Florent Crivello, the Parisian founder of virtual office startup Teamflow, is fond of saying that remote work is missing a certain je ne sais quoi.
He felt that acutely one day in 2018, when he had to handle a crisis as the head of a remote team. Crivello was a product manager for Uber Works at the time, and the platform had just suffered a major outage. He spent the day in a flurry of video calls trying to contain the chaos. By the time he logged off for the night, he was exhausted, alone, and felt like crying.
“I realized what made that moment so painful was the absence of presence,” Crivello said. Two years later—when the pandemic hit and many workers suddenly found themselves alone, exhausted, and on the edge of tears—he left Uber and founded Teamflow, a company created to help remote teams feel a sense of being together with their colleagues.