As Impact Basis’ consulting team grew across Europe, North America, and Africa, it needed to equip its consultants with a digital solution to collaborate as effectively as they did when co-located.
Deploying Welo’s virtual office within the familiar and reliable Zoom video conferencing platform, Impact Basis not only improved its own service delivery, but also modeled the power of working better together when physically apart from colleagues and its global client base.
“Coming to work every day in our Welo online office is as near to that buzzing co-working environment as you can get. Perfect for our distributed team to maintain meaningful collaboration.”– Matt Barnaby, Director
- Industry: Change consultants to social purpose organizations
- Team: 95% virtual. Office space in The Hague, The Netherlands and London, England
- Clients: Located worldwide, including: OXFAM Novib, Dutch affiliate of OXFAM International, the Hague; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Geneva Switzerland; REN21, Paris, France
- Parent company: Basis, named UK’s Leading Management Consultants: 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
Reduce the negative environmental effects of frequent travel
As a consultancy serving mission-driven organizations, Impact Basis was acutely aware of the high cost and negative environmental impact of frequent business travel. The traditional management consulting model was not sustainable or responsible. “We needed a way to work remotely as a team and with our clients without compromising efficiency, creativity, and results,” explains Matt Barnaby, Impact Basis Director.
Challenges of hiring and empowering a geographically dispersed team
To hire best-in-class consultants, Impact Basis must recruit experts across the globe, not exclusively in The Hague or UK—former company office locations. Exceeding customer expectations requires smart collaboration—even more challenging when client and consulting teams work across countries and continents.
Existing tools didn’t recreate the in-office experience
Like virtually every organization, Impact Basis relied on existing videoconferencing, collaboration, and messaging tools to persevere through the pandemic. As director of the organization and a self-proclaimed technology geek, Matt searched for solutions optimized for distributed teams, found Welo, and tested it with his fellow consultants who have embraced it as their virtual office solution.
In the office, online
For the Impact Basis team, going to work now means logging into their digital Welo office for the day’s planned and spontaneous interactions. Each consultant places their avatar in a visual 3D space—an individual office, one of the many meeting rooms of all sizes, the maketspace, or a social space—and moves it around depending on what they need to accomplish throughout the day.
Impact Basis consultants state that interacting online is now as natural and efficient as walking down the hall for an impromptu discussion. Or joining the weekly stand-up resource allocation discussion. Or pulling together a few people to tackle a challenge in a meeting room. Or grabbing a coffee with a team member to catch up.
“Before our staff was co-located online in Welo, quick connections were literally impossible. We had to check a colleague’s Google Calendar, send a Zoom invite, wait for a response, and eventually meet. Now, with Welo, I can see if my colleague is free, ask if she has a minute, and connect quickly. Welo cuts out three days of delay,” comments Matt. He also recognizes that
Welo minimizes the need for formal meetings scheduled in half hour calendar invites, freeing up consultants’ calendars.
Smarter collaboration with colleagues
When he needs to get his creative juices flowing, Matt sits himself down in the makerspace located in the corner of Impact Basis’ Welo office. “I go to brainstorm on my Miro whiteboards, embedded right in the room. Often, a colleague sees what I’m doing and joins me, unblocking or expanding my thinking. That’s the kind of organic connections Welo facilitates.”
Smarter collaboration with clients
Impact Basis also uses Welo with its clients. “One of our consultants used Welo to host a series of workshops with burgeoning leaders across Eastern Europe. Participants instantly took to Welo. In fact, even when Internet connections were unreliable for participants in Moldova and Ukraine, the group insisted on persevering.”
“As a facilitator of client engagements, Zoom did the job but it never quite felt as good as being there. Welo within Zoom removes that friction and creates a sense of place, movement, and freedom.”
ImpactBasis clients, such as REN21, the renewable energy policy think tank, also use Welo—even in offices where colleagues are co-located. Matt fantasizes about creating a Welo space for all social impact organizations: “Imagine a Welo skyscraper filled with NGOs from around the world in which we could learn from each other and collaborate for good.”
Impact Basis’ Favorite Welo Features
- Customizable visual 3D spaces impart a strong sense of place for our team
- Personalized avatars encourage staff to express their individuality and communicate their status, even when its “Leave me alone”
- Zoom, Miro, Trello, and the other tools our consultants and clients rely on are embedded right in our virtual spaces
- Easy ramp up for low-threshold technology organizations and people