The virtual office is a common environment for employers & workers in 2021. Read an informative guide about the benefits of a virtual office today.
The virtual office became a commonplace term and environment for employers and employees alike during 2020. Working from home is both popular and normal now in 2021, but what are the benefits of a virtual office? What are its requirements and costs?
Working remotely has challenges for many businesses from which running a virtual office is not exempt. Specific equipment is needed. The ability to stay focused, motivated and dedicated to your job is also a collective necessity. Certain virtual office providers are most popular in 2021 due to the quality of their services and user-friendly ratings of their products. Read ahead for an informative guide about the benefits of a virtual office today.
Describing the Virtual Office
A virtual office is a flexible, cost-effective solution allowing professionals in almost every current industry to engage in normal business activities via a remote work environment. Businesses maintain a physical address without the overhead costs of maintaining a larger, physical structure. Employees are capable of working from almost any location without the need to commute and take on additional work-related expenses due to advanced videoconferencing technology and services.
- What do they include?
Virtual offices typically include receptionist and phone services. Meeting rooms and document/data sharing are also commonly included Efficiently compartmentalized email services allow communication between specific groups and individuals inside your company. Certain virtual office providers sometimes offer shipping and receiving services along with event networking and event space functionality. Some virtual office setups even allow for virtually controlled document shredding.
- How have they changed the way we work?
Each business is unique in some way, and therefore the majority of virtual offices are either partially or fully customizable. Virtual offices were more commonly used by startup businesses looking to save money on expenses during their first years in operation. COVID-19-based restrictions forced many physical businesses to gravitate to online remote working environments during 2020. Now, approximately sixty-nine percent of U.S. workers prefer to continue working remotely in a virtual office setting in perpetuity.
- What are their limitations?
Do virtual offices have limitations? Accessibility to required online phone, videoconferencing, messaging and other tech-based services might be limited depending on the location of your business. Virtual offices allow for an expanded employee base in most cases, however, which helps increase productivity and profit margins. Virtual offices are also reliant on the stability of your Wi-Fi and/or server connections. Disruptions in communication are possible if tech goes bad or connections are intermittent.
Your Virtual Office – Requirements & Costs
Running a virtual office involves physical, digital and legal requirements. A virtual office must be compliant with the laws of your country. State laws might also apply. The U.S. has specific laws regarding the processing and delivering of your mail. To legally receive mail for your virtual office in the U.S. you are required register it with the United States Postal Service (USPS) as a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA). Because compliance requirements are not the same in every country, popular services provided by companies such as Your City Office are available to help streamline setup and compliance processes around the world.
- Digital requirements.
Virtual offices require specific types of software to run. Google Meet and Microsoft Teams are examples of popular videoconferencing software programs. Cloud storage software is also a necessity. Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Prime and pCloud are popular cloud storage services. Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service and a social media management platform are integral to virtual offices in 2021. Powerful servers, strong/steady Wi-Fi connections, virtual answering services and collaborative capabilities are also digital requirements for running a virtual office.
- Physical requirements.
An actual physical human virtual assistant is always a good hire to help keep your virtual office organized and running smoothly. Computers for all your employees are needed. Your virtual office location and the location of your employees must all be in areas where appropriate internet and data services are available. Modems, Bluetooth equipment and all applicable cables are also virtual office physical requirements.
The costs of running a virtual office vary based on the provider and other factors. Some providers start with a $50 membership fee and $250/month subscription for basic services. Cloud storage services commonly charge both base rates and per-user rates for business accounts. The level of competition in your market area also affects pricing. For example, Los Angeles and New York City have more available services than do smaller market cities and therefore charge less for services in those areas.
Benefits of Having a Virtual Office
The benefits of running a virtual office far supersede the drawbacks for most U.S. businesses. Your employees spend less time commuting and packing lunches for work, making them more refreshed and focused when on the job. Overhead costs are significantly lower due to not having overhead common to maintaining a physical building. Additional benefits of having a virtual office include:
Expanded job opportunities for employees.
Expanded hiring pools for business owners.
Time saved translates to more time available to expand your customer base.
Money saved can be spent expanding other areas of your business.
All communication and shared data between employees/departments is time stamped, prioritized and archived as needed.
Increased customer satisfaction due to streamlined business procedures.
Most Popular Virtual Office Providers 2021
The most popular virtual office providers in 2021 offer high-quality customer service, competitive pricing and customization options. Each provider’s product also has certain aspects it specializes in better than its competitors. What are the most popular virtual office providers in 2021?