Last week, I had to the chance to meet Ho Yin Cheung, Founder and Creator of the brand new remote work app launched in mid-2018, Remo.

Ho Yin is based in Hong Kong from where he’s successfully launched three different companies including Riotly Social and this, his newest project dedicated to strengthening the connections of remote co-workers all over the world

Remo is a virtual office app that allows you to feel a lot closer to remotely distributed members of your team.

From the moment I saw the virtual office screen, I felt comfortable. The space has a very cozy feel; it’s easy on the eyes, and easy to figure out.

Remo’s virtual office space.

The colors and lines of the design are soft, even inviting. The layout has features like a game room with a pool table and an outdoor working area. Overall, you get the feel of a modern, fun office.

Working in Remo can be like getting the best of two worlds. The idea of a stimulating and fun office environment with perks and a great team is attractive. But at the end of the day, there is nothing quite like working from anywhere, or the comfort of home.

So, What Does Remo Actually Do?

Some questions that I asked or thought of during the demo were:

  • What are the rooms for? For example, do we actually go into a “File Room” to save documents? Or can we invite clients in for meetings?
  • Are we there to track or keep records of conversations?
  • If I use this app, will I ever be able to unplug from my team and just work?

Let’s work our way backwards to answer those questions, shall we?

I love the fact that Remo provides a feeling that I’m actually “going” somewhere to work without really having to go anywhere. It also helps me feel that when I walk away from my computer, I really have left the office and my mind can get out of work mode more easily. But with my little avatar being visible in the office, will I feel more pressure to be available?

I could, but I don’t think it would be any different than feeling pressured to be green on Hangouts or available on Slack. Remote workers need to concentrate their time. If I were to use Remo with a team, I’d simply lock myself in a room and go on Do Not Disturb when I’m not able to talk. No guilt. Just productivity. Mind over matter.

Next, I wondered where conversations held on Remo are stored, or if different conversations are held in different rooms. How do we keep track of what we discuss? When I asked about this Ho Yin explained to me that Remo is meant to allow remote workers to interact. It’s not a project management tool with lots of folders, channels, or workflows, nor is it meant to replace email.

It’s meant to get you actually talking (not texting – I know some of us think texting counts as talking but it doesn’t, and so much gets lost in translation…) to your co-workers and to make getting in face time a lot easier.

So how do you keep track of conversations?

Well, think about this: If you’re working in an office and go visit a co-worker at their computer, do you transcribe the conversation or have a voice recorder log it all? No, you don’t. You just interact.

Interaction is what this tool is about.

Adding to that point and to address the question of what the rooms are for, you can utilize them to have private conversations, or separate team conversations, or even work alone for a bit but be in the same place as your co-workers. Whether you’re using Remo to force yourself to stop hiding behind a piece of tape covering the camera on your laptop, be a little more present with your teammates or just be “at” the office, it can help bring you out of isolation.

Finally, yes, you can invite guests and clients in or provide them with a login for visits, and that capability is being further developed . 🙂

One of my remote co-workers once mentioned that a drawback of working remotely is not just being able to pop over to each other’s desks if we have quick questions. Another complaint I’ve heard from remote colleagues has been that the trade for not having an office to go to is the feeling that they’re always at work.

I think Remo is huge stride toward resolving both problems.

Thanks to the Remo Team for this awesome app!