Why You Should Consider A Virtual Office

The global pandemic ushered in a new era in business. It showed that successful businesses could function and be built upon a remote work model. From publicly traded companies, to small businesses, and freelancers, people have learnt to utilize the immense power and potential of the internet and remote tools to deliver compelling results at lower costs than in prior years. The virtual office is an important component of any business’ strategy to modernize and make use of the transformational potential of technology. 

What is a Virtual Office?

A virtual office, or what I like to call, an OasS (Office-as-a-Service), frees you from the cost of owning or leasing a physical office, by bundling the services of such an office and offering them on-demand. Companies and freelancers pay a fee for these services, obtaining them either à la carte, as packages or membership subscriptions. Thus, they give users a flexible means to using office services. 

Virtual offices, therefore, reimagine offices not simply as a physical presence, but in terms of the functions that offices perform. For instance, if a self-employed entrepreneur needs a specific resource such as mail scanning, or a receptionist, they can specifically access those services. They do not have to get a physical office just so they can get mail scanning done or have a receptionist. 

Virtual offices provide, therefore, all the functionality of a real office, such as a receptionist, and when a physical office is needed, a business can access a virtual office’s conference rooms, work space, mailboxes, and printing services. A virtual office may also provide web hosting, cloud storage, email and other such services. 

Virtual Offices Will Reduce Your Cost of Doing Business

The result is that the upfront capital costs of doing business are dramatically reduced, and businesses are able to obtain high levels of flexibility. 

The cost savings of operating a virtual office are powerful enough on their own. Think about it: instead of fixed rentals and paying for, say, a receptionist you may not need all the time, it makes sense to, in effect, pool those costs with other people who also only have an intermittent demand for those services. Instead of investing heavily on capital expenses that do not necessarily create value for shareholders, management can, instead, focus its funds and activity on value-creating activity. For instance, money saved from rentals may be used to buy intellectual property, or, that cash may give the business optionality and security in uncertain environments.

Businesses aren’t the only ones making a saving. Workers save on commuting costs, and get to spend more time at home.Those workers also save in a different way: in recent decades, people have been moving to the South and West, in search of bigger homes, at lower costs. Virtual offices separate work from a specific place of work, and allow workers to have more of a say in where they want to live. For many workers, that means moving to where they believe they can enjoy a higher quality of life. 

Virtual Offices Provide Greater Flexibility

A freelancer may travel the world while maintaining a virtual office, and a business can decentralize and operate out of satellite offices thanks to a virtual office. These are important considerations during the Great Resignation in which workers have resigned from their jobs to pursue careers as freelancers and enjoy greater work-life balance and the chance to live outside big cities, or even travel. These are important considerations at a time when businesses are not just responding to demands by workers for remote work, flexible hours and greater work-life balance, but companies are also realizing that they can perform as well or even better, with more decentralized, remote work models, compared to the older, more centralized, in-person work models. Companies such as Twitter have embraced remote work, and others are now completely remote. It’s not just about freedom and cost-savings, it’s also about the chance to operate a business in a fundamentally different, fundamentally modern way. 

Virtual Offices Help Productivity

Prior to the pandemic, many managers were skeptical that a large business could operate remotely to any meaningful scale. Yet, the pandemic has taught us that we do have the technologies to ensure that teams are able to maintain high levels of communication and collaboration, and that the same or better levels of productivity and efficiency are ensured. 

In fact, many workers found that their productivity improved because they were freed from some of the distractions -a few imposed by their managers- that came from working in a physical office. Workers are better at understanding their energy levels, and budgeting their time and scheduling their tasks than their managers. 

Virtual Offices Allow Your Recruitment to Truly Go Global

Despite the promise of the internet, hiring remains largely home biased. An American company tends to hire Americans, a company in Florida tends to hire Floridian. The result is that companies are not truly able to make use of the global talent pool. That Floridian company is not tapping into all the other 49 states of the Union, for instance. Companies operating across the nation are not really tapping into the global labor pool. 

Virtual offices allow businesses to take their recruitment global because the tie between work and place-of-work is ruptured. If workers can work from anywhere, businesses can hire from anywhere. 

Not only that, given the attractiveness of working from home, a company that uses virtual offices to a meaningful extent, becomes more attractive to workers, wherever they come from. 

Virtual Offices Reduce Liabilities

Virtual offices reduce a business’ current and potential liabilities. They eliminate the need for loads of contracts, such as lease agreements, so that any potential liabilities arising from them are taken off the table. For instance, if you aren’t renting a building, you don’t have utility bills to pay, and you also don’t have to worry that if someone has an accident in your building, you will be liable. Out goes the need for insurance for such liabilities.

Given that virtual offices are on a month-basis, you can always cancel the contract, and move on, if you’re unhappy. You don’t have to carry a huge liability around that you can’t get rid of. 

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.