Virtual Office: Why Your Team Needs It and How to Find One

Virtual Office: Why Your Team Needs It & How to Choose the Ideal One

In this guest post, David Campbell of Right Inbox discusses what a virtual office means, how it can benefit remote teams, and how to choose the perfect one. 


With virtual offices becoming popular these days, you’re surrounded by numerous options, especially in a metropolitan area. If you’re wondering how to spot the ideal virtual office, follow the tips below. 

Because virtual offices eliminate the need for high startup costs such as renovation, furniture, power, and internet connectivity, they tend to be cheaper than long-term office rentals. This factor makes virtual office spaces a cost-effective option for businesses. Choosing the ideal virtual office is not a straightforward decision. After all, this is a choice that will impact the success of your business.

What is a Virtual Office?

The idea of the virtual office originated from the executive suite industry. It was later launched in 1994 by Ralph Gregory when he established “The Virtual Office Inc.” Today, virtual offices have become quite popular as they minimize overhead costs. 

A virtual office is a flexible workspace solution that gives businesses a combination of services, technology, and spaces without incurring the cost of owning or leasing a traditional office. 

A business gets a set of virtual and physical products that facilitate a hybrid work environment. They get virtual solutions such as live content sharing and audio/video conferencing for remote meetings. This is actually a big deal as it gives you room to spend your budget on other solutions. Essentially, it leaves you with a bigger budget to spend on other vital tools like CRM, email verification, and productivity solutions to scale your business rapidly. 

A virtual office also includes a physical address in a desirable location where you can meet your team members, clients, or investors for a few hours if needed. You also get communication services, e.g., sales dialers, customer service, a local phone number, business address services, and meeting room services. These services are available for a monthly or annual fee that is a fraction of the costs of a full-time office rental. 



Why Is a Virtual Office a Great Fit for Remote Teams?

Virtual offices are an excellent fit for remote teams because they can sometimes make it easier to communicate and collaborate. If you’ve worked remotely before, you probably know the challenges of communicating with a team member on Slack if you don’t work hard at remote communication. You can spend 15 minutes messaging your team member and waiting for a follow-up each time — especially if you’re not used to asynchronous communication. Despite email features like reminders, notifications, and the nudge option on, you can sometimes lose track of meetings and pending emails, making communication more challenging. 

Virtual offices also bring teams together by providing access to coworking spaces. One of the challenges facing remote workers can be loneliness. A recent state of remote work report shows that the top concerns of remote workers are loneliness (24%) and not being able to unplug from work (25%). In coworking spaces, workers can physically meet with their team members or other like-minded individuals. Some coworking spaces have a snack bar or a common area where employees can spend their recreational time.  

Lastly, virtual offices help remote workers find the proper work-life balance. The boundaries between work and personal time can get blurred in remote working, and some employees end up working beyond their work shifts. A recent study showed that 55% of remote employees work, on average, more hours than they do at the office. 

The virtual office changes all that by providing employees with an alternative location where they can work. Also, the automation tools that permit employees to clock in and out of the virtual office create that much-needed separation between work and personal time that can go missing in remote working environments. 

The technologies used, coworking spaces, communication support features, and a physical business address are all factors that make virtual spaces a worthwhile option for a remote team. 



What Do the Best Virtual Offices Have in Common?

The best virtual offices provide a professional business address in your desired location. The address becomes the company’s identity. That means you can communicate with your providers to have the address included in your online listings, company documents, and client correspondence.

Such an office provides you with a category of spaces. You get access to on-demand meeting/conference rooms. The virtual office is also technology-focused as they incorporate automation, exceptional digital products, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things. 

An ideal virtual office has excellent services with a flexible payment schedule and depending on your work style, you can access services such as a 24/7 reception team. 

What Should You Look for in a Virtual Office?

There are many options for virtual offices in the market, especially if you’re located in a large metropolitan area. It may be difficult to spot the right fit. But here are four factors to help you find the ideal virtual office for your business

Membership Terms

Membership terms are a legal contract that lays out the expectations between the client and the provider. It contains details about the cost of membership, restrictions under the contract, obligations of the client and the service provider, and liability exemptions that protect the provider from being sued by the client. 

Unlike a traditional lease, a membership term contract is more flexible when you consider cost and duration. You can cancel the contract anytime or within a relatively short window of time. You only pay for the services you require and can upscale when your business expands. 

The agreement consists of parts such as:

  • The virtual office space address 
  • The provider & client’s name & address 
  • Limits of occupancy, e.g., the client must not sublet in part or in whole any of their interests in the sub-office space 
  • The monthly fee, payment terms, and payment schedule

The client’s and the provider’s signatures are at the end of the membership agreement. You should ensure that you’ve read and understood the agreement before signing. 



Location

Virtual office providers allow you to choose a preferred location where you’d meet with your clients or team members. You should choose a realistic location for your business that’s easily accessible for you, your clients, and your team. Also, it should be a place with access to structures that are important to you, e.g., a parking lot. 

You should choose a location that’s likely to appeal to your target clients. Having a business address in an appealing city center will likely boost your brand image and credibility. Although there’s nothing wrong with having an address in a rural location, such an address lacks the impact of a city-center business address. 

You may find a provider with multiple locations within your preferred city. That means you can work in whatever space that meets most of your needs, which is great for the traveling professional. 

Meeting Room Availability

A virtual office with conference and meeting rooms that members can utilize when needed is vital. Maybe you’re a startup or a small business, and you feel that you may never need such a space. However, as your business grows, having a place for productive and focused remote-work meeting rooms could become vital. 

You can look for a provider who will give you as much space as you need, no matter the size of your business. You will not need to book for weeks or months in advance, and you get to schedule meetings plus use the phone reception without incurring any extra costs. When you eliminate the concern for space, you get to focus on completing your strategic objectives — including workforce expansion.

Costs

Virtual office spaces come with different costs depending on the services and amenities offered. If you opt for a virtual office in a reputable or prestigious business location like Manhattan, the cost may be higher than one in a mid-market location. 

Costs for virtual offices vary widely. Some companies offer a basic plan for core services like a business address, mail receipt with a local pick-up station, plus mail forwarding services at an extra cost. Alternatively, a comprehensive plan will likely include add-ons like a telephone number and receptionist support. 

Every virtual office space has different terms for what is included in the quotation. Some offices may limit access to services like printing and copying. You need to ask for a clear breakdown of costs at the beginning before entering into a formal contract. Then pick an office that gives a decent balance between your available budget and business needs.

In Closing

Virtual offices have grown in popularity as many businesses opt for them. These offices are cheaper and more flexible than traditional offices. They are also beneficial to remote workers as they access coworking physical spaces in distinct locations. The factors mentioned will help you choose the perfect virtual office for your team. Once you find the right one, you can focus on completing your strategic objectives and fulfilling your goals with ease.


David Campbell

Author Bio

David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.




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