The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses and people to rethink the way they work. And the biggest indicator of this is the shift to remote working — virtual offices have become the rule instead of the exception. In this article, we’ll discuss what virtual offices are and what you can get out of them. Check it out!
What is Virtual Office?
A virtual office is a company that doesn’t have a fixed location but functions as a unit. They provide goods and services to customers by relying heavily on the internet.
Staff also uses the internet to exchange documents, attend video conferences, and communicate. As such, the employees are often working remotely in different cities.
Some of the most common productivity tools you might need when running a virtual office include:
- Google Docs
What does a Virtual Office Provide?
Virtual office services offer many perks and inclusions for companies. You have the following:
Business postal address:
This makes your business look more professional and “official”.
This helps you set up meetings in and around your virtual office.
These eliminate the need for full-time desks.
Phone answering and voicemail services:
This feature helps manage your incoming calls; you won’t have to offer your mobile number.
These are standard offers by virtual offices, but make sure to check with the provider about what you can and can’t get.
Advantages of Virtual Offices
Virtual offices offer many benefits, including the following:
You can use the 2–3 hours of commute time to do more productive things. Having a virtual office eliminates the need for tedious daily commutes and gives you back power over your time.
Access to global talent:
Since you’re not chained to a single physical location, you can hire more talented people from around the world that you’d otherwise have no access to.
Less overhead fee:
You don’t have to worry about any office lease, utility payments, and other costs associated with having a brick-and-mortar office. These savings can add to your margin and investment in your people.
In a recent study, companies have been shown to shift their employees to remote work permanently. That’s because of the productivity that it offers, not to mention the savings.
Less management and greater flexibility:
Virtual offices only require people to use the right tool; little direct management is needed, and employees enjoy greater flexibility to develop their workflow and productivity habits. This can result in creativity and innovation.
Disadvantages of Virtual Offices
However, virtual offices also have some drawbacks, including:
Integrating into company culture:
Having a traditional space makes it easy to build a strong company culture. New employees meet co-workers in person and form stronger relationships. Socializing and team-building make require more effort in virtual offices.
Most employees in virtual offices work from home, and homes sometimes have many distractions. When there’s little to no structure in your workstation, distractions can easily dampen your overall productivity.
With a virtual office, you have no physical assets like printers, boardrooms, and other equipment and furnishing. Your employees shoulder the task of producing the right environment and equipment to do the work to the best of their abilities.
Since virtual offices rely heavily on technology, online tools, and the internet, technical difficulties can significantly disrupt your workflow. If the technical issues last for hours or days, productivity goes down, too.
Separation of work and life:
Arguably the biggest downside of virtual offices, difficulties in maintaining work-life balance can affect not only individual employees but also the whole business. The line between work and line becomes blurred, and it’s difficult to unplug at the end of the day since you stay in the same location. This increases stress levels.