13 June, 2017
The Hoxton Mix have been doing Virtual Offices in Old Street for some time now and we often hear from our customers that a virtual office is exactly what they need. They don’t want a physical office and so look for other solutions, sometimes it’s just to save money in the early stages of starting their business but others often find that as they build a remote team, their staff productivity increases, staff turnover decreases (therefore reducing demand on their hiring resources) and their employees and themselves are happier through a better work/life balance.
Ultimately having a virtual office makes your company much more flexible and reduces your exposure to the risk of high overheads when times are quiet.
Here are seven ways we think you and your team will benefit from using a Virtual Office:
Most people waste 1-2 hours a day commuting, that works out at almost 1.5 days travel time for 5 days of work! Working from home (or a local co-working office that’s a 15 min walk) removes not only that wasted time but means the team can be fresher and more alert not having had to deal with the hassle of busy traffic or trains. And with a fresher team you’ll find that productivity increases and your employees will be more focused.
We don’t need to point you to the all the different articles on why physical activity is vital for your health. You’ve probably seen plenty of them and it’s one of the few things that all the experts agree on… being physically active doesn’t just make us physically fitter, it has a huge positive effect on our mental state as well.
We find that when someone isn’t “chained” to their office desk they naturally want to get up and move about. And with the extra hours created by removing the commute, doing a focused workout or even taking a brisk 15 minute walk when mental energy is low is really easy to do. Hopefully you’ll find that a more active team is a healthier team! And once they’ve finished sweating they now have a shower in their “office”.
Taking an extra hour first thing in the morning to be with the kids as they go to school or breakfast with an old friend. The fact that you’re not tied to the commute means you can use that time to nourish relationships, whether that’s with family or friends. On top of that, because you aren’t tied to your physical space if you want to spend the week with your parents your office is essentially portable. No need to stop working, just take your laptop and phone and make sure they have a decent internet connection!
If you’re doing international business and gain a customer in Italy, you might need someone to be there once a week. That’s no problem, if you have a virtual office you can start to tap into the remote workforce through websites like Upwork and if you have a heavy need in that particular city/country you might even consider having a virtual office in that location too.
As we mentioned at the start, you won’t have the responsibility of an office lease, no utility payments to make, no infrastructure to manage and none of the costs that come with bricks-and-mortar. These savings will significantly affect your profit margin and you’ll be able to invest the money back into your business, for instance allowing you to invest more in your people.
These days many people have powerful computers at home and fast internet connections, they already work on the technology they prefer and would be responsible for keeping their equipment up to date when it’s convenient for them.
There can be some cyber risk concerns when not providing company technology, but with a little investigation you’ll find ways to make this work. On top of this, the available tools for secure communication between your team are so accessible now, you will often find systems that are free or extremely low cost that allow encrypted conversation amongst team members. At Hoxton Mix we use a mixture of Telegram & Slack amongst other things. We made a list in our blog post 5 Key Tools for Running Your Business Remotely.
When you move to a virtual office/remote team setup the focus on monitoring your team goes from checking when people arrive and leave work to setting specific goals, outcomes and expectations. Because of this, you’ll see an increase in productivity almost right away. Employees who meet or exceed their goals are obvious and you’ll quickly see those that do and those that don’t. Over time this makes it much easier for you to have a conversation about who does or doesn’t keep their job and who get’s the promotion. You’re also likely to reduce employee turnover because their work/life balance will be more comfortable.
A virtual office doesn’t necessarily work for every business – some companies need people together in one location to get work done – but there are businesses where technology makes working from almost anywhere a genuine proposition, particularly when you can keep your London office address by letting The Hoxton Mix provide you with a cheap virtual office in London.
Thanks for reading!