“We are tired of organizing Zoom meetings and not seeing each other in the office,” explains Gregory Rocher, CEO of WorkAdventure, a subsidiary of French web and mobile development company The Coding Machine.
In the face of the declining links caused by remote work, the co-founder has developed a product capable of allowing employees to find each other, but in a virtual world. Inspired by video games, this web platform with retro design and 2D graphics offers many functions and interactions. Everyone can choose their desk, the color of the walls, the location of the coffee machine … even their avatar.
Take the example of Paul, a telecommuting employee. By clicking on the link on the platform, the employee can customize their clothes, skin color or even their hairstyle. Is it time for a coffee break? Paul joins his colleagues in the cafeteria or on the balcony using the arrows on the keyboard. There, the rules of spacing do not exist.
It is not a spy tool.
Paul approaches his colleague Julie and begins the discussion. The camera goes off and his computer beeps, unless he refuses. “There is no obligation, it is not a tool for spying,” Gregory Rocher says. If he doesn’t want to talk in front of the camera, he can also use instant messaging.
In a full exchange with Julie, new intern Lucas invited himself into the conversation. This is the opportunity to get to know each other better and introduce him to the rest of the team. Be careful not to meet more than four people, otherwise the avatars will have to join another meeting room.
If Paul wants to be quiet, he can move to another room and isolate himself from any interaction with his mates. Someone behaving badly and insulting their boss? WorkAdventure’s moderation tools will be able to block it.
Veepee and Société Générale have already won
Thanks to its “open source” function, that is, it is completely open, many functions such as Internet links, documents or video conferencing systems can be added. Each universe is built from the ground up, in order to adapt to the different requirements of businesses.
Clients include Bouygues Construction International (a subsidiary that specializes in complex construction projects), Jellysmack (video content maker and distributor) and Société Générale. For the Veepee event sales site, the offices have been reproduced identically. Its nine European subsidiaries are represented there and groups of employees are testing the platform before considering global deployment.
In total, 4,000 organizations around the world use WorkAdventure. Since it was marketed in February after nearly a year of development, more than a hundred companies have already subscribed to the paid version: five euros per month and per user, a preferential rate until the beginning of July. It is also possible to access the application free of charge for small groups of no more than fifteen people.
Strengthening the close link
WorkAdventure is also used at certain corporate events. Zenika, an IT consulting firm, wanted to celebrate its 15th anniversary. All employees are invited to celebrate this anniversary through the platform on April 23. The map of France was reproduced there, with all its agencies in France. Staff were able to meet in various places, while following conferences led by virtual masters of ceremonies…
For a workforce of 400 people for five days, Zenica paid €2,000. According to Matthew Morey, Zenika Lyon’s Artistic Director, “It’s the best tool created to date for maintaining closeness.” Some agencies continue to use the game every day and a new event will be organized soon to recruit new staff.
“We need to invent virtual spaces, rethink offices and ways of working together,” said Gregory Rocher, who is counting on fundraising by the end of the year to support its development. According to him, “Most of the exchanges take place thanks to digital, so that the future of work is mixed, between physical and virtual offices.”