There is no one definition of a virtual office, as the idea can be adapted to many different work situations. In general terms, however, it refers to a business set-up with no centralized location; communications, filing and paperwork can be outsourced and most importantly, the user gets the benefit of office services and meeting rooms but with a huge amount of flexibility. The businesses that use these services prefer the method for a number of reasons, including:
Save on office space
A virtual office maintains lines of communications between employees, but staff can be based wherever suits them. This means you avoid soaring rents on prime city-centre offices, but still get to keep that impressive address on your website and business cards. Business costs can also be reduced by employing freelance and contract workers, meaning you don’t fork out on things like holiday pay.
Of course, when you get rid of the office location, you and your staff will save on travel and expenses during the day. As well as putting more money back in the coffers, this can reduce your carbon footprint quite dramatically. Using virtual technology like conference calling, renting rooms only when they’re needed, and saving the energy needed to run an office building are huge steps towards going green.
Flexibility and support
Being more flexible is a key advantage to having a virtual office. You can base yourself at home, choose your working hours and balance work and private life with much more ease. The same goes for everyone on board, making for more co-operative working relations and adaptable support. Moreover, most virtual office providers will offer a remote reception service full-time, to make sure the lines always stay open.
If you consider all the overhead costs required to run an office space, it soon becomes clear why virtual offices are becoming more widespread, particularly amongst smaller companies and start-ups. It can be a much more cost-effective, intuitive way to run things both for the short and long-term – as cloud storage becomes more reliable, energy costs rise, and more and more jobs can be done from home, virtual offices may be the next big thing in the future of business.