A virtual office space can provide your organization and staff with a wide range of services, even if you don’t run your day-to-day operations there. These services vary depending on the business you’re in and the type of virtual office you choose.
Virtual office spaces are mainly used by businesses with a high proportion of remote workers, early-stage startups or experienced enterprises expanding into a new location.
But before you begin to choose your perfect virtual office, make sure this is the right decision for your business. It can be difficult to manage a remote workforce and maintain a strong company culture, for example.
However, using a virtual office is a savvy decision if you want to reduce your overhead, eliminate commute times and have access to talent from a wider geographic pool. Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect virtual office:
1. Decide on your location
The main benefit of a virtual office is that you can have a presence in a highly desirable area – say Silicon Valley, for example – and under a virtual business address. But you need to work out which location will give the best impression to your customers and clients.
Also, bear in mind, you may need to visit the office occasionally to pick up mail or attend meetings. If this is the case, try to find a location that’s accessible to your business. If you do intend to visit the space on a regular basis, make sure you go on an on-site visit before you sign up to ensure it matches the needs and mindset of your business.
2. Analyze the available services
Virtual office spaces offer a range of services, the most common of which include:
- A physical address – which provides a more professional appearance than using a P.O. Box or your home address.
- An answering service and remote receptionist – this service provides your clients and customers with a physical person to speak to when they ring your “office”. Again, this improves your professional persona and boosts your customer service.
- Conference and meeting rooms – if you need to hold a face-to-face meeting, most virtual offices are decked out with state-of-the-art rooms to meet with your clients and customers.
- Office facilities – a virtual office is also a place for you to receive physical mail and gain access to additional office amenities, such as a photocopier or fax machine.
- Coworking space – some virtual offices provide you with access to shared office spaces. You may be able to use a private office or hotdesk, for example.
However, if you need a specific service then you may need to shop around. For example, if confidentiality is crucial to your business, then make sure your virtual office space has the appropriate measures in place. For example, how is your mail handled? And what cybersecurity provisions has the provider made?
Some key questions you may want to ask a virtual office space provider when weighing up their services include:
- How does your mail forwarding service work?
- What is your meeting room policy?
- Are there any additional fees?
- What customer service policies do you have in place?
3. Enquire about flexibility
The more flexible a space can be, the leaner your business can be in the future. For example, will they let you rent out meeting rooms on an ad hoc basis? If your business suddenly expands, do they have the capacity to scale up? Can you get an overseas address if needs be?
4. Work out your budget
A virtual office is a cost-effective option for many businesses. You get a desirable address without having to sign a lease agreement or fitting out your office.
However, different virtual offices offer different pricing options. For example, some spaces may ask you to pay a membership fee and others let you rent your virtual office as and when you need to.
Also, double check exactly what services are included. For example, some virtual offices come with mailbox privileges only. Others may let you print, fax, scan and copy to your heart’s content.
5. Read the online reviews
Finally, find out more about a virtual office’s reputation. Online reviews are an excellent place to start but also ask for client references if you’re interested in a space. If a virtual office is hesitant to put you in contact with previous clients or current customers, this is a red flag.
In conclusion, a virtual office space can provide your organization with a wealth of benefits. As with any business decision, just make sure you do your homework and find the right space for you.