A virtual office is the new solution that many freelancers and small businesses are turning to. For some people it’s a happy medium between a home office and a rented office. Unlike renting an office or desk space for your business, the virtual office allows you to work anywhere for a lower price.

Pros

  • Virtual offices are cheaper overall than renting out an office space. The cost of hiring full time employees can be reduced by employing the services of virtual ones.Pros and cons of freelancing from a virtual office
  • Virtual offices can provide phone answering services for your clients so that you can concentrate on doing what you do best without missing important calls.
  • You can hire the services of a virtual personal assistant to help you run your business or you can outsource admin tasks to free up your time.
  • A virtual office can provide your business with a postal address that gives more of a professional image than a simple home address.
  • They offer the chance to hire meeting rooms for when you need to meet clients and don’t want to use your home office.
  • Some places offer a mail opening service where mail is directed to the virtual office and then scanned, uploaded or emailed to you at your home office so that there is little delay in receiving posted documents.

Cons

  • It might be more difficult to maintain an effective business relationship with virtual employees.
  • Virtual employees may not have the same understanding of the everyday needs of the business as opposed to a full-time office employee.
  • You have little control over the office. This means that scheduling conflicts may arise if you need to book a meeting room and you will likely feel like a guest because the office isn’t really yours.
  • Communication will largely rely on technology and meanings can get lost in emails that would be more easily conveyed in face-to-face meetings.

Who will benefit from a virtual office the most?

  • People new to setting up a business. It’s wise to try and keep your overheads as minimal as possible, especially when starting up. A virtual office can offer the convenience of having a rented office for a fraction of the price.
  • If your business ends up expanding, some virtual offices may allow you to permanently rent space which will mean you don’t have to switch addresses, update business cards or contact information.
  • Some people are best suited to working with the comforts of a home office and may simply not see any business benefit to investing in permanent office space.
  • It could also be helpful for people who live outside of cities and would prefer to create a central, more accessible meeting space for clients.
  • People concerned about the environmental impact of their business can use a virtual office to reduce the need for commuting and avoid powering an office.

Who should avoid using them?

  • Larger companies may find it difficult to keep communication clear and consistent if everyone is working remotely. It is also more difficult to keep track of productivity levels of employees.
  • Extroverts who need constant communication and interaction in order to work efficiently will likely find a virtual office difficult. A virtual office can be useful for keeping costs low but it is not a replacement for a typical office environment.
  • People who hold lots of meetings with employees and other companies. Though you can hire meeting rooms out, if you are holding lots of them it will quickly become frustrating if you have to book a meeting room that you have no real control over.

Do you use or are thinking about using a virtual office? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.