Who Uses Virtual Offices? [6 Types of People & Businesses Who Benefit]
Virtual Offices Gear Up for Post-Pandemic
While growth rates for virtual offices slowed during the pandemic, they are revving back up and positioned to continue climbing to new heights. Coworking space, for example, is predicted to sustain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% through 2025. Other virtual office components like rented day offices and meeting rooms will also see similar growth trajectories.
While businesses are instituting some form of return-to-office policies, the majority recognize that a return to pre-pandemic where workers spend hours driving to and from a fixed workspace five days a week. Hybrid work models are seen as a better alternative. Workers spend part of their week working from an assigned business workspace and the rest of the week working from their home offices or coworking space and day offices in closer proximity to where they live. Some businesses elected to reduce or eliminate permanent office space that comes with long-term leases—electing to use virtual office addresses and virtual offices. And for a growing number of workers, remote work is now possible all of the time.
A study by WFH Research finds that around 30% of U.S. workers will qualify for hybrid work arrangements and about 15% will be fully remote (viz., work from home). This is a dramatic change from before the pandemic, when work-from-home models accounted for around 5% of the workforce. In all, this adds up to nearly half of all jobs remaining hybrid or fully remote post-pandemic.
At the same time, when workers perform work is also changing. A few organizations, such as Bolt, The Wanderlust Group, and Buffer, are dabbling in four-day workweeks. A new study by LinkedIn on “2022 Global Talent Trends” finds that workers are driving these and other work flexibility changes. The top priority for workers in picking a new job is work-life balance (63%), followed by compensation and benefits (60%) and colleagues and culture (40%). For businesses that offer their workers greater flexibility, the return is increased productivity, lower turnover and better retention rates, and a happier and healthier workforce. Indeed, the aforementioned report found that workers are 2.6x more likely to report being happy and 2.1x more likely to recommend working at a company when they can choose their location and work schedules.
Industries and Professionals That Gain the Most from Virtual Offices
Virtual offices benefit many industries and workers, though not all. Manufacturing, for example, requires most workers in the sector to be in a physical facility. The same is true for retail, hospitality, travel, transportation, and others. Most workers in these industry areas must be in the office in order to work. The line of demarcation largely falls across blue and white collar workers, with the former needing to be in a physical facility and the latter having much greater latitude when it comes to where—and even when—they perform work.
The following is a brief overview of the industries and business professionals that get the most value out of virtual offices:
Virtual Offices for Startups in Technology, Professional Services, and More
Startup companies have a lot to gain from virtual offices. Getting locked into long-term leases for permanent, fixed workspace comes with numerous disadvantages. To begin, most office space that startups can afford are not in locations that garner respect and imbue the first impressions a business wants. Second, startups often end up paying for workspace they don’t need as they must plan for future growth over the tenure of the lease. Finally, permanent office space is expensive and can consume a lot of valuable income flow that could be allocated for product development, hiring more employees, or marketing to fuel business growth.
Virtual office space through providers like Davinci Meeting Rooms are a much better option for startups. You only pay for the workspace you need and when you need it. The virtual office locations are in locations that demand immediate respect and instill the first impressions you want customers and partners to have in their first in-person interactions with your business. When a startup needs a larger location or needs to relocate to a new area of the city (e.g., from San Francisco to the Peninsula Area in Silicon Valley), then can easily do so; there is no leases to break and penalties to pay. Startups also have the ability to leverage virtual offices when on business travel—whether meetings with prospects and clients in different cities or countries or expansion into new locations.
Virtual Offices for Healthcare Firms
The adoption of telemedicine exploded during the pandemic, which is certain to remain a preferred method of diagnosing and treating certain patients post-pandemic. This led many healthcare providers to downsize their physical permanent office space, with doctors, nurses, and administrators electing to schedule meetings in rented virtual meeting rooms; use cases range from staff meetings, to interviews with job candidates, to patient consultations, to other non-health-related meetings.
