What is a virtual office and why is it useful?

This article teaches you what a virtual office is, and how a virtual office can make your life easier as a business owner, increase your privacy, raise your credibility and save you money.

What is a virtual office?

Imagine renting a ‘regular’ office. Your office would have an address for your post to be sent to and for your business to be legally registered to, meeting rooms, a telephone number, a receptionist to answer your calls and space for you to work.

A virtual office is exactly the same but there is no space for you to work. That means a virtual office has:

  • An address for your post
  • An address for your legal affairs (e.g. company registration)
  • Meeting rooms for you to rent by the hour
  • A telephone line
  • A receptionist to answer your calls

As you’re not renting any physical space a virtual office can be much cheaper than a regular office. For example we charge £15 per month for a basic virtual office plan, but if you were to rent just one desk in our central London location it would cost you £400 per month.

As all the normal office services are there, but you are not renting any space, the office is called a ‘virtual’ office – as it’s not really there.

Now that you know what a virtual office is, we’ll go through why people buy them and what benefits a virtual office can bring to you and your business.

Why do people rent virtual offices?

We ran a survey to find out why people used virtual offices and these were the results:

why people purchase a virtual office graph

Postal Reliability – How does a virtual office make life easier for you as a business owner?

Doing admin is a necessary boring and time consuming task for every business owner. Using a virtual office reduces the amount of admin you will have to do over your business’s lifetime.

Imagine you used the address of where you live to handle all your business correspondents. If you were to move home you would have to update everyone you do business with about your new address. By renting a virtual office, no matter where your home moves, your business address stays fixed.

With people in London moving regularly, this peace of mind is the most popular reason for using a virtual office.

It is also possible to rent an 020 telephone number from most virtual offices. At the Hoxton Mix one can be purchased for £6.99 per month. When dialed this number can be forwarded straight to your mobile or be answered by one of our receptionists. This means you don’t have to worry about your telephone calls or the post you receive. Peace of mind!

What happens to post when it is sent to a virtual office?

When post arrives at a virtual office it will be sorted by the staff that work there. Your name and company details will be on a database controlled by the virtual office. They will look at the details on the envelope and search for it in their system.

When they find your account on the system a standard virtual office will do one of three things with your post:

  • They will store it for you to collect when you next visit the office
  • They will forward the envelope to you by post for your to open at your own address
  • They will open the letter and send scanned pages to you by email

This will depend on the plan that you have chosen from the virtual office provider you select. You can view the Hoxton Mix’s virtual office plans here to see how the options compare.

Trading / Registered Address – How does a virtual office increase your privacy?

The second and fifth most popular reasons are using the virtual office as a registered address for your business. When you register a company to Companies House you need to provide them with a registered address. If you’re not renting a ‘normal’ office, many people will register the business to their home address. Your name and your home address will then be publically available online (found when searching for your company’s name on Google).

By renting a virtual office and using that as your registered address you are able to prevent your home address from appearing online. This will increase your privacy.

Everyone knows how hard it is to get on the property ladder in London. If you are renting (like most people) many tenancy agreements will forbid you to use your rented property to use as your business’ registered address. Using a virtual office address as your registered address is a sensible and affordable way to overcome this problem.

Central London Address – How does a virtual office raise your business’s credibility?

The third and fourth most popular reasons are about increasing credibility. In pretty much every business you need to sell a service or a product and your appearance as a business can play a big role in helping people convert into paying customers.

If you use your home to register your business, when people Google your business’ name or look up the address you use on your website or business cards, they will see a residential address. Depending on where you live, this might not give off the high quality impression that you’re hoping to convey.

By using a virtual office you are able to present a quality office address for your business. The Hoxton Mix’s virtual office address is in the prestigious area of Old Street / Hoxton / Liverpool Street and our office building is of a very good standard. This means that people that rent a virtual address from us are able to present this address to their potential clients.

This is a photograph of the front of our offices (a bit more professional looking than a home!):

Hoxton Mix Virtual Office Building

Most virtual offices also allow you to rent meeting rooms. These can be used when entertaining clients at your business’ address.

Having a sales meeting in a well presented meeting room in a smart office building might give your client the confidence they need to agree to the deal you’re proposing.

These are photographs of one of our meeting rooms:

Hoxton Mix Virtual Office Meeting Rooms

How does a virtual office save you money?

As a virtual office comes with no desk space you are able to save a lot of money in comparison to renting a traditional office.

In Central London physical space is at a premium, so by choosing a virtual office you are able to save the bulk of the costs while keeping many of the benefits.

For example, if you were to rent just a desk at the WeWork Old Street location you would have to spend £400 per month. Our plans range from £15 to £45 per month meaning you save hundreds of pounds every month and thousands every year.

Now you know what a virtual office is.

Now that you know what a virtual office is and why people choose to use them you can make an informed decision for yourself.

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