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What is a Virtual Office?

It seems after nearly 60 years of virtual office use, people can’t seem to altogether agree what a virtual office is. That’s right, virtual offices have been around from 1962, long before the technology boom we’re experiencing today. There’s even been debate about who started the first virtual office concept.

Dictionary.com defines “virtual office” as a business location that is simulated by telecommunications and computer links. Wikipedia says a virtual office “provides addresses (and sometimes communication) services for a fee, without providing dedicated office space. It differs from ‘office business centers’ or ‘executive suites,’ which do provide physical office space and/or meeting rooms.”

Sounds pretty great, right? Read on to find out how it works.

What Does Having a Virtual Office Mean?

The advent of telecommuting has changed how we work and revolutionized many businesses. Because of the internet, people can now work from anywhere in the world, contributing to their employer’s (or their own—if self-employed) success regardless of where they are located. 

For those who like the flexibility of working where they please, but need some of the benefits unique to a permanent office, a virtual office provides you with a viable and affordable solution. It provides the freedom to work from home or remotely while still enjoying a professional business image associated with a real address.

What Services Do Virtual Offices Offer?

At its simplest, a virtual office is a physical address you can rent for your business, without having to actually lease a physical property or office space. In other words, it’s similar to renting a P.O. box for your business, except everyone who sees your address (on a business card, on a search result, etc...) will see it as an actual physical location where you conduct business. 

A virtual office is a service designed for professionals who are tired of dealing with the preconceptions that come with attaching a home address or a P.O. box to their professional business. With a virtual address, you can have a downtown address, without having to actually lease a space and commute to it as your office.

In addition to having a real business address you can put on a card and other sources, virtual offices often come with many of the following features and benefits: 

• Mail receipt and forwarding

• Coworking space, day office, and meeting room rentals

Virtual receptionist services

• Lobby greeter and waiting room

• Administrative and business services

• And many other features depending on the provider

Mail services are a common feature of virtual office services, as one of the biggest reasons to rent a virtual address is so you can send and receive mail from a business address rather than your home address. Most virtual offices also have on-demand office and meeting space, along with a waiting room and a lobby greeter—so if you do need a space to go to and physically work at, or a professional place to meet with clients and partners, you have access to it.

Additionally, depending on the provider, renting virtual office services can give you access to virtual live receptionists, who can help offload work like answering phones, doing minor clerical work, and keeping your schedule. That way, you won’t have to hire a full-time, or even a part-time employee when there might not be the workload to justify it.

What are the Advantages of Virtual Offices?

The above list may be what virtual offices can do, but how exactly do they help? What are the advantages of renting a virtual office? Well, there are plenty of benefits you can enjoy by renting a virtual office and all benefits are designed to help your business grow and thrive. 

First and foremost, with a virtual office you get to enjoy the luxury of an upscale city address, without the overbearing price tag and overhead cost. That address can be used on business cards, internet listings, and so forth, and can facilitate acquiring licenses and certifications. 

Next, you gain access to on-demand meeting space for those occasions when your living room won’t cut it. Meanwhile, you can continue working from home or abroad, and you only pay for the office space you actually use, instead of shelling out thousands a month for a space you only step into from time to time.

Receptionist services help you answer phones, take messages, track schedules, and more, all at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee. And most of all, these affordable virtual office features often come without a long-term contract. You can add what you need and leave off what you don’t, changing your usage according to the ebb and flow of your business. It’s that simple. 

Who Can Benefit from a Virtual Office?

Not every professional needs a virtual office, and not every professional needs one all the time, but a virtual office can certainly benefit those who use them, especially professionals whose work schedule is non-standard. Here are the usual suspects:

• Lawyers & Legal Professionals:

Frequently their work takes them outside the office, whether to the courthouse or to the home of clients. Still, they need a real business address, someone to answer phones and schedule appointments, and occasionally a professional location to meet with clients and those involved with their cases. For more benefits on how a virtual office benefits legal professionals, learn more here.

• Freelancers and Solopreneurs:

Running your own business takes a lot of hard work and initiative, but it also takes a bit of infrastructure. Having a business address gives your business a sense of legitimacy in the eyes of others, and after all, you don’t necessarily want to be advertising your home address when handing out business cards and you definitely don’t want to put your home address on your business’s website

• Consultants:

At least half the job of consulting is looking like you know what you’re doing, and lacking a professional address can damage that image. That’s why consultants often need the legitimacy of a downtown business address to lend credibility to their practice. Rather than spend the majority of their profits on a lease, however, a virtual office can give them what they need for a fraction of the cost.

How do I Find a Virtual Office Provider?

While there is no lack of providers in the industry, each one can differ in their definition of what makes up a virtual office. Make sure you confirm the services you need are included by a Virtual Office provider. Davinci Virtual, for example, includes a local business address, mail receipt and mail forwarding, a lobby directory listing in a physical office building, access to meeting and workspaces, and a lobby greeter in its standard virtual office practice. Keep in mind these amenities vary by provider. 

Contact Us Today

If you think a virtual office might be a good fit for your business, or if you’d like to learn more about how a virtual office can help your business grow, feel free to talk to our team at Davinci Virtual to learn more.

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