28 August, 2019
Reduced overheads, added flexibility and zero commute time are just some of the benefits of a virtual workspace. From mompreneurs to dynamic start ups, everyone is turning to the virtual office to cut costs.
So what is a virtual office and how does it work? Simply put, it’s a service that allows businesses to operate remotely. Whether they use contractors and freelancers, or employ people from around the world, this desk-free concept allows for seamless collaboration. Without bricks and mortar, you can scale quickly as your business grows.
But how does a virtual office work when you actually need a physical address? Here we break down exactly how it all works:
With a virtual office, you will get a legitimate business address, just like a physical office location. This address can be used on your legal documents and letterheads, and can give your company a professional image. If you are a one-person start up business working from home, it can be beneficial to have a credible address that clients can use.
People often search for business locations online, and features such as Google Maps and Street View can reveal your exact residential location. For privacy reasons, or to obtain a business address with a premium postcode, virtual offices are the answer. You can have the advantages of the address without having to pay for space, desks, equipment or reception staff.
Personal mobiles work well for freelancers, but having a prime business number can be add a level of separation between your personal and work life. A virtual office service can also provide call forwarding, so clients can dial an official business number (such as a prime London 020 number) but get straight to your home or mobile phone.
This type of service is also ideal for international businesses or small companies looking to penetrate an overseas market. If you are struggling to manage a high volume of calls, consider getting a phone answering service - it works just like a receptionist without the expensive overheads.
Where you work is up to you. Many new entrepreneurs start off by working from their home office. Others enjoy the freedom of being able to work from coffee shops, public WiFi areas, or in different places as they travel around the world. Wherever you are with a laptop and phone is your workplace.
For small businesses employing remote workers, this means that a lot of flexibility is offered to employees. This is particularly important to young millennial professionals who want choices when it comes to their contract. Studies tell us that as many as 70% of millennials desire flexible working options. The way a virtual office works suits that work-life balance and helps employers attract the right talent.
Not paying for physical space can help businesses save money, but how does a virtual office work when you need to arrange meetings? While a virtual space means not having a workplace to turn up to everyday, it’s still possible to make use of meeting rooms on-site. Many virtual offices can provide state-of-the-art facilities, and these rooms are usually charged per hour or on a half/full day basis. This ‘pay as you go’ concept means only ever having to pay for office space when you need it.
In addition to call management and meeting room hire, virtual office services also come with other services to help you run your business. Some will be included in your package, while others may be extras. For instance, at Hoxton Mix we throw in a Companies House official company registered address, post handling with email alerts, and free cancellation at anytime.
It’s also possible to have your post forwarded to you or scanned and emailed in our more comprehensive packages.
Setting up a virtual office takes no time at all. Limited companies will need to register with Companies House, and both sole traders and Limited companies must register with HMRC before trading. But the virtual office setup can be as quick as ten minutes to implement. This means you can get started instantly.
Payments for your virtual office are normally monthly plans. But there are savings to be made if you decide to pay the full amount for a year upfront. For new entrepreneurs, monthly plans can work best as they are more flexible, with cancellation at anytime.
Got more questions about how a virtual office works? Find out more from our Help & Advice section.