Is a virtual office the answer to growing your company or does your business need a physical office? In this article, we go into the pluses and minuses of a virtual office versus a physical office.
We go beyond the obvious advantage of the virtual office, the cost savings and get down to the hub of successful businesses, which is communication.
We’ll cover in detail:
- What is a virtual office?
- What is the advantage of a virtual office?
- Physical offices after COVID and future-proofing
- The hybrid approach and why you need it
- Communication is the key
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office is a collection of services. A business owner can work at home, on the beach, on a train, or anywhere and the business relies on services such as virtual assistants, outsourced freelancers and telephone answering services.
You might also have a mail-handling service to forward letters and parcels. In the background, you’ll be using the Internet for document management (Google Drive, iCloud or Dropbox), perhaps a team messaging service (Slack) and project management (Trello). Video services like Zoom, Skype or MS Teams will come into play.
What are the advantages of a virtual office?
In one word, cost, the lack of office rent, business rates, cleaning, energy bills and more. It is a wonder why many businesses maintain expensive office space. That low cost is the main advantage of the virtual office, Simple, isn’t it? But what other advantages are there to going ‘virtual?’
No more commuting, no more stuck in traffic jams wasting time. Stress is reduced and focus is increased. Interruptions are reduced as you can close your email and place your phone on silent.
Your business is more flexible as you can work anywhere at the time you wish.
But there is one key to making sure your virtual office runs smoothly. See below for ‘Communication is the key.
Physical offices after COVID and future-proofing
COVID was a shock. We all had to adapt and, sadly, many businesses didn’t make it. It could happen again; we do have to be realistic. A virtual office means you can escape many restrictions that may be put in place. In effect, you will have future-proofed your business with a virtual office. The systems will be in place, and your employees and freelancers can work remotely with no disruption.
The hybrid approach and why you need it
Virtual offices have many advantages but they cannot meet face-to-face. Yes. We are used to the world of video meetings and email. They lack a very important element, human contact.
Meeting in person helps increase understanding of customers and employees, helps make collaborations and partnerships and is a positive for our mental health. Many people are different when they are reduced to a virtual presence only. We need human contact for many reasons. We won’t go into the minutiae of communications but having people in the room will help a business thrive.
The answer is a hybrid formed from the major part of your business being virtual BUT with the capacity to meet at a physical address. It can be any type of environment not just a local business centre office rental or hotel syndicate rooms. There are so many different types of venues to hire these days. This could be an advantage, meeting in an unusual venue is going to impress clients, prospects and partners.
Communication is the key
How you manage your time is important and how you communicate with your team when going the virtual office route is going to make or break your business. What is needed is a reliable, professional and skilled Comms system, and a dedicated phone answering team. A team that will weed out what you don’t need (cold sales calls for example), be a constant ‘branded’ voice to promote your business and deal with prospects and customer enquiries, along with the ability to coordinate your virtual team.
Your business is best to future-proof itself with the advantages of a virtual office. But a company does need a physical office to keep the human element in its business, hence thinking in terms of the hybrid approach.
That physical office is easy to move to interesting venues, making your business unique and agile.
What you are going to need to make this happen is a core telephone answering team like us. Try our FREE trial or give us a call on 01582 540540 to find out how we will help.