So you have decided to work freelance? How do you go about starting up? Having a physical location is a great starting point since customers get a point of reference for things such as a mailing address, meeting rooms, and call center services. A virtual office affords you all these amenities and much more without the additional costs of a long lease and administration costs.
A virtual office is part of the flexible workspace industry that operates as one unit with a mailing address without one physical address. Some of the services you can access include; space and technology without incurring the overheads in setting up. When doing due diligence before setting up office space in Washington DC, it pays to consider all the alternatives available to get a higher return on investment.
Startups are usually resource-strapped and proper budgeting allows the budding enterprise to focus funds on income-generating activities as opposed to income consumption. In this article, we will evaluate some of the services one should expect from a virtual office to get your business up and running.
Services Provided by A Virtual Office
Whether you are a startup or an established organization looking to set up in a new territory or offer a hybrid work environment, virtual offices offer three primary services that offer a cost-effective alternative to a brick-and-mortar establishment. These include:
- Communication services – A business’s ability to communicate effectively with existing and potential customers can make or break their bottom line. Virtual offices help in managing some critical services such as the following;
- Automated phone answering.
- Local phone number.
- Voicemail service.
- Live phone answering.
- Customer service.
- Fax number.
- Meeting room services – With increased vaccinations and near eradication of COVID, more people have switched from virtual to in-person meetings. These can range from fundraising to meeting suppliers or potential and existing clients. Some of the services one should expect include.
- Conference room use
- Online booking system.
- Video conferencing.
- Private office use.
- Access to a meeting room network
- Presentation tools.
- Registered business address – Virtual offices invest in administrative staff who help in cutting overheads associated with handling office mail. Some of the address services you should expect to receive include;
- Concierge services.
- Courier management.
- Mail forwarding.
- Registered business address.
- Local mail drop off and pick up.
- 24/7 building access.
Now that we have explored the various services available at virtual offices, you might be asking; is a virtual office for me? To answer this, we will explore some advantages and disadvantages of selecting this option.
Advantages of virtual offices:
- Cost-saving – One of the most expensive aspects of owning a business is the brick-and-mortar commercial property. Virtual offices afford you all the benefits of a physical location without the associated overhead costs.
- Professional business address – Before incorporating a company, it’s a legal requirement for the business to have a physical location. It also evokes trust in potential clients when they can gain assurance that the enterprise physically exists.
- Phone & email services – Virtual offices may offer the full array of call center services by providing a reliable phone number taken in your company’s name and messages forwarded to you immediately. This provides a cost-effective way of managing information allowing you to focus on growing your business.
- Flexibility and remote work – With the advent of lockdowns caused by the COVID pandemic, most employers embraced the notion of remote work. Even as more companies return to work, there are those still offering hybrid work environments. Virtual offices enable employers to offer an ambient environment without incurring unnecessarily higher overhead costs.
- Integration of company culture – The traditional office had the benefit of building a strong culture in new hires as they met and interacted with older employees. With virtual offices, socializing and team building become harder which negatively affects the company culture.
- Lack of physical assets – Furnishings and office equipment are critical to the successful functioning of any business. When people work from home, these may be lacking which drastically reduces their output. It remains the onus of the startup or employees to secure an environment that provides all of these services so their productivity isn’t affected.
- Distractions – Remote work may lack the structure commonly afforded by the traditional office. This can be detrimental to affecting employees’ performance.
Whether you are a startup founder or an organization looking to offer employees a hybrid working environment, virtual offices can be a great panacea. They provide businesses with a raft of services in most of the distinguished cities globally helping them focus on their core business for increased productivity.