One of the many changes COVID-19 forced upon us (for better or worse) is the need for professionals to work from home. Working from home became no longer just an option, or a benefit of some positions; it is now a necessity for so many businesses to stay in operation. The transition to virtual offices by entrepreneurs and solo practitioners has been on the incline, but now the option of a virtual office is challenging the need for traditional brick and mortar offices, just as e-commerce made virtual storefronts so much more prevalent. But, how does working from a virtual office differ from working from home, or a traditional office setting?
A virtual office gives you the freedom to work from home (or wherever you or your team are), maintain the legitimacy of having a professional address and a place to meet with clients as needed without the high overhead of a long-term lease, utility costs, internet fees, insurance, cleaning expenses and headaches of having another physical space to be responsible for.
Whether you are a freelancer working from home or a team of professionals now forced to work primarily from home, here is how you can expect to benefit from a virtual office:
Low overhead. We touched on this already but it is worth mentioning again. The cost of space here in Key West (or any popular city for that matter) is not cheap, and the amount you may spend on rent for an underutilized building or office could be allocated to other areas of your business that require support. Next to payroll, facilities and associated costs are often the largest expense for businesses. Eliminate these expenses with a virtual office and by maximizing use of technology. When you need to meet with your team or make a client presentation, reserve a private meeting space and pay for the space you need, when you need it.
Work where you want. With a virtual office, you receive a professional address and a place to receive your mail and packages without having to publicize your home address. Use this address for business registrations and other listings, such as Google My Business, Bing Places or Yahoo! Local. Your virtual office address can be used on your business cards, stationary, websites and marketing materials. But when it comes to where you actually work – that could be from your home, the beach, your favorite coffee shop, on a plane or across the world. The flexibility of a virtual office allows you to maintain a consistent address for official purposes and your clients, but work wherever is best for you.
Latest technology. Technology brings us together even when we are apart. In-person meetings aren’t always necessary and connecting with colleagues or clients across the country shouldn’t require time out of the office and costly travel. Rely on web and video conferencing that is available with a virtual office. But technology is quickly changing and always improving, so instead of investing in this costly equipment for your occasional use, benefit from shared equipment that is regularly maintained and updated.
Unrestricted footprint. A virtual office is perfect for a freelancer. It’s also perfect for teams working remotely and those looking to establish their business in a new market. With a virtual office, you are not confined to the size of your building, or the geographic location of your main office or your colleagues, or a defined talent pool radius for hiring purposes. Using a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone system set up by your virtual office team, obtain local or toll-free numbers that can be customized to extend your professional presence to clients calling your business. Virtual attendants can route your call to different colleagues all over the US, forward calls to mobile phones or take messages for you so you never miss an important call. When you are expanding, virtual offices help you establish your standing in a new market with a local address and phone number without the long term commitment of an office lease.
More time to focus on what matters. Managing the details of a facility is time stolen from advancing your business goals. With a virtual office, you can forget about the maintenance and upkeep of a building or office space and spend time on the areas of your business that make you money.