The idea of a virtual office is not an entirely new concept. It is, however, highly underrated.
With the rise of COVID-19 though, it is currently rising in popularity as more and more offices promote a work-from-home set up for the safety of their employees. Additionally, the increasing overhead costs of office spaces are pushing startup owners to turn to virtual offices instead of the traditional office.
A comprehensive virtual office service comes with features that used to be exclusive towards the traditional office setup. This includes a usable business address, a business phone number, a live receptionist service, a parcel handling service, and even meeting rooms on-demand.
Take note that a virtual office should not be mistaken for a coworking space. A coworking space is essentially a communal working area with office equipment that everyone can use, quite different from what a virtual office is.
The industry rose to prominence as a cost-effective alternative to startup business owners. Virtual offices provide all of the necessary features that a traditional office offers sans the office space. For most companies, this is a blessing as it allows their employees to work from anywhere!
Companies from various industries are using virtual offices, a testament to the flexibility that virtual offices present organizations with. The list of industries includes:
- Financial and Legal consultancy firms
- Software Tech
- Real Estate
- eCommerce & Retail
Aside from its core features, many are overlooking the other advantages of having a virtual office. Here we discuss five underrated benefits of having a virtual office.
No Office Lease!
While it is a dead giveaway that a virtual office reduces overhead costs, many do not realize just how much companies can save when they sign with a virtual office. In this article from The Guardian, Bete’s Spray Nozzles manufacturers state that their transition from a traditional office to a virtual office model saves them over £50,000 or almost $65, 000 a year.
By encouraging their employees to work from home, Ivan Zytynski, Marketing director of Bete’s Spray Nozzles, notes that their company does not have to pay so much for office space. On average, a UK office worker would require a 13.5 sq m office which could cost up to £4,000 or $5, 200 a year. Across the sea, the average office space in New York costs a whopping $30 to $70 per square foot. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on an office lease. These are resources that could’ve otherwise gone to more fruitful ventures.
Less Manpower Needed
When you sign up with a virtual office, you also sidestep other costs that could inflate your overhead. You only need to hire the workforce that you really require. Without the physical office space, the company does not have to hire a receptionist, security guards, cleaning staff, and the like.
The average annual salary of a receptionist, a security guard, and a cleaning crew is about $30,000 – $35,000 each. This does not include the benefits that you have to provide. Moreover, an office space will need office equipment and other fixtures such as lighting, computer chairs, desks, printers, coffee makers, etc. You don’t need a Ph.D. to realize that a virtual office saves companies hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, not just on the lease but also manpower.
With a virtual office, you get to choose where your mailing address would be. A business mailing address is a requirement for most legal documents. On that end, you can choose just about anywhere, but everyone knows that location will always play a factor in building brand authority.
An office in New York, for instance, would easily influence potential clients with the promise of prestige and credibility. Simply put, a business card with the address of a New York office would definitely look more inviting than say one from Texas or Missouri.
Employee Work-Life Balance
The idea that one has to be working in an office setup to be productive is a hoax. The rise of cloud-based systems and other project management software has proven that a work-from-home setup can boost productivity. Forbes recently published an article stating that companies with employees working from home experienced a 47% increase in productivity.
Inside their own homes, employees feel safe and relaxed. From their perspective, they simply have to get up in the morning, open their computer, and start working. They don’t waste a single minute trapped in traffic or other unpleasant situations like being cramped inside a full subway train.
Did you know that an average American spends almost 19 full days a year just stuck in traffic on their commute to work? With a work-from-home setup, you save your employees the trouble of having to wake up at 5 in the morning just to be at the office by 7 o’clock. Cliche as it may sound, but with a virtual office, you give your employees the gift of time.
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of a virtual office is that you can easily hire talents from all over the world. This allows companies to reduce their overhead costs further. More than that, it will enable you to tap into the bright minds in developing countries. Take a chance by hiring a few offshore staff, and you’ll realize that they are more than capable of helping your company achieve new heights.