Staying connected in a remote work environment can take some effort for even the most outgoing employees. Remote teams dedicated to boosting performance and engagement need to evaluate how they’re working together to help facilitate connection and productivity with ease. The way you work can potentially make or break your team’s output and morale.

One way we at Remote.co and our sister site, FlexJobs, keep our remote team working together is by coming to work in Sococo. Sococo is “the online workplace where distributed teams come to work together each day, side-by-side, no matter where team members might be.”

Sococo has been instrumental in keeping our fully virtual team connected. Below are a few ways coming to work in Sococo works for us on a daily basis.

Here are five ways coming to work in my Sococo virtual office helps me work better with my remote coworkers:

1.) I can instantly see who’s “in the office.”

Sococo is laid out in almost a blueprint-like fashion, where you have a bird’s-eye view of all the office spaces in your virtual office. Each person on your team is represented by an avatar. Every morning when I log in, I can instantly see everyone else across the whole company who is also in the virtual office. I can see who on my team is already there, and who may be “busy” or “away,” depending on their status. If I want to pop into someone’s office for a quick chat, I know if they’re around. Remote coworkers don’t typically get to log in for the day and “see” who else is in the office. Working in Sococo bridges this gap and provides a sense of being in a brick-and-mortar office.

2.) I can “step away” while still being visible.

Sococo allows you to set your status, which is a helpful way to indicate your availability. By selecting “Available,” “Away,” “Busy,” or “Do Not Disturb,” my coworkers will know if I am available at that moment. I can even add details to my status, such as “At the doctor – Be back at 2 p.m. CST,” which will give my coworkers information about my whereabouts and not leave them hanging if they need to speak with me. With a quick glance at everyone’s icon, I enjoy being able to see if my remote coworkers or boss are available, or if I should wait until they’re back from lunch.

3.) My team is all in one place.

While you can work in individual offices in Sococo, we’ve elected to place teams together in open collaboration spaces, which makes for an easy view of who is around and who isn’t. I have the content team office set as my “Home” space, and I’m automatically placed into that office when I come in each morning. There are even options to receive a notification and/or a sound whenever someone enters or leaves the room. All of this helps to mimic a traditional office where you can visually see who is around and see each person as they come and go. Having this virtual viewpoint adds to the feeling of being on a team and feeling connected to my remote coworkers, even when we’re all miles apart.

4.) Sending a message takes one click.

Being able to easily message and chat with coworkers is vital in a remote workplace. Sococo makes it easy by integrating with Slack, a communication app. This easy integration eliminates the need for additional communication apps, since you can easily and cleanly communicate via audio, video, and text chat without leaving your Sococo office. Clicking on a person’s icon brings up a chat box where you can immediately type out your message. If you’re in an office with other people, you can also chat with the whole room. I feel like I’m in the room with my remote coworkers when I can quickly send off a message about anything work-related or even just to chitchat.

5.) Meetings are easy.

When our team has a meeting, it’s super easy to quickly integrate any needed functionalities, such as audio, video, and screen sharing. There’s no need to dial into a phone or video conference. Once we’re all gathered, we simply turn on our microphones, which is done by clicking on the microphone icon at the top of our screens. We immediately have the ability to start talking. Each person’s icon has visual cues to let you know if that person is speaking, has their microphone on, has their webcam on, or is sharing their screen. Meeting in Sococo really helps cut down on the amount of time spent before a meeting trying to log on/call in/download software/etc. It’s the closest thing to walking into a physical room and talking to your colleagues—our team and one-on-one meetings can happen spontaneously and add to the feeling of camaraderie.

This post is sponsored by our friends at Sococo.