Virtual offices offer a cost advantage in times of rising living and energy costs.
The world of work has been undergoing digital change since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, so the classic office’s transformation is in full swing. Many things are now possible in everyday office life that were not considered feasible a few years ago: the complete digitization of communication and work processes and remote and home offices. After countless online meetings, virtual offices are a possible next step, especially for startups and small teams, offering cost advantages.
The way we work together has changed a lot in the last two years. Since then, team collaboration in many companies is no longer limited to people sitting together in one place. Digital means of communication such as video calls and instant messaging services provide the technological prerequisites. Still, the view of working as a remote team has also changed in people’s minds and is gaining ever broader acceptance. Due to the particular circumstances caused by the corona pandemic, companies across all industries and sectors have become more open to remote work and home offices. Suddenly, it no longer matters where employees are located. Because it is evident to all that the productivity of workers:
Companies have positive experiences with flexible organizational structures and increased agility. Today, multi-local and virtual work is increasingly being done in agile teams. In this way, experts – often external ones – are integrated into existing groups flexibly and as required, no matter where they are. They work together as virtual teams on joint projects. And, if the team members work from different locations, an office is no longer necessary in many cases. However, for companies in many sectors, an office address, possibly even in a prestigious area, is still relevant for a professional appearance. A virtual office can be a solution here.
Virtual And Yet Existent
The concept of a virtual office is easy to explain: For a fixed monthly price, the “tenants” receive an official business address and a range of office-related services. This includes, for example, your business number with professional telephone service or postal services.
Call answering services with live receptionists answer incoming calls directly as if they belong to the respective company. You can transfer callers, greet customers, answer fundamental business questions, and book appointments. These services help businesses look highly professional, but they also ensure that employees are not interrupted by calls throughout the day and can focus on their actual work. Mail services include, for example, the ability to receive mail in the virtual office or have it forwarded to a private address.
Other offers, such as access to office or meeting rooms at the appropriate address, can usually be booked like a hotel room. Team meetings or discussions with external parties can also occur in person in the office. In these cases, receptionists are on site to greet customers, suppliers, or investors and guide them into the meeting room to give the company a professional image. They can also assist with the usual tasks of administrative assistants.
Virtual offices typically come with complete “business suites” that can be used depending on the membership plan. Here, tenants have access to fax, printing, and SaaS tools and devices that they may not have access to in their home office.
Virtual offices are interesting for companies that want to work flexibly and remotely with their employees but still do not want to do without a representative business address. The costs for a virtual location are usually much lower than for physical office space – not only in terms of rent but also in the expenses for appropriate equipment and furniture and the payment of ancillary costs. In addition, there are usually no long-term leases for virtual offices. This makes the model particularly interesting for startups or agile companies in a growth phase.
Advantages Of A Virtual Office
- Flexibility. Because you are not tied to a geographical location, companies have a much larger pool of potential employees and external experts at their disposal. In this way, the selection of team members is not limited by location. In addition, the values that are becoming increasingly important for many people today, such as freedom and flexibility, are lived by teams working purely remotely.
- Cost-efficiency. A virtual office is significantly lower than renting traditional office space. In addition, there are no expenses for furniture, insurance, and additional charges. Office-related services can usually be booked at low prices and as required. In the US, it is estimated that companies can save up to $11,000 per employee by fully migrating to remote work, thereby eliminating their overall office costs.
- Professional appearance. It is often relevant for startups or the self-employed to have a physical business address to appear professional and established in front of investors or business partners. In many virtual offices, the “tenants” even have the option of attaching a company sign. A business address in a representative location also helps to strengthen trust in the company.
- Privacy and security. Many startups or small companies where employees work entirely remotely do not have a “real” office. The private address of the founders or business owners is usually used as the official business address and then listed in all documents. Under certain circumstances, this can pose a data protection or security problem because the private address can be found quickly with a quick Google search. Companies get a physical mailing address on all official documents with a virtual office, making it harder for third parties to find the founders’ address. In addition, this also eliminates the costs and organizational activities for changing the business address,
The decision for a virtual office is much more than just a real estate issue. The company’s work culture and organizational structure play a decisive role here. In many companies, the way of working has changed significantly in the past two years and so have the requirements for an office. Flexible working models such as remote work are the order today and are required above all by the employees. In times of Corona, the stigma that successful companies have a prestigious office in which all employees work together from Monday to Friday has also disappeared.
These developments show that virtual offices can be a sensible option, especially for startups, the self-employed, or small companies that work flexibly and remotely with different experts. Especially in times of inflation and rising energy prices, the office cost factor is significant for many young companies. Accessing a professional working environment at the business address for meetings or conferences without incurring the costs associated with a commercial lease can be a tremendous advantage.
Suppose you follow the current hype surrounding the Metaverse. In that case, it is even conceivable that more and more companies will create virtual office environments in the future in which employees move as avatars. These can be designed so interactively that chance encounters and hallway conversations are possible. Even if this is still a future dream, one thing is sure: the post-Corona office world is changing.