An employee using the Inside Your Business platform, working in a shared virtual office.
An employee using the Inside Your Business platform. Image: Powerfront

The tool that gathers remote employees in a shared virtual office

4 Aug 2020

Hadar Paz, CEO of Powerfront, explains how the agency’s Inside Your Business platform helps mirror the workspace for employees working from home.

Hadar Paz is the CEO and founder of Powerfront, a cloud-based customer service provider. In 2012, Paz and his team developed an online conversion and lead generation product, Inside. This platform was originally developed for retailers, allowing them to view their stores in real time, engage with their customers and track their behaviour.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Powerfront pivoted its product for the needs of companies in sectors beyond retail. It rolled out Inside Your Business, a communication and collaboration tool that helps companies visualise their remote workforce in an app that can be integrated into Zoom. Here, Paz explains how and why it happened.

‘It’s more about presence. This tool allows companies to stay connected, even if employees are scattered across the globe’

Why did you launch Inside Your Business?

We had heard from some of our clients that due to the pandemic and ‘shelter in place’ orders, companies were facing a lack of structure and staff visibility when adjusting to a remote work situation. This was tough on management but also challenging for employees who were not entirely used to working from home.

We were prepared because our own company has been using a form of this solution for years. We have been a remote-only company since 2010. When we heard about some of our clients’ pain points, we made a few tweaks and adjustments and made it available to any company using Zoom.

Why is it helpful for remote working environments to reflect those inside the office?

From our own experience, it provides structure that many employees really like. It increases productivity and fosters easy collaboration. One drawback of working from home is the loss of person-to-person connection that comes with last-minute brainstorming, check-ins and company all-hands etc.

Also, scheduling several Zoom meetings a day can take up a bit of time so being able to just jump into a meeting with a single click or copy an invite instead of having to go through Zoom’s website is much more efficient and makes the employee experience smoother and less frustrating.

What are the main features of the tool that you think can help companies working remotely?

The virtual offices allow staff to have their own Zoom rooms that work like a meeting space and where folks can find you if they need to pop in and chat. Folks can move from office to office and very easily create meetings.

The ‘status’ setting also promotes visibility. You can immediately see if a co-worker is on vacation, at lunch, in a meeting etc. Hovering over a co-worker’s photo reveals their working hours, their local time, their title and department, and offers you the ability to meet with them. No need to go searching through emails or calendars or files – it’s all possible in one click.

Do you think employees would be nervous to use the tool because they are enjoying the privacy that comes with working from home?

Our employees enjoy using this tool because it fosters a social, open company culture. Our employees always have the option to set their status to ‘unavailable’ or ‘do not disturb’ or to work in their own private room, so they aren’t distracted but are easily accessible if someone needs to chat.

Employees don’t need to be on camera the entire day. Many employees leave video and microphones off but sound on. If someone calls their name to get their attention, they can jump on video to have a face-to-face conversation.

It’s more about presence. This tool allows companies to stay connected, even if employees are scattered across the globe.

Screenshot of the Inside Your Business platform, showing a shared virtual office.

The Inside Your Business platform. Image: Powerfront

Will it add to or take away from work-life balance, do you think?

We know from our own experience using this tool that it really helps employees balance work and life. One of the challenges of working from home has always been when to shut down for the day and how to avoid feeling like you have to be ‘on’ 24/7.

From what we have observed at Powerfront’s virtual HQ, this type of technology allows staff to be able to have defined boundaries around work hours when others can’t reach them – similar to what happens when you leave your office at the end of the day and go home to have a nice dinner with your family.

At the end of a work day or during a break, employees set their status to ‘offline’ or ‘at lunch’ to let others know that they are unavailable. This helps employees feel like they are guarding their personal and family time from work hours.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading