When you think of a business, what do you picture? It’s probably an office space with desks, computers and maybe even paper everywhere. But if you own or work at a small or medium-sized company, your idea of business operations might be quite different. You’ve got specialist knowledge in your chosen field, but you can’t compete with Big Business in terms of office space. The solution? Set up your own virtual office. You’ll find it much more affordable than a physical workspace or co-work in facility.
In this post, we’ll explore exactly how a virtual office operates, what the advantages are, and why using the best technology is crucial to ensure that your business’s virtual footprint is every bit as professional and polished as its physical one.
What Is A Virtual Office?
Virtual offices aren’t a new concept; in fact, they were very common back in the day when everything was done by post and phone. To get down to business, you’d need a physical office space somewhere close to the heart of your industry. But nowadays, with modern technology at our fingertips, it’s possible to set up shop without ever leaving home.
So how does this type of virtual office work? Let’s break down the components that go into setting up a professional company HQ from the comfort of your own home.
A Virtual Address
The most important part of setting up a virtual office is having an address that sounds professional and suits your brand. This isn’t hard to achieve, though it is one area where you should treat yourself to spending some money. There are lots of virtual office service providers out there who will give you a London, UK mailing address as well as providing phone answering and forwarding services.
A Virtual Phone Number
You might not be aware that virtual phone numbers even exist, but they’re exactly what they sound like: telephone numbers that can be used to receive calls for your company. These can be forwarded to a real phone number – for example, your home telephone – or they can be routed to a specific email address.
Sending and Receiving Mail
You need some way of receiving mail as part of setting up a virtual office. There’s no point having an impressive-sounding London address if you don’t have a way of getting the post there. Most virtual office service providers will be able to offer you a mailbox, which makes it possible for companies and organizations to register your address as their business address. That way, they can send important items such as invoices, letters from the bank and other crucial documents directly to you without the risk of it being sent back to them.
A Virtual Receptionist
The final piece in the virtual office puzzle is a receptionist, someone who can answer calls for your business and direct them if necessary. Most service providers will have an in-house team who are trained to do just that, but some allow you to choose a live or automated attendant.
An In-House Virtual Office Team
A virtual office is only as good as the people who work there, and that’s where a company’s virtual office team comes in. Whether they handle phone calls, direct invoices and letters to you, or even deal with clients face-to-face, the role of these professionals is to make sure that your virtual office operates as professionally as a traditional one.
Advantages Of Using A Virtual Office
There are plenty of reasons for setting up an impressive virtual office rather than cutting out the middleman and working from home. Here are five advantages that should convince you to invest in a virtual office package.
1. Save Money
The most obvious advantage of using a virtual office is that you can save money by doing so. And with the average business spending £4,000 per year on rent, there’s plenty of potential savings to be had just by taking out an office-free package instead.
2. Professional Built-In Address
If you’re a business owner, your location is important. There’s nothing more unprofessional than working from home and struggling to convince clients that you actually have an office somewhere close by where they can find you. With a virtual office, however, you get all the advantages of having an office address without the hefty price tag.
3. Live or Automated Receptionist Service
One of the main reasons that many people work from home is because they can’t afford to hire a receptionist for their professional company HQ, but with a virtual office you have the best of both worlds. A live receptionist service means that your calls are answered professionally, while an automated attendant can take messages or direct people to the relevant department should you not be available.
4. Higher Visibility
A virtual office provides you with a higher level of visibility than working from home. Because it gives you an office address, clients and customers will know exactly where to find you, while also giving them the impression that you run a professional business.
An office address is just one of the conveniences of using a virtual office. You’ll be able to pop into your local mailbox if you need something signed quickly, while courier services can deliver packages more easily than to your home or a P.O. box. You can even schedule a time to pick up your mail when you’re in the area without having to worry about it being stolen from your front door by passers-by.
As we’ve already discussed, having an office-free package means that you won’t have the same professional appearance as you would if your business had an actual office address to give out. To get around this, you could rent a physical office during working hours (where clients can find you) and work from home during the evening.
Security is another potential disadvantage of using a virtual address, but one which can be easily circumvented if you choose an office with a solid security system that includes CCTV coverage.
Finally, although a virtual office isn’t as costly as a traditional one, it will still set you back a few pennies. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the company you choose offers an all-inclusive package, rather than one where you have to pay extra for each additional service or call.
You could save yourself a great deal of money by using a virtual office instead of going down the traditional route of paying for a physical workspace. You’ll also get more opportunity to network with clients and customers, which is essential if you want to build up repeat business. Partner with menetalk – the leading business VoIP providers UK.