Popular among small businesses and newly established start-ups, virtual offices are a convenient and cost-effective method of having most of the functionality of maintaining an office at a fraction of the cost. A virtual office gives businesses a physical address and office relation services such as a mailing address, meeting rooms, phone answering services etc. The offices operate as one unit but do not have a fixed physical location – instead, the employees are allowed to work remotely and carry out the functions of an office without the heavy overheads of renting or leasing office space and retaining administrative staff. These have become increasingly popular with advancements in telecommunication technology which promote remote working as well as cultural shifts, which have been enhanced with the COVID-19 pandemic encouraging offices to shift towards virtual spaces. Obtaining virtual office services from providers such as virtual offices Australia is generally cheaper than leasing or renting physical space for an office and gives most businesses the same services, especially if the physical location provides no inherent benefit – such as for start-ups and businesses in the service industry.
Advantages of Virtual Offices
The primary advantage of using a virtual office is the decreased costs. Maintaining a physical office space involves expenses such as rent, lease and retaining the services of administrative and miscellaneous staff necessary for the upkeep of a physical space. This is all eliminated with the use of virtual offices since it does not need to be staffed and the lease for a virtual office is much cheaper and more flexible than one for a traditional office space.
Virtual offices can provide almost all the services a full-fledged office can, including telephone answering, videoconferencing services, and a mailing address allowing a small business to obtain these services at an earlier stage as the investment is much smaller.
Disadvantages of Virtual Offices
Since the virtual office relies on telecommunication technology, the workflow can be disturbed by breakdowns in service. Additionally, most packages would not offer unlimited access to the telecommunication services of a virtual office at the same price which would make it more expensive as usage increases.
Virtual offices may be found to be less flexible than owning a physical space as the operating hours are restricted to the providers’ agreement. Certain businesses may find this lack of flexibility limiting to their area of operations.
Certain employees may prefer to work physically as opposed to working from home and there may be productivity concerns for working from home, although it is more likely than not that workers who work from home are more productive due to the lack of time spent on commuting and other necessities that generally do not factor when working from home.
Virtual offices are an important tool for budding business, which, if used effectively will provide an array of services which will help develop their business presence and brand before having traditional access to the services provided. Although it is unlikely that they would completely replace offices, the option is welcome to many organisations.