Why there’s a growing market for the ‘virtual office’
- From an increase in productivity, reduction in commuting costs, and more flexibility, virtual offices are a more cost-efficient solution to modern working.
- Covid-19 has forced the adoption of new ways of working and now organizations must reimagine their work and the role of offices in creating safe, productive, and enjoyable jobs and lives for employees.
Prior to the worldwide reality of locked-down society, this undervaluation of virtual office services could have been excused as technically, the virtual office was still a niche market in the business world. To recall, the foundations for the virtual office concept were first laid back in the 1960s, and ever since the industry has gone from strength to strength.
This year especially has seen a growing number of businesses working remotely due to the Covid-19. During the pre-pandemic era, it didn’t make sense for small businesses to enter into an expensive lease for office space when there’s the option to work remotely as a team.
Some may argue that as a business owner running a company from home, one might be missing out on some of the advantages of having a physical office. But with a virtual office, employers and employees can still access these benefits and personalize usage based on the company’s needs.
To put it briefly, a virtual office (VO) offers an efficient and cost-effective solution to businesses that want to access the conveniences of a professional environment without actually having a physical office. These offices ultimately give remote teams the best of both worlds — for an affordable price, businesses can utilize their VO provider’s amenities without being tied to a conventional lease.
Given businesses are shifting to remote working – some for the long-haul – a number of collaboration tools are also emerging.
The convenience of virtual offices
If there is one thing that we have learned in the months of remote working, is that we can accomplish most tasks remotely without a significant drop in productivity or quality. Most employees appreciate flexibility, especially those with long commute times. Undeniably, face-to-face interaction is required to facilitate collaboration, build relationships, solve complex challenges, and generate ideas.
It is also inevitable that continuous remote work extends the workday, diffuses work-life boundaries, and reduces mental wellbeing. Hence, enterprises adopting this new way of working – “virtual-first” – have these characteristics: One, the workplace is distributed across the home, office, and satellite offices. Employees can choose to work remotely or face-to-face based on their nature of work and teams’ preferences.
Two, the teams are virtually ready and three, the technology enables multiple modes of working. Data is saved on the cloud; access and security are tailored for different working modes, and applications allow seamless virtual collaborations.
Another main and significant advantage of a virtual office is that they are much more cost-effective than a traditional physical office. You pay for a prestigious business address without paying the large rents that come with it which in turn, enables you to keep business expenses low as you reduce costs of commuting and transportation, office equipment, office maintenance, and utilities, the cost of a full-time receptionist, relocation costs, work attire, and all other associated costs of a brick and mortar space.
The most commonly used VO services include phone-answering and reception, mail forwarding, and meeting room scheduling. It can be massively beneficial to have access to these types of services no matter the size of a business is. Instead of hiring another full-time team member or creating an administrative department, virtual offices take all of the menial office tasks off of your plate, allowing you to focus on what’s important.
Another added advantage is when working from anywhere, a company is not restricted to only hiring talent in the area where their office is. A virtual office allows employers to hire the best talent regardless of where they are located. Larger hiring can be done without needing to relocate to bigger premises.