In the always-online world that our generation has built, it’s not a surprise that many fledgling businesses are choosing virtual offices over traditional physical locations. Virtual offices provide easy, convenient setup and low overhead costs. These factors are enticing to new business owners who don’t have the time or cash flow to set up a physical office.
Going virtual is seen as a progressive and eco-friendly option that can solve many financial issues. However, lack of physical office space isn’t without its drawbacks for certain types of businesses. Here are the pros and cons of virtual offices.
A virtual office offers many benefits for the new business owner. If you’re heading a start-up company and looking for a quick and easy office solution, going virtual may be a great option for you.
The convenience of a virtual office is truly unmatched. You can have access to a fully-furnished, production-ready office within minutes. Virtual offices include the use of a physical address which you can use for marketing and package delivery.
#2: Lower Costs
Virtual office spaces are significantly less expensive to lease than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Aside from monthly rent, there are a number of costs involved in running a physical office that virtual offices don’t require: utilities, furniture, equipment, and office set-up, among others. Low overhead costs allow start-ups to spend their money in other areas, such as marketing, which gives their businesses the chance to grow roots and become successful.
#3: Increased Productivity
When employees aren’t required to commute to work, more time can be devoted to job duties, projects, and other work-related responsibilities. A study from the Texas Transportation Institute demonstrated the many benefits of telecommuting: increases in employee productivity, morale, and commitment; decreases in sick leave; and improvements in the recruitment and retention of employees.
#4: Environmental Benefits
Not only will a virtual office save energy, water, and other utilities, but the lack of employee commutes will also reduce vehicle emissions and fuel usage. Environmentally-friendly businesses typically find that “going green” provides a boost in business reputation as well.
Unfortunately, nothing is one-size-fits-all in the business world. Although virtual offices can be a convenient and cost-effective resource for new businesses, it may not be the best option for other types of companies.
#1: No Physical Space
Although locations can be rented for meetings, the lack of a physical office space may be detrimental to companies who need their employees to interact on a daily basis. Individual employees also have preferences when it comes to office environments; some employees thrive while working from home, but others may prefer to draw a clearer line between their personal and professional lives.
#2: Shared Resources
Because virtual offices are shared by other renters, you’ll be sharing space and resources. This may create issues if your business has an exceptionally high need for these resources on short notice, such as during a client meeting. You may also find other rents can be a little noisy at times. If your clients require a particular level of discretion, a physical office may be better suited to your business.
What’s best for your business?
Although virtual offices provide many clear-cut advantages, ideal office spaces will vary from business to business.
If your company relies on physical communication between employees and clients to foster trust and understanding, then a traditional office location is undoubtedly the best choice for your business. However, if your company exists mostly in the virtual world has a strong online presence, why not remain consistent and use a virtual office as well?
Most importantly, resist the urge to convert to a virtual office based on popularity. While it is likely a trend that is here to stay, make your office choice carefully based on the needs of your customers, your employees, and your business.