We have employees and strategic partners located in other states and countries and would like to create a virtual office that simulates having everyone sitting in the same room. We currently use Skype and GoToMeeting, but haven't been able to create the right environment for collaboration. One of the main problems is not having continual communication (audio + video).
Do you have any suggestions or have any experiences that you can share on this subject? Thanks.
I know some people who have experimented with a dedicated machine having a continuous connection to a remote office. You buy a machine with a large monitor, run Skype or iChat and just leave it open. The idea is that it functions like a window and creates the feeling of a single office space.
Note - MIC's network is very slow so you will probably have to pay for your own connection.
I have a huge interest in this topic, so I can share some resources:
Web Worker Daily - advice articles, good for learning about new apps. More of a manager's point of view.
WorkShifting - blog on telecommuting operated by Citrix. More of a a staff employee's point of view.
The Case, and the Plan, for the Virtual Company - the best case study I've found. Inc. magazine did an experiment by having the whole staff work remotely for a whole month.
The Remote Control CEO - another case study, of the CEO of an organic farm. Has a different twist: the boss decided to outsource himself from his own company.
Daniel's suggestion of having an app like Skype run constantly is the most cost-effective solution that comes to mind. Have a webcam on everyone's monitor for face-to-face chatting. Almost anything else might be prohibitively expensive. Maybe Cisco Telepresence?