The way people work has completely transformed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses across the country were forced to close their doors or work from home, which meant the traditional in-person office environment quickly became a thing of the past. But now that the pandemic is more under control and businesses are getting back to normal, how do you proceed?
Remote work seems to be here to stay, as many employees can’t imagine going back to the office. If you’re thinking of adapting to a fully remote business model, a virtual office space may be the right choice. Here are a few things you should consider before you make the switch.
So what is a virtual office and how do you use it? Basically, with this option you don’t rent a physical office space, but rather you pay a fee for a business mailing address in your preferred location.
Using a virtual office is a great way to create a professional appearance for your business when working from home. That way, you can avoid using your home address and phone number for business purposes, which can be confusing and seem unprofessional to clients. With a virtual office, you can also have a business address in a prestigious location where you might not be able to afford the rent prices. Especially if money is tight, this is an affordable way to boost your business’ credibility and appeal to more customers.
Depending on your provider, a virtual office will also give you access to a business phone number, meeting rooms, virtual services, and an on-site receptionist. So even when working from home, you will still have the opportunity to meet in person with clients or other team members when necessary.
Along with these services, any physical mail will also be handled by your virtual office provider. The on-site staff will collect, sort, scan, and forward all of your messages to your home address so nothing will be lost. These services cover most, if not all, of your administrative duties, which can free up the money you would have paid an in-house receptionist or secretary for other expenses.
Switching to a virtual office space is a great way to reduce your business’ overhead costs. In a virtual office, you don’t need to worry about the cost of rent, maintenance, office furniture, office supplies, and other expenses associated with a physical office space.
However, virtual offices can also come with different added costs. There’s a monthly fee for these spaces, and depending on which location you choose, the price can vary. For instance, a virtual office in Manhattan will cost a lot more than a space in rural New York. Some providers may charge a booking fee to rent out meeting spaces, and if you’ve decided to transition your team completely remote, you may need to purchase new equipment and subscriptions to keep your employees connected and productive.
Depending on how much money you save from switching to a virtual office, you may still need extra funding for these new expenses. Small business loans are a good option to secure more money, but you will need a good credit score, a good debt-to-income ratio, and other requirements. If you’re unable to qualify for a business loan, you can also refinance your mortgage for extra funds. With this option you can cash out your home’s equity and take advantage of low interest rates to lower your monthly mortgage payments, freeing up extra cash for your business expenses.
Virtual office spaces can have many benefits, but before you make the switch you should consider your business’ needs. Based on how your business operates, you should determine whether a virtual office, coworking space, or a traditional, private office space is the best option.
Do you need to interact with your clients in person? Do you have the resources to go remote?
Virtual offices provide the most benefits to fully remote teams — studies have even shown that working from home can increase employee productivity. Virtual offices also eliminate the commute for your team, and working remotely grants you more flexibility in hiring as you can recruit people from across the country, or even the globe, instead of being limited to local talent.
However, if your business depends on working face-to-face, then a physical office may be a better option. No matter what type of office you choose, make sure to prioritize your business’ needs, and research what these spaces have to offer.