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How Anycart’s Virtual Office Social Rules Bring Back Spontaneity and Collaboration

We sat down with Rafael Sanches, the Co-Founder at Anycart, one of the biggest grocery shopping engines in the US helping customers both find the ingredients for the perfect meal, and getting groceries delivered to their doorsteps.

The Anycard team is remote and distributed across the globe — from the Bay Area to Brazil. But Rafael knows the secret to building great products and successful businesses lies in building a truly gelled team — and that just doesn’t happen when team members only engage via chat or scheduled video calls. Instead, Rafael wanted his team to experience the same energy that’s generated when everyone is together in the same office — he wanted his team to have spontaneous encounters that make work fun and collaborative. In his words, “We’re a fully remote team, but I still want the team to feel like a team.”

So in the early days of the business, Rafael and his team would set up a standing all-day Google Hangout call for everyone to work alongside each other. As Anycart grew, they would set up multiple standing Hangout rooms for different teams, but that would make things complicated for members who worked across various teams. The improvised Google Hangout setup just wasn’t scaling with the business.

In search of a solution, Anycart chose to replicate the physical office dynamic by using Teamflow as their virtual office space — one that would be able to scale with their growing business. Anycart quickly started using Teamflow in exactly the same way they’d use a physical office.

“We want to imitate a real office environment as much as we can. Teamflow provides the tool to make that easy, and on top of that, we’re living by the same social rules that we’d apply to an in-person office space.”
—Rafael Sanches

That means that when team members start their workday, they head into Teamflow. Once “in the office,” they’re available to chat, and it’s okay — even encouraged — to stop next to a coworker and strike up a conversation. The idea is that if someone is stuck with a problem and needs help from a colleague, they can just drag their avatars over and start chatting. Similarly to a physical office, there is no need to schedule a call or wait for a Slack reply if they want to talk to colleagues because they’re sitting right around them!

Anycart’s team practices the same social rules as expected in a physical office. They see someone in a meeting room with others, and that means try again later. Or, if it’s urgent, they politely virtually knock to see if they can interrupt for a minute. When someone is done for the day and has left the virtual office, that means they’re no longer available — just as if they had left a physical office. This also helps Anycart employees disconnect by building a cleaner separation between their work, and their life outside of work.

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By applying the same physical office social rules to their virtual office, Anycart has created a virtual office that makes collaboration easier, socializing more natural and spontaneous, and work more productive. With the team together in a virtual office space questions can be asked and resolved just by approaching a coworker rather than having to schedule a meeting.

“Teamflow has broken down information silos completely and is making everyone on our team more productive. It's hard to overstate how much time it's saving us because we're all now so much more aligned… The fact that I can just start a chat without scheduling calls or sending invites is a game-changer. This has cut the need for scheduled meetings entirely. I no longer have a calendar that dictates my schedule.“
—Rafael Sanches

By replicating the physical office dynamic and social rules, Anycart’s team is off on a new path to building and nurturing relationships. When we talked to Rafael about how Teamflow has changed their new employees’ onboarding process, he invited us to chat with Diego, a brand-new hire who had recently joined the Anycart team. We found Diego in the common area, chatting with Bruno, a coworker. The two engineers weren’t even on the same team but Bruno had just spotted Diego in the communal space and stopped by to say hi and introduce himself — an encounter that would never have happened on Slack or Zoom.

While at the Anycart office, we also ended up asking Lucas about his thoughts on working from a digital office space. He said, “Teamflow has made my experience as a remote worker 10x better. The use of it comes naturally and meeting the team as a newcomer was a breeze.

Both new hires and long-time team members agree: Teamflow enables spontaneous, serendipitous encounters that help coworkers get to know each other, feel connected, and have fun at work  — and that’s the foundation of a strong culture.

“As Anycart continues to grow, it’s important to me to protect our culture and continue to be a fun, collaborative place to work. We just couldn’t do that without Teamflow.”
—Rafael Sanches

If you’re curious about how our digital office space can help your team feel more collaborative and connected, try Teamflow free for 30 days!

[Try Teamflow for free → ]

Reviewed by James O'Sullivan, Director of New Client Experience

Jamess O'Sullivan has over 20 years of experience building and scaling companies. With diverse experience under his belt spanning everything from to Uber, James is a well-respected thought leader, eccentric, and boundary-pusher who regularly contributes to industry-leading publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine.