Virtual offices are no exception to the trend of digitizing the workforce. By utilizing virtual offices, we can work from anywhere, reduce operating costs, and get better night’s sleep by saving commute time.
There is no doubt that virtual offices have enhanced the way we work in many ways, but no system is perfect. To help you decide if virtual offices are right for you, we’ll explore their advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of a Virtual Office for a Small Business
Even businesses without physical locations should maintain a certain level of professionalism so that they remain competitive. Your clients and potential customers cannot be impressed with your professionalism by knowing you work from the kitchen table or in your basement. Using your home address for business purposes won’t deliver an image of professionalism, but using a post office box could be worse. This type of address may cause potential clients to feel uneasy about your credibility.
A home address or P.O. box not only turns away potential clients, but Google does not like these addresses either. When your business lists a virtual office address in the “Google My Business” listing, Google ranks it better.
2. Save Money
Having virtual office space also provides the additional advantage of significantly reducing the costs associated with renting physical office space, furnishing the space and purchasing equipment and telephone systems associated with a traditional office layout.
Aside from saving money on office expenses, virtual offices also allow you to avoid weekly commutes to the office. Time is money, so think about what you are spending it on! By commuting for two hours every day, you could have earned money and worked on your business during those ten hours each week.
3. Reduced Risk
Thirdly, a virtual office lowers your start-up or small business’ risk. The costs of furnishing and equipping an office are not necessary, so you will have fewer non-operational liabilities because there are fewer resources tied up.
Small businesses can benefit from lower risk when diversifying and expanding into new markets. If you want to appear to be physically present in another market, you can easily set up another inexpensive virtual office solution.
Virtual offices also allow you to work whenever and wherever suits you best. As an added benefit, you won’t have to be confined to one place all day to perform your normal duties. And if you use a VoIP virtual office solution, it offers an extension that you can use no matter where you go in the world.
You can meet with clients or colleagues in person when you have a virtual office at an office business center. The photocopiers as well as the incoming fax machines are available for very low costs.
5. Mail Service
Using a mail service program is an advantage for virtual office clients. Using this program, you can provide your clients with a professional address for sending you mail. Once the mail has been sent, it can be redirected to your designated address, whether locally or internationally, or faxed to you.
6. Telephone Message and Mail Service
You can incorporate telephone answering services into virtual offices. Some services also provide a 24/7 telephone answering service. It is easier to separate your professional and personal lives when you have a dedicated business number. In addition, you will have your business calls answered at all times.
Aspects Of Virtual Offices Perceived As Disadvantages
1. Work requires a physical location
Employees who work from virtual offices are located in a variety of places. As there is no base office for employees, they can’t connect or meet each other or have real-life meetings with clients. Thus, virtual offices may not be the best fit for businesses that require physical space and physical interaction to accomplish their goals.
2. Social isolation due to a lack of personal interaction
The lack of social interaction between employees is believed to be one disadvantage of working from a virtual office. Extroverts who thrive on human interaction may easily dismiss this disadvantage, but it can be particularly challenging for them. Virtual office situations make it difficult for employees to interact with each other unless they step out to a coffee shop or a local library.
3. Lack of Motivation
It has also been reported that working from a virtual office can be distracting and lack motivation, which can negatively impact morale and productivity. People who require constant supervision and have self-discipline issues may find a virtual office arrangement unmotivating.
An additional disadvantage of a virtual office is the lack of communication between employees. A teleconference, email, text message, or social media communication cannot replace an in-person conversation. Most often, written communications can leave us blind to subtle non-verbal cues.
As a result, poor communication can occur or comments may be misinterpreted – which can sometimes prolong interactions that could be brought to an end by a short phone call. Employees will feel less stressed once they become accustomed to non-verbal communication.
Working in a virtual team requires extra effort when it comes to relationships. The process of assessing and implementing strategies to improve a company’s virtual culture may take some time and resources. Building and maintaining trust with teammates is an essential part of establishing relationships. Communicate clearly what your team is expected to do. Assist them in succeeding by providing them with the tools they need.