
SoWork connects remote teams by giving them a productive virtual workspace. Unlike other apps, SoWork takes you into the metaverse, fusing collaboration with innovation. You can even host office events and get food from delivery services.
SoWork’s features include:
- Virtual meeting space
- Video calls
- Workspace map
- Custom branding
- Integrations, including delivery services
Best for: Small remote teams
Price: Free for teams of 4-6 people
Caveday offers virtual coworking sessions called ‘caves’ – these are guided group focus sessions aiming to boost accountability and minimize distractions in a remote work environment.
Caveday’s features include:
- Group and solo cave sessions
- 1 hour and 3 hour sessions, 7 days per week
- Member forum
- Events and workshops
Best for: Individual remote workers and freelancers
Price: From $30 per month, free 7-day trial
Wild Coworking is a virtual coworking platform for self-employed women. Aiming to bring together an inclusive community, networking opportunities, and events, this platform wants to make business more accessible.
Wild Coworking’s features include:
- Welcome chat
- Goal setting sessions
- Drop-in coworking sessions
- Creative coworking sessions
- Think Tank
- Virtual guest workshops
- In-person events
- 1:1 sessions discount
- Private member group
- Whatsapp group, book club, welcome pack (Really Wild members only)
Best for: Female freelancers and entrepreneurs
Price: From £17 per month
RemoteHQ is a collaborative browsing platform for remote teams to collaborate and save time on projects. This virtual space makes it easy for teams to browse and edit web apps with each other or their clients.
RemoteHQ’s features include:
- Cloud remote browser
- Zero software to install
- HD audio and video conferencing
- One-click guest access
- Site snapshots
- Multi-tab support
- Mobile support
- Session recording
- Virtual backgrounds
- Integrates with Google Drive, Trello, Dropbox, Microsoft Office
Best for: Remote teams
Price: From $15 per month, $3 for 3-day trial
Cool Wow Collective
The Cool Wow Collective offers a coworking club membership for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers who want a boost in productivity and accountability. It’s also great for networking, especially if you’re looking for referrals or people to collaborate with.
Cool Wow Collective features include:
- Virtual coworking sessions
- Multiple drop-in sessions
- Dedicated Facebook group
Best for: Female (or those that identify as female or non-binary) freelancers and founders.
Price: Doors opening soon
How to choose the best virtual coworking platform
When it comes down to choosing a virtual coworking platform, there are some things you need to think about.
First, make a list of your needs and what features you want a platform to have. Do you need an app, document storage, networking opportunities, etc?
Also, consider your budget, the level of customer support, community features, and if the platform can easily integrate with other tools you use.
It’s also a good idea to try out a few different virtual coworking platforms before making a final decision, to find one that best suits your preferences.
Are there any virtual coworking spaces free of charge?
Yes, there are free coworking spaces, including Slack, Zoom, and Google Meet. However, the free versions are normally limited in the number of participants, storage space, meeting duration, and extras.
Some platforms also offer free options, but you can pay extra for added services like storage and integrations.