Innovation is a crucial skill in business. Our world is evolving at an incredible pace, and it seems like there’s a better solution for every work-related concern that we have. The office, however, has been constant throughout this time. Systems may be updated and organizations may change, but the concept remains the same: workers go to the office to get work done, then go home when they’re finished.
Although this system has worked well for many years, there are also several downsides to it. For example, many people don’t have the luxury of living near their offices and need to commute to get there. Many offices are also not conducive to work. Forbes published about how open-floor plans and cubicle farms are harmful to workers’ health. What if there was a better alternative?
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office is a flexible workspace industry that provides businesses with any combination of services, space, or technology without bearing the capital expenses of owning or leasing a traditional office. The ‘office’ as it exists, is not based in a single building or area, although a virtual office still has a business address. Employees may work from home or wherever they want to. However, a virtual office remains committed to the same goal, the same company, and the same work ethic.
Where did the idea for virtual office space come from?
The idea for a virtual office can be traced back to the industrial revolution – where the scheme of working from home began. It was an offshoot of the concept of telecommuting, which started in 1970. A virtual office wasn’t available to many users back then, and so wasn’t feasible. It wasn’t until the early 1990s when the term ‘virtual office’ was trademarked in the UK by Richard Nissen. However, the most definitive step came in 2006 when Frank Cottle began wholesaling virtual office packages for widespread use.
How to Set Up a Virtual Office
Setting up a virtual office may seem complicated, but the truth is it’s simple when you know the basic requirements. First, you’ll need equipment. This may include laptops, cameras, and other tools – depending on your business. Your equipment will form the backbone of your office and will be for employees’ use.
Next, you’ll need to select a method for staying connected. You can choose to purchase a virtual office service or avail of free ones such as Skype, Gmail, and Slack. You’ll then move your data to the cloud instead of storing it on your local connection. This will enable your employees to access it wherever they may be. And that’s it! You’re done with your virtual office set-up.
Tools and Resources You Need
The tools and resources will depend on your business. For example, if you’re dealing with sensitive material such as financial accounts, you would want to purchase high-end tools such as laptops with built-in security encryption. On the other hand, if you’re a start-up with a limited budget, you may ask your team to use their own gadgets in the meantime.
You can also decide whether to require cameras for everyone. A rule of thumb is you should at least have a phone, a receptionist to answer it, and messaging systems. You’ll also need to find a cloud service where you can upload your data securely and allow everyone to access it.
Thankfully, there are various small business phone solutions that make it possible to communicate with team members and clients from any device.
Setting Up A Business Address
Not having a physical office does not mean that you’ll be missing a business address. You can always set up a virtual business address. Many services are providing this on the internet. Just purchase one, select an address that you believe will be the best fit for your business, and acquire it instantly!
Hiring a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant is an integral part of your team, and their role will be to assist you and your company in its growth. Many virtual assistants are freelancers, so the best way to look for them is through online job sites. A few of the most trusted websites are Indeed, LinkedIn, FlexJobs, and LinkUp. Remember to post precise job requirements and objectives to find the right fit. You can also include a brief company background or your webpage’s link.
How do virtual offices work?
Virtual offices work the same way as any regular office, except that you’re not in the same space as everyone else. In a virtual office, you can conduct meetings through video conferencing. You can also set tasks and email them to your assistants. Moreover, you can upload a file in the cloud that a co-worker needs instead of handing it to them personally.
What are the features and benefits of a virtual office?
Virtual offices have lower overhead costs than traditional offices because you don’t spend as much on the area’s upkeep. It’s also more efficient for businesses or employees who regularly travel, as there will be less interruption in the workflow. Below is a summary of the key advantages of a virtual office:
- Employees are more active and healthier – they don’t have to sit for more than 10 hours a day.
- Flexibility lessens the need for vacation days.
- The power of outsourcing and working with worldwide talents are incredible.
- Save money on technology – gadget use and upgrade is the employee’s responsibility.
- Increased productivity. We all have different productive hours, and letting your employees work at their own pace will help them deliver satisfactory results.
What does a virtual office provide?
A virtual office provides many things:
- Business postal address
- Emailing and video conferencing
- Virtual receptionist
- Phone answering and voicemail services
- Cloud services
A business address in a virtual office is where all your physical communication is sent, and it makes your business look ‘official.’ Virtual offices also provide a messaging system, often with built-in email and video conferencing, to ease communication between distant co-workers. If you’re having trouble scheduling your meetings for the week and other admin-related responsibilities, it’s best to hire a virtual receptionist.
Furthermore, the phone answering and voicemail services enable you to manage incoming calls and put up a landline number instead of your personal mobile. Lastly, virtual offices provide cloud services for uploading your files, documents, and anything that your team needs to share!
How can you work in London, Berlin, or New York but keep costs down?
This can be done by using a virtual office! You won’t have to worry about commuting with virtual offices because you work in your own home’s comfort. You also won’t need to keep up with the high costs of living that come with these cities, since you could live in a different city with your business address still in London, Berlin, or New York.
Virtual offices are a marvelous invention that’s in tune with the needs of our time. With our world being more connected than ever, it’s no surprise that many are choosing this option instead of the traditional route. They provide many benefits not found in conventional offices, such as reduced overhead costs. They’re also better for a worker’s benefit. See if it fits your company to transfer to a virtual office now!