The Story Behind Kumospace Virtual Offices
We built Kumospace Virtual Offices to solve our own remote challenges of poor communication and culture building. After months of refinement with companies large and small, we’re excited to roll out Kumospace Virtual Offices to everyone!
Kumospace Virtual Offices started with our first company offsite at the beginning of this year. The offsite that never happened.
After more than a year of working together as a fully distributed team, we were excited to get everyone together in person. We rented the house, purchased plane tickets, planned events… and then Omicron happened.
Not to worry. As a remote-first company, we were well equipped for the transition to a virtual offsite. We spun up a special all-hands space, put together an agenda, and came up with some fun icebreakers that took advantage of Kumospace’s immersive environments.
We also sent out a survey asking our team a bunch of hard questions about life and work at Kumospace. What did people love about working at Kumospace? What did they hate?
Their answers changed the direction of the company.
People liked their teammates. They liked working with an incredibly high-caliber and motivated group of people. They liked shipping quality code and product quickly and frequently. They also liked the flexibility of working remotely. Making work bend around life instead of the other way around.
What did they hate? Cross-departmental collaboration could be a slog. It was easy to miscommunicate. Working in silos and falling out of coordination. Issues that should have taken 5 minutes would spiral into endless chat messages, taking days or even weeks to reach alignment. No matter how many meetings we had, some of our teammates still felt disconnected from their coworkers.
Despite having built an incredibly popular platform used by thousands of companies to throw some of the best virtual events in the world, we at Kumospace suffered from many of the same problems – miscommunication and isolation – that plague all remote and distributed teams.
It was the lightbulb moment. Our mission has always been to deepen human connection, but we realized that we needed more of people’s time. Remote culture doesn’t get fixed by the one-off holiday party or happy hour. Trust is built over time through repeated interactions: late nights over board games, lunch with the team, morning coffee with your fellow early-riser. We needed to build a virtual environment where these serendipitous interactions occurred naturally throughout the course of the remote workday, just as they occur naturally in a physical office.
What we needed to do as a company became crystal clear:
And thus began our journey of building Kumospace Virtual Office.
While we had used Kumospace as a place to host our own meetings and one-on-ones, we had never truly worked in it, 8 hours a day, as if it was a physical office. We didn’t like the idea of being on camera all day (still don’t), we didn’t like Kumospace being used as a tool for micromanagers (still don’t), and we were such a small team (<10) that everyone was usually in every meeting (definitely no longer the case). Despite these reservations, we committed to showing up.
And something magical happened. Several things actually:
Working in Kumospace eliminated the overhead of scheduling meetings, freeing more time for deep work. Whenever we had a quick question, we simply walked over to our colleagues. We miscommunicated less and started making better decisions, faster.
With the entire team in Kumospace, collaboration started to occur organically. Impromptu groups would coalesce as teammates noticed conversations happening and popped in to see what others were talking about. This felt completely natural – the same way it would in a physical office.
Exposure to management and being “in the know” are critical for upward mobility and retention. Kumospace leveled the playing field for junior employees by providing them much more visibility and access to senior teammates.
Spontaneous informal interactions fostered deeper connections and trust between team members. Co-working in Kumospace helped integrate new employees, strengthen cross-departmental bonds, and create a sense of belonging amongst our teammates.
It was clear that we were on to something special.
Validated by our own positive experience coworking virtually, we began to slowly share Kumospace with some trusted partners in return for their valued feedback. The results surprised even us:
Teams on average are spending 6-8 hours per user, per day in Kumospace!
They don’t just meet in Kumospace like you might in Zoom or Google Meet, they work in Kumospace. They hang out before and after events, they brainstorm on whiteboards, they do focused work solo or together, and they take breaks with a quick game of chess. It became clear that unlike the existing video conferencing solutions, Kumospace was providing teams with something entirely different: a place to show up. They showed up for themselves, for their teams, and for their companies. It was inspiring to watch!
Nothing is perfect of course. Our beta testers quickly zeroed in on features that we now consider must haves:
While we’re far from finished, our initial beta usage data made it clear that the product is ready for broader distribution. We believe that what we have today is already far superior to existing tools for remote work.
We are proud to release our Virtual Office beta to the public. If you or your team is interested, please schedule a demo to learn how your remote or hybrid team can iterate faster with fewer meetings and more connection in a Kumospace Virtual Office.
Onward and upward,
Brett & Yang
Yang Mou is the Co-founder & CEO of Kumospace, a virtual office platform where teams show up. Prior to founding Kumospace, he led member-facing technology efforts as a Staff Software Engineer at Oscar Health (NYSE: OSCR).
When not working, Yang enjoys skiing, scotch, and StarCraft. And sometimes, can be found roaming the blackjack tables of Las Vegas.