Virtual offices come with the technology tools and infrastructure healthcare professionals need to remain productive and deliver great patient care. Reliable, highly reliable, 24x7 internet access is at the top of the list. But other business accoutrements, such as a lobby greeter, administrative services, faxing and photocopying, and more, are also critical. Many healthcare services do not need to occur in a physical office environment; virtual offices make it easier to recruit and retain workers, as they can work from locations closer to where they live, while reducing real estate costs. Numerous healthcare functions can take place in virtual offices: accounts receivable and payable, cash posting, denial management, clinical and physician advisory services, customer service, analytics, IT support, and more.
Virtual Offices for Financial Services
Like the healthcare industry, financial services firms also see significant benefits from virtual offices. A recent PwC study found that almost 30% of financial companies had workers working from home at least once a week. This shot up to nearly 70% during the pandemic. Now that businesses and managers discovered that workers are more productive when not required to spend hours, often in traffic congestion, driving to and from work five days each week. As a result, 69% of financial services executives plan to allow employers to work from their home offices at least once per week. Employees resoundingly like this idea and data confirms that employers will find it easier to recruit and retain top talent as a result.
Beyond the above benefits, financial services firms gain other advantages from virtual offices—locations that garner respect and generate great first impressions, greater flexibility when a temporary office is needed in a new location or staffing requirements fluctuate, and an infrastructure-ready workplace with the technology and administrative support financial services staff need to collaborate and remain productive.
Virtual Offices for Legal Firms
Law offices require highly professional office space. But permanent office space is expensive and leases lock legal firms into long-term costs that cannot be cancelled without a huge penalty. Even though legal firms saw historic gains last year, experts anticipate the same level of growth will be difficult to sustain this year. Optimization of capital and operating budgets can play an important role—and leveraging virtual offices can certainly help. Top legal talent can be difficult to find and retain; using virtual office space that is closer to where legal and administrative staff live reduces the amount of commute time.
Virtual offices also come technology and services legal firms need such as high-speed internet, faxing and copying, a lobby greeter, administrative support, catering services, and more. They also come with day offices legal professionals often require for certain client interactions as well as meeting space configured for the amount of space needed. Davinci Meeting Rooms, for example, can be vetted based on size and the presentation and collaboration tools required for a meeting.
Virtual Offices for Freelancers and Solopreneurs
For most freelancers and solopreneurs (tech workers, financial planners, solo-lawyers, and consultants, among others), a permanent office makes no sense at all—from cost to lack of flexibility. But working from a home office five days a week may not make sense either. Home offices often have various distractions and research shows that some professionals struggle with loneliness when working from home every day.
Even if just once a week, freelancers and solopreneurs benefit from working in a virtual office environment. And when a freelancer or solopreneur needs a professional meeting space for a client or prospect meeting, virtual offices give them the option of one that is close to their client or prospect that is fully equipped for whatever need arises—whether faxing or photocopying business documents, notary services, a lobby greeter to greet clients and prospects and provide them with directions, or catering services. Finally, for freelancers and solopreneurs who travel, virtual offices give them the ability to have a professional workspace wherever they might be—in the U.S. or around the world in different countries.
Virtual Offices for Real Estate Firms and Professionals
The real estate industry and professionals gain significant advantages when they use virtual offices. Permanent offices are a huge expenditure, which is exacerbated by the fact that brand presence is critical in real estate, and they require long-term commitments. Real-estate professionals are highly mobile as well, and the ability to schedule meetings with clients and other relators in locations that are in close proximity to properties they are viewing or showing.
Virtual offices come with the presentation and collaboration tools and administrative services relators often need in their daily work. Sometimes a relator may simply need a coworking space for a couple hours. In other instances, a relator might need a day office due to the confidentiality of the work they’re doing. And when they need a meeting room, virtual offices have those, too.
Find the Right Virtual Office Provider
As businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers return to offices and in-person meetings, both permanent and virtual offices will play a role. There are a lot of options when it comes to virtual office providers, and it is important to find the right provider. Davinci Meeting Rooms offers over 20,000 office spaces in more than 5,500 locations in 50-plus countries. Businesses and professionals can quickly and easily book coworking space, day offices, and rented meeting rooms—by the hour or day. At the same time, businesses and professionals can leverage other Davinci Virtual offerings such as live receptionists, live web chat, and more.