Virtual office services started in the year of 1960s and have advanced with technology which includes a wide selection of personnel/ physical space, digital storage, and communication services. A virtual office is part of the coworking industry that provides organizations with a blend of services like space, technology, without these organizations bearing the capital expenses unlike of a traditional office. Businesses pay a contract fee for these services which may be offered as packages or membership subscription. This concept is very popular with businesses of all sizes, including self-employed entrepreneurs and startups One of the prime attractions of the virtual office is the flexibility it offers for employees and freelancers to work from a satellite office, home office, remote location or even on mobile device. At the same time, a company can offer its clients and employees a stable home office with access to a wide range of amenities like receptionist, conference rooms, desk space, mail slot, printing and faxing at a permanent address, which are owned and maintained by the virtual office provider. Virtual offices operate as one unit to serve customers but do not exist in any fixed location. This type of set up is especially popular with startups and small businesses that want to minimize overhead costs. The creation modern technologies such as web-based office productivity software and services, such as videoconferencing, has helped drive the growth in virtual offices.
A virtual office can also lead to greater efficiency as the services offered by this setup free workers from administrative tasks, as well as commutes. Each employee can work from the location that is most convenient for them, and the business is not restricted to hiring employees who live locally. As more people prefers to work remotely, the benefits of a virtual office are immediately evident. Some may find scheduling of virtual office space no different than the time-consuming scheduling conflicts inherent in a physical office.
- A virtual office can be defined as a company that operates as one unit but has a physical mailing address but does not exist on a location.
- The development of modern devices such as videoconferencing and messaging services has led to the improved and increased usage of the virtual office.
- The costs of operating a virtual office is much less than a traditional office, and that is why this type of set up is popular among small businesses and startups.
- A virtual office layout expands job options for employees and more hiring options for corporations.
- virtual office is considered a less expensive option for enterprise, some services, like phone answering and videoconferencing, might have limited availability.
Virtual office services may include a wide range of physical and digital services, this service structure is shared with the relevant individuals and organizations wailing these services allowing resources to be utilized more efficiently.
Physical Service may include the following:
- Business Address
- Mail service
- Conference Room
- Private Cabin /Desk Space
- Receptionist Services
- Storage Space
- Notary Services
Digital Services may include the following:
- Phone Number
- Online Phone System
- Virtual Assistance
- E-mail and website domain
- Video Conferencing
- Online Digital Storage
- Cloud based applications
- Video Talking
Advantages of a Virtual Office:
The attraction of a virtual office to users is dual: First, the monthly cost of a virtual office is far less than that of a traditional office. This kind of setup has none of the maintenance and upkeep costs, nor does it need to be supervised. A virtual office can also be acquired with a month-to-month lease which means there is greater flexibility in case a user's business changes.
Second, a virtual office can also provide a mailing address, telephone answering, and videoconferencing services which can help a small business appear larger than it with all these modern services. It also can provide a physical address (or multiple addresses) for users to meet clients, premium address can lend an aura of prestige to a virtual office user, such as if the address is a well-known location or street and a professional phone answering service can have the same effect.
Disadvantages of a Virtual Office:
There are some services that a virtual office arrangement offers require pre-planning to operate. For example, many packages of virtual office come with limited use of conference rooms or limited teleconferencing and videoconferencing services. Virtual offices also may have restricted access during night and weekends which a users may find the lack of flexibility limiting and inconvenient. There is also the potential for distractions that come with working from home and therefore some workers might not be as productive when operating in a virtual office environment.