While physical offices were once the norm, flexible workspaces are now becoming a favored option for non-traditional businesses.
One of these alternatives is a virtual office. These spaces provide organizations with a physical address where employees may come in to use utilities, machines, and other services when necessary.
But how many people even use virtual offices?
In a study by uSamp, 65% of its 1000 respondents work for a company that allows its employees to work remotely. Many of them come from small companies.
This observation isn’t entirely surprising. Freelancers and startups typically prefer a flexible work plan that allows them to work outside of the typical workspace.
You know what’s shocking, though?
69% of the respondents from large companies said that their workplace allows employees to work remotely.
With that large of a market, why are these virtual offices so successful? What pulls people toward these services? Let’s look at the key benefits of a virtual office.
Provides a Physical Address
Many freelancers often have problems when it comes to providing a physical address.
Why is that an issue?
For one, many of these individuals work from home. Would you be comfortable handing out business cards with your home address stated on it? Would you feel safe with your house pinpointed on a map on your website? We didn’t think so.
Moreover, clients may not feel as confident seeing an obscure address on your business card either.
A virtual office allows you the perks of having a physical address. Such would allow you to continue to work comfortably from your own home without worrying about your safety and that of your loved ones. Likewise, the location on your card and website can instill greater credence in your clients.
The address your virtual office provides is part of your corporate identity. It gives a greater sense of legitimacy and professionalism to your organization or startup. The option of having a physical space ready also allows you to meet with clients face-to-face so you can better understand their needs.
Virtual office providers may also be part of professional groups, allowing you to connect or network with other businesses and organizations. For instance, CircleHub is an official member of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce.
Allows Greater Flexibility
A common issue with traditional workspaces is that it can be somewhat confining. Employees have to come to a specific location and work within a set time frame.
Virtual offices provide flexibility in two ways:
- When you work
- Where you work
Firstly, you have control over your schedule when it comes to this alternative arrangement. Organizations that adopt this set-up often value meeting targets over following a strict work schedule. As long as you finish the important tasks, you can work whatever time you want.
What does this mean for you?
Your work schedule no longer dictates what you can do outside of your job. This benefit is especially appealing to those who have families. You’ll be able to pick up your children from school, attend activities, and spend more time with your loved ones.
Secondly, you also have the authority to choose where you work. If you need to travel for personal reasons, your job will no longer hinder you from doing so. You can continue whatever tasks you need to finish, no matter where you find yourself.
Similarly, working outside of a stuffy office can help your creativity. People who work remotely also often work from cafes, as well as co-working spaces where they can collaborate with other individuals.
Increases Job Satisfaction
As mentioned earlier, workers look toward flexibility when it comes to working.
When employees have the freedom to choose where they work and what schedule to follow, companies can see an increase in job satisfaction.
Remote workers believe they have greater autonomy, are less stressed, and have a sense of work-life balance.
Those who haven’t tried alternative working arrangements worry that distractions outside of the office may affect productivity.
Are their concerns well-founded?
A study from the journal Personnel Psychology shows that employees from IBM believed they were more productive when doing their jobs from a virtual office. They also held the opinion that there was higher morale within the company.
As mentioned earlier, companies that make use of virtual offices focus more on their targets than requiring their employees to work certain hours. They put more value on output rather than time. You can then concentrate on doing your actual job instead of staying in the office on a schedule, where you may end up wasting time.
One cost that traditional offices have to consider is rent. This expense would either mean acquiring property—which can be especially tedious—or renting from a landlord. Physical space can be a significant expense. As more and more businesses open, prices tend to rise because of increased demand.
Do you know what else they have to worry about?
Paying for utilities. Water, electricity, and internet bills can become expensive as well.
How is a virtual office beneficial in this situation?
Typically, these providers can supply you with all of these services under a single fee. You pay for a virtual office without having to worry about rent, utilities, and other overhead costs.
To start with, you may not even make use of the physical space. As you and your employees work remotely, you won’t have to pay for electricity, water, and other things they’ll be using up. Many of these people will be working from their own homes or in a cafe somewhere else.
Provides Virtual Assistants or Receptionists
Speaking of costs, you know what else you can save on?
In a traditional set-up, you’d have to post a hiring ad, read through resumes, and screen applicants. Then you’d need to train the new hire and pay their salary. Sometimes, receptionists don’t even work the entire time they’re there as calls and clients may not come in very often.
A virtual office can make things more efficient for everyone:
Many providers will offer the services of a virtual assistant or receptionist.
