Why a virtual office could be a smart business move
The last two years have been tough almost across the board. No matter which industry your business is in, there is no doubt it has been touched in some way by the pandemic.
Of course, some businesses, namely ecommerce concerns have not only weathered the storm but in many ways, thrived. Others hit the wall. The ones who survived are going to have to look at how they go forward, and business practices for many will have to change.
One major change to employers and employees alike was the rise in remote working. In one survey, 70% of respondents said they were working remotely full time in 2021, according to Statista.
Remote working has been embraced by many and is definitely here to stay. If nothing else it has helped workers to operate more effectively, and companies to lower overheads. However, a business still needs a location and an address that clients can contact.
One answer to this area may be the virtual office.
What are virtual offices?
Renting office space can be costly, and many companies could do without this expense. This may be notably true for start-ups and small businesses. In 2020, numerous companies started to ditch office space as remote working came in. While this led to financial benefits, it also led to start-ups wondering where to direct phone calls and mail to.
A virtual office is different from co-working spaces, or serviced offices, in that the business using the address doesn’t operate out of the physical site. Instead of renting physical space in a building, you are instead renting the address.
This means that phone calls and mail can go to a city center address, and then be redirected to your own devices or working location. Often there will be other services available.
What services are offered in a virtual office?
Although a virtual office isn’t intended to be used as a workspace, they will normally have meeting rooms available so that you can meet clients at the address you are listed at.
They will also offer customized reception services, video-conferencing, call redirect, spam mail removal, and other support.
In effect, all the services you would expect a receptionist to offer will be available, plus a few more. This can help improve the image your client first receives.
Why would anyone need a virtual office?
The reasons for using a virtual office range from time-saving, financial benefits, to brand image.
Having a landline number in a city center with a receptionist answering for you will help give your company professionalism, and save you time. Small startups need to concentrate on many areas, and answering the phone can be distracting. However, you also cannot afford to miss calls that may be from potential clients.
A virtual office may improve branding, or a business’s image, to a degree. If you are looking for tips to help you build the right brand image, then a prestigious address cannot hurt. A proper meeting room to conduct business in will also help with this area.
For a small business using remote workers, having a central base for meetings and an address is very advantageous. Many startups operate out of spare bedrooms and attic space, which is not ideal for giving out the right image.
What advantages come from using a virtual office?
Using a virtual office in London can help to exude the image that you want for your company. It can also mean helping your finances be spent in areas where they are needed more.
Using a virtual office means there is no requirement to rent a physical workspace. This in turn means that many areas can be bypassed such as employing extra staff.
Post can be scanned for junk mail. Telephone calls from marketers can also be avoided by having the virtual office handle them.
Using a virtual office also means that you can look highly professional and established while you are literally just beginning to operate. Alternatively, a virtual office can be used to give the impression that you operate in more than one region.
Could a virtual office help with business expansion?
Any company that wants to expand into another region but isn’t ready for an actual physical move could use a virtual office. For instance, an ecommerce firm operating in Oregon, US, could easily open a virtual office in London, England, to give the impression that they have multiple offices.
All business for this example company is conducted over the internet. Therefore there is little reason why a virtual expansion wouldn’t benefit a company not financially ready to move into other regions.
How does a virtual office help a start-up, and its workers?
Any business, and start-ups, in particular, want to find the best talent to help them grow. With so much business being conducted internationally, and over the internet, it makes sense to search far and wide to build a team from the best there is.
Remote working has made this a possibility. No longer does a team of workers need to be located in the same office or building even. A virtual office gives a company the facade they need to show that they are a genuine entity, while the workers can be located anywhere in the world.
According to the World Economic Forum, over 60% of remote workers do not want to return to the office once the pandemic finally ends. Therefore, it makes sense to be flexible in the way employees are hired if the best talent is to be utilized.
A virtual office also reduces costs which are always a major factor for a start-up. Becoming financially stable as quickly as possible is always a priority.
What negatives come with using a virtual office?
There are several packages and options available with virtual office operators. This can lead to the monthly fees being more than expected as services are added. The savings on a physical office location compared to a virtual one may not be as much as expected once reception duties, mail scanning, and other services have been added.
You may find that conference rooms are booked up when you need them urgently. There could also be technical difficulties with the virtual office which impact your communications with clients. These areas will all be out of your control with a virtual office.
Largely though, the negatives of using a virtual office may come down to remote working more than the actual service you are using. Having a successful remote team will need some work to create a proper bond, and physical meetings may not be possible.
Could a virtual office be right for you?
A virtual office is a way for many small businesses to cut overheads, and become more efficient. In 2022, one of the best tips to launch a successful start-up may be to work remotely with talent from across the planet. A virtual office could help this to happen.
Many remote workers and their employers are reporting that productivity has improved. Workers themselves are more autonomous and have more time to themselves.
Couple this with the time saved by avoiding nuisance calls, opening unwanted marketing mail, and reduced costs. Together with the company image, a prestigious address can give, and a virtual office may be a smart business move. Everything appears to become more virtual these days, so why not the office?