Thanks to the digital revolution traditional working environment will never be the same. In many cases, work is no longer the place you go to, but rather the tools, skills, and devices you need to have to complete a task, no matter where your location is. Legacy offices are gradually giving place to coworking spaces, and many startups, small firms, and solopreneurs are discovering the benefits of virtual offices.
Technopedia interprets a virtual office meaning as a broad term for various work environments that can be accessed thanks to the Internet and computer technology. Technically, you and your team can work from any corner of the world as long as you have an Internet connection, an app or a collaboration tool that is needed for your work.
There are also virtual office providers who, at a reasonable price, can give you a business address, offer their mail forwarding and/or phone answering services. Getting a business address may cost as little as $15 monthly + a set-up fee, while mailing services together with phone reception would cost you an additional $150-200. Copying, scanning, filing, mail merge, notary and other associated services might also be available at an extra price.
First and foremost, virtual offices allow you to save on the overhead costs. It’s not a secret that after employee salaries rent is often the highest cost for a small business. By not leasing a physical office and bearing the costs associated with its maintenance micro firms and startups can manage to save a few thousand dollars annually.
A virtual office is leaner than a coworking space. In a coworking space, you need to pay at least a couple of hundreds of dollars a month to secure a floating desk in a physical area – the same amount you spend annually on an exclusive business address provided by a virtual office. Besides, what you get is not a P.O. address but an individualized suite number in a usually prestigious office building. This will give a better impression of your company to potential clients.
With a coworking space, you get a physical work environment you can operate from rather than a virtual address and the services associated with the latter.
Now that we have touched upon why use a virtual office let’s consider their advantages and downsides. A low price is the most significant benefit we have already mentioned.
Another advantage of a virtual office is the fact that it requires little to no management. Some virtual office providers also offer conference room services that can be used for client meetings whenever such a need arises.
To sum up the advantages, an address in a prestigious part of the city, telephone answering and video conferencing services create a positive image of your company, while you don’t have to pay much for those services.
On the downside, a virtual office means no physical office space is available to work from on a daily basis. The service package you will get from a virtual office space may be a limited one (i.e., there can be a restriction on the quantity of teleconference calls or mail forwarding services, etc.)
Considering coworking spaces and virtual offices pros and cons, offering virtual memberships in a shared workspace could make for a perfect solution for those independent professionals looking for a physical work environment at a low price with a possibility to obtain a business address.
In their turn, coworking operators can derive financial benefits by offering a virtual address and meeting room services, which present an additional stream of revenue.