Have you heard about a virtual office? This is an innovation that allows enterprises to forgo the overhead costs of a long lease and administrative staff with the benefit of accessing a physical address and other office-related services.
With remote and hybrid work gaining in popularity, virtual offices offer a great solution to startups and established businesses. Most businesses want to establish in large cities or towns for a higher customer reach. For instance, you can get virtual office space in Raleigh where you will access traditional office services as well as web-based office productivity software and services such as video-conferencing.
Virtual offices have been known to increase employee productivity by freeing work from administrative tasks such as; printing, receiving and answering calls, and other manual-related work.
Advantages and Disadvantages Virtual Offices
Before you decide to build your company’s presence with a virtual office, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of this solution. This way, you get to take full advantage of the full array of services on offer.
Traditional offices incur a monthly or annual lease fee that can be quite restrictive for startups. For established companies, this flexibility allows them to conduct market feasibility studies before launching in new markets without incurring additional costs. Businesses are also able to access better technological services at a fraction of the cost without incurring additional setup maintenance costs.
Virtual offices can attract a wider pool of talent if they allow employees to work from other cities or jurisdictions. This can provide a competitive advantage, especially where an enterprise looks to expand to a new location. Without the need for additional costs in; insurance, taxes physical supplies, and facilities, a business can hire quickly to enable them to service customers more quickly than with traditional offices.
The ability to access a physical mailing address, telephone answering services, and videoconferencing technology offers small businesses an aura of prestige and professionalism. Multiple locations also allow the enterprise to offer services in various regions without incurring additional setup costs.
Communication is an essential element of a successful business. The lack of social interactivity through face-to-face contact may lead to misinterpretation of messages sent through emails or over the phone. A major pain point noted has been coordinating meetings especially when employees live in different time zones.
Also, the use of some services such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing may be limited affecting business operations. Users can also experience the inflexibility in accessing the services past some hours and on weekends when one may want to work optimally by avoiding distractions from other users. This will affect the productivity of workers.
After exploring the pros and cons of virtual offices, you may still not be convinced whether this option is for you. Answering the following questions will guide you to determine whether to opt for this or use the traditional approach:
- Are you a cash-strapped startup?
- Do you want to investigate the stormy industry or market waters before committing to a long-term lease or mortgage?
- Does your business work optimally in a virtual environment?
- Are your employees willing to work remotely; from home or adopt a hybrid working environment?
By answering these questions, the idea of whether to go for a virtual office or not will have crystallized and you can commit your resources based on this guide. The budget you allocate for such a space should include the following:
- A professional, comfortable workspace is available to you through the week with a well-stocked break-out area.
- Wi-fi and Ethernet access.
- Access to conference rooms and meeting spaces.
- A community of professionals with whom you can network with.
- A professional receptionist to; receive clients, and handle incoming and outgoing calls and mail.
Virtual offices allow employees, customers, and suppliers to interact seamlessly regardless of their physical office location. They were a critical asset in many business continuity plans during the COVID-19 interruptions allowing companies to continue offering services professionally at a fraction of the cost. Virtual offices are not ideal for all types of businesses depending on their level of operations. It’s important for entrepreneurs and business operations managers to conduct proper due diligence before settling on virtual offices as a choice for office space.