How will they handle your calls and mail, you ask?
Providers often let their clients train or instruct the assistant on how they want their calls and mail handled. They may ask the receptionist to forward calls or simply take messages when necessary. As for mail, most companies ask the office to deliver it to their respective homes. You can also decide to pick it up if you live nearby.
It’s more efficient in the sense that they may take calls for different organizations that are clients of the virtual office provider.
Makes The Business Environmentally-Friendly
Another benefit of virtual offices is that it’s more eco-friendly.
But why should businesses consider being environmentally-friendly anyway?
It’s about sustainability. Not only does it allow your businesses to save more, it helps the planet, allowing us to continue operating our companies for a long time.
Here’s how a virtual office is more eco-friendly:
- Employees no longer need to commute to go to work, thus resulting in lower carbon emissions.
- Virtual office clients also take up less space since they share the same physical office. Employees only come in when necessary.
- People share the same tools and equipment, such as printers, phones, scanners, and the like. Workers only use them when needed.
- There’s a considerable reduction in energy and water consumption.
- Clients keep most of their data, information, and files on a cloud-based database. There’s little to no need for paper or physical copies of such.
Gives You Access to a Larger Talent Pool
During your screening process to hire a new employee, you find someone who’s a perfect fit for your company. They share the same ideals, have all the necessary qualifications, and show a genuine interest in working with your team.
And then a problem arises: they are unable to relocate to where your company is based. They withdraw their application, and you lose someone who would have been a star player in your organization.
With virtual offices and a flexible work plan, this wouldn’t be a problem.
In fact, you’d have a larger talent pool in the first place. Thus, your organization can hire from the best of the best, regardless of where they live.
Since employees don’t have to report to a physical location, you could find your next employee of the year in a different continent.
Makes For Easy Expansion
So you find that your business is booming. What do you do next?
However, most businesses would have issues with this development.
- They’re required to scout for a new location.
- They need to hire people within that area.
- They have to look into the possible market in that place.
With virtual offices, the expansion comes with fewer concerns.
- Location won’t be as big of an issue. You’ll still be working remotely while you simply sign up for another virtual office with a different physical address.
- Your employees won’t have to go to or come from a specific area except for the occasional team or client meeting.
- Your clients may come from several different locations, allowing for a broader market to which you can cater.
Lets You Avoid Long-Term Commitment Problems
Commitment isn’t always for everyone. Such is true when it comes to relationships as well as rent.
When you rent an office long-term, several issues may arise:
- You may have problems getting along with other tenants.
- You may have to relocate before the contract has ended, and you could incur high costs when terminating your lease early.
- Long-term leases are often cheaper in the long-run but too expensive for a startup to pay upfront.
With virtual offices, providers often offer their services on a month-to-month contract. This arrangement frees you from making commitments that are difficult to terminate.
- If you run into disagreements with other clients or tenants, you can search for another service provider.
- Switching providers is more feasible if you plan on relocating and want a virtual office close to where you’re moving. You don’t have to wait before the end of the contract.
- Prices of virtual offices are more affordable for freelancers and startups.
Provides You Access to a List of Amenities
Aside from the things we’ve already mentioned, there is an array of amenities that virtual office providers can supply you with.
Conference rooms are standard perks. These spaces are available if you need to meet face-to-face with a client. Some places, such as Circle Hub, will even offer refreshments as part of the deal. A kitchen and breakroom are other facilities your business may enjoy.
Imagine that? All of these great amenities are available bundled in a single fee and contract. Virtual offices really do provide you with great convenience and ease of mind.
To sum things up, virtual offices are beneficial in many ways.
These providers lend legitimacy and professionalism to small, often home-based businesses. They also allow employees more control over what time and where they work, resulting in greater job satisfaction and productivity.
Likewise, the business can save on overhead costs, have a professional receptionist, and help in sustaining the planet. Because of its flexible nature, your organization will also gain a larger talent pool from which to hire. It also allows startups to avoid confining long-term contracts, giving way for easier expansion and quicker relocation. Add all these plus access to available amenities, and virtual offices are an excellent option for businesses of all sizes.
Without question, these workspaces give you the convenience of not having to manage things all on your own.
How do you find the best virtual office for your business?
Providers such as CircleHub often offer a tour for potential clients. This feature allows you to check out a place before you sign a contract with them. A tour will help you get a better understanding of what you’re getting should you choose to sign a contract.
Knowing all these benefits, why not consider virtual offices for your organization? See for yourself why businesses—big and small—enjoy the virtual office life.