A virtual office, in essence, is an office which doesn’t physically exist. Although, it is worth noting that most virtual offices have some sort of physical location which you can visit, although the services that they may offer may not be that extensive.
The purpose of a virtual office is to provide a company, for a low fee, a professional presence. Many small businesses actually use a virtual office as it makes it seem as though they are larger than they are. No company out there wants to do business with a business that operates out of the comfort of their own home, but if they have a London address, then they may wish to deal with them. Of course, a mailing address is not the only service that a virtual office may provide people with.
It is worth noting that not all virtual offices will offer exactly the same services. Therefore, if you are on the hunt for a virtual office, you may wish to think about what you actually want from the company. Broadly speaking, virtual office services can be broken down into two distinct categories:
These are the services which your customers and other businesses will be directly interacting with. Once again, it must be stressed that not all virtual office companies will offer these services:
- Remote receptionist: this is where you will have somebody answer calls for you. They will be able to answer basic questions (in some cases), take down messages, or forward calls to you.
- Virtual assistant: a virtual assistant will help you with some tasks related to your business. You will be employing them on an ad-hoc basis which means you do not have to pay a full time member of staff.
- Voice mail
- Virtual office space: you will have an address is some of the most prestigious locations in the world! This is great if you are located outside of a country but still wish to have a presence there. The company may be able to forward mail on to you, or at least prepare scans of the mail that you have received.
These are the physical services that a virtual office may offer you. Not all virtual offices will offer space services:
- Physical address. This is a mailing address where your clients and other businesses will be able to get in touch with you. If you live in the city, you will be able to collect your mail yourself.
- Receptionist at the address
- Meeting room hire. This means that you will be able to entertain your clients without springing for a property. Many smaller businesses will make a ton of use out of these meeting room services.
- Workspace: many virtual offices will have an actual office that you can work in if you so wish. This is great if you do not wish to work from home. It is great for networking too as there will be other people working in the same area.