Virtual office: explanation and benefits for your business
Virtual Offices allow your business to operate from anywhere with an internet connection. Find out all the advantages for both you and your employees.
A team of experts will get you the answers you need to get started with your business.
The virtual office provides an escape from the burden of sourcing large capitals to rent office space for your company. It is therefore a go-to option if you don’t have a large initial capital.
Location is a priority when setting up a business. Every business owner knows that to make maximum sales of their goods and services, locating their businesses in prime areas is of utmost importance.
This is why many start-up companies and new small businesses strive to find an office space in prestigious locations, no matter how small.
Now, this is a good endeavour provided you have the capital for it. Considering the fact that small businesses/companies usually do not have access to large capitals, especially when they are being run by single individuals, locating their company in prime areas thus becomes a problem.
The advent of COVID-19 also saw to the fact that newly incorporated small companies are cropping up. In addition, many employees have gotten used to working from home and would like to continue that way, rendering the office space of their employers almost useless.
Large companies that are insisting on their employees resuming fully for onsite duties are experiencing mass resignations worldwide. In other words, the world has gone digital. Renting an office space when no one may get to use it seems redundant.
Fortunately, the concept of virtual office space had been before now, only gaining more recognition because of the number of people that are looking into that option. However, for people who are unfamiliar with the concept, we shall take some time in this article to showcase the usefulness and importance of making use of virtual offices for your business.
What is a Virtual Office?
When one hears the word virtual, it is natural to think that such a thing exists in the cloud. While this may be true in the case of virtual offices since the company will not be physically located there, the fact still remains that a virtual office is a real estate location with an actual street number and can be found on a map or with the aid of a GPS device.
This kind of offices are legal in the UK since they are physical addresses which is the requirement for an address to be registered with the government.
So, a virtual office is the physical office space in a prime or prestigious location – Wharf Street in London for example, through which a company or business can receive its official correspondences without being physically present there.
The virtual offices are usually provided by service providers who actually own or lease the office block or building. They provide highly trained professionals who receive, sort, forward, and discard mails as per prior request of their clients.
In other words, as many as possible companies can use the same location for their virtual office address – just as in the case of actual office buildings with many companies or firms utilising different floors or wings in the same building.
These virtual offices provide some free services when you sign up. For instance, official mails are handled by trained professionals, scanned unopened and sent via email to you. This means that you get to decide what they do with the mails – either they send them to a predetermined address or open and email you the content.
If they are spam mails from advertising companies for example, making the choice to discard such before it gets to your doorstep becomes easier. Nevertheless, just like physical office space, no matter how small, you’ll need to pay for a virtual office. The providers that make the virtual office available have to lease or buy the physical building themselves. So, getting a free virtual office is a definite no.
A virtual office can also be a coworking space. A coworking space or room is a place that has facilities and is used by different people at a time; people in the building or room may work as a team or individually. Coworking spaces can thus be regarded as common rooms where people come to work together as a team on a common goal or individually with different agendas.
A PO Box can however not be used as a virtual office, especially if you are considering using it as a registered address. Rather, you can pre-register with the Post Office itself to use the street address of the post office as your virtual office address. In such a case, the post office receives your package or mail directly and dispatches it to your address. There are post offices that offer these kinds of services 24/7 these days.
What are the advantages of a Virtual Office?
1. Can be used as mailing, director, and/or registered address – the beauty of a virtual office is that it is not a PO Box and as such can be used as a registered address where official mails from governmental bodies like HMRC and Companies House can be sent.
2. Prestigious citing at low cost – since there are many service providers, all advertising virtual offices in different prestigious locations within London, your company gets the advantage of being perceived as important when such an address is used on important documents. Because your company is not physically present there, you get to pay less for such prime locations.
3. 24/7 access to your mails – you can access your mails from anywhere in the world at any time of the day. This is because any mail or package that comes for you is scanned unopened and sent to you via email as soon as they arrive. So, you don’t have to stress even when you are out of the country.
4. Dedicated phone number and email domain – some service providers offer packages that enable your company to have a dedicated phone number and email domain which gives your company a prestigious outlook and credibility.
5. Call answering and forwarding – many virtual offices come with a dedicated professional secretary who receives your official calls and forwards important ones to your personal phone number. The services providers have teams onsite at each of the addresses who handle your mails and phone calls in a professional manner.
6. Pay-as-you-go office space or room for meetings – supposing you have to host a meeting, the virtual office usually has physical office space or room that is rented out when needed.
7. Local presence in a country where your company is not physically located – if your company is located abroad but you are looking to extend your business into the UK, you can purchase a virtual office in London with which your company would be incorporated. The legal requirement is that the registered address of a company must be in the same country the company is registered, hence the allure of virtual office space especially if you don’t have enough budget to set up physically.
8. Privacy – using a virtual office keeps your home information private and out of the public eye. This is because any address used to register with Companies House becomes automatically listed in their register and available on their website.
9. Reduced overhead and avoid building maintenance costs – when you opt to use a virtual office, you automatically reduce overhead since your employees can work from anywhere. The costs of building maintenance, cleaning and repairs are also avoided.
10. Can be used for a bank account – Any bank, online or physical, requires proof of residency before you can open an account with them. So, if you can have access to a document that shows that from your service provider, you can. Moreover, many banks will allow you to open an account without ever visiting a physical branch. This is done by using a remote verification process in which the bank will contact you via phone or email to verify your identity.
11. Month by month payments and a choice to opt out at any time – you can opt to pay month by month especially if you don’t have enough to pay for extended time. In which case, you can opt out at any time without hassles.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why a virtual office is a good idea.
A virtual office can provide you with a professional presence in a city or location where you do not have a physical office. A virtual office can also save you money on overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, and office furniture.
How to find a virtual office address?
1. First, identify your office needs and the right location your type of business can thrive in.
These will inform your choice of package and address to choose.
A team of experts will get you the answers you need to get started with your business.