Virtual Offices: if you don’t know what they are, you’re not alone. A Virtual Office can look like many things, but most often includes services like communication and address. These two main services can get divided into all kinds of different sub-services, meaning that no two virtual office offerings are exactly alike. But generally, this is not an office you actually spend time at doing work (though there are some exceptions). We’ll examine the pros and cons of the virtual office, while offering some alternative models along the way.
Communication. This is one of the big benefits of a virtual office. Your VO will likely include a “receptionist”, a real person who answers the phone and directs the calls to the proper channels. It might also handle your voicemail. Another big benefit is the address. Instead of listing your business address as “3012 I Work From Home Avenue”, you’ll have a much more impressive mailing address, in an impressive building. Of course, this won’t be where you spend your time, but in some situations you may be able to rent meeting spaces in this building by the hour. Again, VOs are versatile; to find exactly the situation you’re looking for, you’ll have to do your own research.
Address. As stated above, all mailing communications can be directed to your business address. In addition to this, you may have letter directing services as an option. Some VOs offer even more comprehensive communication direction, within the bounds of services most often associated with call center and brand management specialists.
In the end, this sort of model will offer a lot to a certain type of professional or small business. While the P.O. Box that is typically assigned at the address will not work for some companies, it can help a new business get on its feet. But are there alternatives?
Yes. In addition to virtual offices, there are real flesh and blood offices which are shared by independent individuals and corporations. There are lots of small businesses and independent professionals, who want an impressive office space, but can’t afford that much real estate on their own. Shared office spaces are often controlled by independent companies, who act almost like hotel managers for their clients. In the best of this model, the furnishings are impressive, perfect for an important client meeting. Everything this kept clean and tidy by an independent staff. Web and infrastructure connectivity is fast and top-notch. Someone is even in charge of keeping the coffee pot full, so you don’t have to.
Between these two options, Virtual office and Shared co-working spaces, most independent professionals and small companies should be able to afford a new standard of professionalism, even if they can’t afford the full scale accommodations that a large company enjoys. Many great companies and careers have started using services just like these. If you are ready to make the jump, research what is available in your area and start to see what difference it makes in your business growth and productivity.