Virtual Offices Services: What You Need to Know
According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, there are 100 million new startups every year. That’s 3 new businesses every second. Most of these new startups have very limited resources and staff, so they may not have the ability to maintain a physical office, and renting an office is not cheap. Depending on the city you want to have an office in, rent could be a few hundred to a few thousand per month. Even if your company can afford to rent an office for a few months, there is no certainty that you will make enough money to continue paying for the space. You do not want to be locked into a lease with no way to pay.
Renting an office might be a pain, but there are some undeniable benefits that come with a physical office. The professional meeting space, formal business address, and communal company space are elements that can be great for your company and clients. Thankfully, there are alternatives to a physical office where you still get all the benefits.
The rapid advancements in technology have created many new things, including new ways to work. Technology has enabled the modern workplace to be one of great flexibility. More people than ever are working remotely through the Internet, but this has been a common practice for years. However, thanks to technology there is a new kind of office popping up, the virtual office.
What Is a Virtual Office?
A virtual office is surprisingly similar to a serviced office, but done virtually. By blending people, place, technology, and processes businesses or individuals are able to work more efficiently. Virtual offices act as an à la carte service provider. This means a business can add and subtract services as their needs change. These services range from a front desk receptionist to a place for receiving mail. You can even rent ‘hot desks’ or private spaces for short time use through a virtual office service. The full list of services a virtual office can potentially offer is extensive. Chances are, if your business needs a service, a virtual office provider can help.
Private Mail, Coworking Spaces, and Virtual Offices
You may be thinking that your business doesn’t need anything more than maybe just a mailbox or a desk. You can get a private mailbox for your business that will take care of all your mail needs. However, a private mailbox offers nothing other than mail services. Chances are, your private mailbox will be in a retail setting, meaning there are no places to sit and do work. The retail center is there only for mail, nothing else.
By contrast, coworking spaces are mainly a place for businesses to rent desks in an open floor plan. It is not uncommon for coworking spaces to also have mail services, although not all of them do. If your company just needs a place to work and meet, coworking spaces might be a good option. It is worth noting that coworking spaces and virtual offices exist in the same place, linking the two services.
Virtual offices generally have receptionists, mail services, desks for rent, as well as conference rooms available to rent by the hour or day. The physical working spaces often come with services like Wi-Fi, whiteboards, catering capabilities, and more. Virtual offices are a combination of private mailboxes and coworking spaces. You get a private mail address and space for your employees to work in addition to more services.
Using a virtual office adds credibility to your business. Having a private mailing address or a receptionist fielding calls rather than an executive makes a better first impression. Should you need to meet clients in person, having a professional meeting room will get things off on the right foot. It is generally better to conduct business meetings in a private place, rather than a coffee shop, so that the environment does not distract from the conversation and members of the public cannot overhear. By making everyone comfortable in a dedicated room, you are making your customers more confident in doing business with you.
As touched on previously, virtual offices offer businesses the ultimate degree of flexibility. Virtual office services are commonly hired by the month, so you can adjust services should your needs change over time. Do be careful not to get locked into a lengthy contract for virtual services if you are looking for flexibility, as that agreement is no different than signing a traditional lease.
Many businesses are run from personal residences. This practice can save you money, but it means compromising your personal privacy. Listing your personal address as your business address logistically works, but you run the risk of customers turning up at your house. A virtual office keeps your home address private while listing a business address for customers.
By not using your personal address for your company, you leave yourself free to live wherever you see fit. Want to move across the country? Go for it. The virtual office will keep your business address the same while you travel to your heart's content.
Virtual office companies have to store your information, usually in the cloud or on a database. These storage methods are generally secure and will function without issue, but like any computer, they are at the mercy of the electrical system them are plugged into. Power surges, blown circuit breakers, power outages, and other issues can impact your information. Be aware that nothing is 100% secure, so have a backup plan should something go awry.
Virtual offices are a product of modern times. Thanks to technology, companies have more options than ever. Virtual offices allow a business to add the services they need without being charged for ones they don't or being locked into a lease. Take advantage of the benefits virtual offices gives a business.