What are Virtual Offices and How Do They Work

  • A virtual office is exactly what it sounds like, it offers businesses the opportunity to have things such as a physical address (which can be addressed anywhere), as well as office-related services without the fixed costs of long leases, administrative staff, and electricity. When a business has a virtual office at play, employees are able to work from home or anywhere else while still having things like a mailing address, phone answering service, meeting rooms, and videoconferences.

    So how does a virtual office work? Well, they exist as one entity to serve their customers, but do not exist in one fixed location. This method of working is especially popular among start-up businesses and smaller companies that would like to minimise their overheads. Virtual offices have allowed for greater productivity as it frees employees up from completing administrative tasks, as well as eliminates the need of transportation as the employees can just work from home if their internet is fast enough. It also allows businesses to hire people who do not live in the local area, which provides diversity and more opportunity.

    As more and more people are starting to find ways to work remotely, the benefits of a virtual office are quickly noted. However, as you can imagine, not everything is as easy as it seems, and problems do tend to arise.

    Let us take a look at some of the advantages and the disadvantages when it comes to virtual office spaces:

    Advantages: The monthly spend of a virtual office is far less than that of a traditional office due to the fact that it has none of the maintenance upkeep costs, it does not need to be staffed, and there are no extra insurance charges. A virtual office contract can be secured by a month-to-month lease, which allows for greater flexibility if the business changes, as there is no need to wait for the lease to end. The cost to run a virtual office starts with your membership fee which can be relatively low, and your month-to-month fee, which goes up according to how many services you add onto the contract, or the type of package you choose.

    Another advantage to virtual offices is that fact that they provide a mailing address, telephone answering service, as well as videoconferencing services. This means that a start-up company is able to appear much larger than it actually is. It also provides a physical address or addresses for customers to meet staff. Sometimes, the address will provide a feeling of honour or give the business a prestige feeling if the address is that of a renowned location.

    Disadvantages: Some of the services will be limited due to the fact that pre-planning has to be utilised to book conference rooms, as there is often only a limited number of rooms. Virtual offices may also have restricted access on nights and weekends which could be an issue.

    Lucky for you, there are plenty of virtual offices in Cape Town for you to choose from!