Virtual offices have gained more and more popularity within the last few years. Moreover, they came to the attention of many business owners and entrepreneurs owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since virtual offices allow managers and employees of a company to work remotely, without commuting or travelling in order to reach a physical office, they have become the new business norm.
However, business owners should answer some key questions before deciding to switch to a virtual office and quit the traditional office they are in (or any other type of office, such as co-working, a serviced office, or even a home-office for start-ups and small businesses that use their home address as their business address). Below they will find the most important questions and answers that can help them get a complete understanding of virtual offices.
- What is a virtual office?
A virtual office is an office that uses modern technology to provide the same services as a traditional brick and mortar office, such as a business address, telephone answering service, meeting rooms, or mail forwarding, but in “virtual” form (however, all of these services are provided by premium virtual offices and not just ordinary virtual offices). Managers and employees of a company that uses a virtual office can work from anywhere, but clients and suppliers will believe that they operate from a specific location (where the premises of the virtual office provider is located).
- Who needs a virtual office?
A virtual office can be the best choice for online businesses, freelancers, small businesses, and mid-size businesses that need a professional appearance but want to avoid high overhead costs and do not need the physical presence of the managers and employees at a specific location. However, virtual offices are also suitable to large companies (or even big corporations) that want to extend or test the market in a new region but without paying all the high expenses involved by opening a new physical shop or branch office in that specific location.
- Where can a company find a virtual office?
A company can get a near-instant presence in a location by simply contacting a virtual office provider. For example, if a start-up owner is located in Melbourne (meaning that he or she has the home address is Melbourne) the most convenient choice should be contacting a virtual office provider located in Melbourne as well (or, at least, a provider that offers services in Melbourne even if it is located elsewhere). But in theory, business owners can get virtual offices wherever they want. For example, if they are located in Melbourne and want to extend their business to Sydney (or, no matter the reason, they want their business to be “located” just in Sydney even if they operate from Melbourne) they should contact a virtual office provider located in Sydney or a provider that offers virtual office services in Sydney.
- When does a business need a virtual office?
A business may need a virtual office from the very beginning: when a business owner decides to register a new company, the best choice is to use the virtual address provided by the virtual office as a registered and business address. Otherwise, entrepreneurs should start running their companies by using their home address as their business address - which is not a great idea neither for the companies’ reputation nor for their personal safety (because registered business addresses are public in Australia). Of course, they can get a physical office from the beginning and pay high costs before even making a profit, but this is not the most convenient option for businesses that have a limited budget.
- Why does a business need a virtual office?
A business may need a virtual office for a wide range of benefits that they bring. For example, they can bring cost-saving benefits (as it was mentioned before, they help a business reduce high overhead costs), give a business a more credible and legitimate image, provide support for scaling (with a virtual office, a business can easily expand or shrink), offer unlimited access to the talent pool (employees can work remotely from anywhere in the world), and increase productivity (because employees who work remotely and live a healthy work-life balance are happier and more productive and managers who save time by not commuting can focus on more business activities).
- How does a virtual office work?
Once a business owner rents a virtual office, the business can benefit from a range of services. A professional business address is always included in a virtual office while other services can be included in the package, according to the virtual office providers services (for example, not all virtual office providers offer a secure business mailbox) and the company’s needs (for example, a new business owner can answer phone calls at the beginning and get a virtual receptionist service later, as the business starts to grow and have more customers).
- How much does a virtual office cost?
Virtual offices in Australia are extremely affordable. The prices can vary according to the quality and the number of services included in the packages and they can start from $1 or $2 a day. For example, a virtual office that includes just a few basic services can cost around $50 dollars a month, while a premium virtual office that includes various high-quality services can cost around $70 a month. Also, some virtual office providers may have a fixed price for additional services (such as rentable meeting rooms or personalised mail handling). Moreover, some of them can make significant discounts for business owners who need a second or a third virtual address.
To sum up, virtual offices can be a valid alternative to physical offices for a wide range of businesses. In the long term, a virtual office can boost business growth and increase productivity.