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Nottinghamshire’s first virtual co-working office opens

Posted onPosted on 11th Dec

Collab – virtual office, social and event software that promotes collaboration and communication – has launched a Nottinghamshire office as enquiries into alternatives to physical workplaces and traditional venues rise.

According to the latest Covid-19 survey of business sentiment by Eden McCallum, the impact of remote working is negatively affecting key elements of people’s working lives.

Although the survey’s findings highlight a 36% improvement in work-life balance, it also illustrates a 35% decrease in collaboration, a 39% decrease in motivation and an 11% decrease in communication felt by staff.

The negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of colleagues and the respondents themselves was also remarked upon in the report.

Now tech start-up Collab has opened its virtual office doors to welcome Nottinghamshire businesses.

Having just completed a successful two-week pilot, which attracted more than 130 businesspeople from a range of sectors across the East Midlands, Collab has opened to paying customers, most of whom will first take up a seven-day trial.

Steff Wright, chair of Gusto Group and Collab, explained: “The last two weeks have been a real learning curve for those making use of Collab to host client and team meetings, events and even social gatherings.”

“We’ve welcomed people from a range of businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations, all of whom have been able to connect with others at the touch of a button.”

In the Collab office as well as being able to talk to one another more freely, users can message anyone in the office, pull up a white board and share screens to edit a document in real time, together.

Pilot participant Cathy Lowe, head of fundraising and marketing at Beaumond House Hospice Care, Newark, said: “From my perspective Collab is so much more of a natural tool that other platforms – it is more relaxed and actually can mimic real work settings if you give it a try – I loved the informality but ability to be talk privately when necessary.”

In contrast, Collab events can host up to 850 guests who can move between tables and speak to different groups, while hosts can present to everyone and call people up on to the stage to deliver updates – perfect for large-scale team meetings, networking, conferences and award ceremonies.

Collab offices have space for up to 850 people and connected desks can seat from two to eight people. Large businesses are invited to take up a floor or even have their own building, dedicated to their specific needs.

Steff added: “Anyone who has been working remotely since March will know how challenging it has been to keep up the same quality of communication with their team, suppliers and customers.

“Having to email a link for a meeting rather than just looking over the top of your desk and talking to a colleague has led to a breakdown in collaboration and communication for many.

“Thanks to Collab, teams can get back into a safe space with one another, start a conversation, share a link via the chat function or share their screen to work on a project together.”

Another participant of the recent pilot was Simon Witts, founder of Aviation 360. Simon said: “I’m familiar with the standard shared office concept having started organisations in REGUS offices and so I was intrigued as to how this would all play out virtually.

“After two weeks now, I have to say that I am a real fan and my colleagues like it too. Visitors have also found it really refreshing – I’m here to stay and we’re already thinking about how this could work across our whole sector!”

Businesses who are keen to use the virtual office to bring their team back together can make use of a free seven-day trial by login in via the website

Events organisers have already started making use of the software to host local, national and global conferences, business clubs, and a glitzy awards dinner alongside community events and even a virtual wake.

Sports fans are also in for a treat as the stadium venue will provide a space for fans to discuss matches and tournaments together. Just as with the office and event space, Collab social members can share a space with up to eight friends and chat freely before, during half-time and after a game while watching it live on their TV.

Steff said: “People might not be able to stand on the terraces together for a while longer yet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a game in the company of their mates.”

For an introduction to Collab, watch this YouTube video: