The rise of the virtual office space
The way in which most businesses work has changed, and remote and hybrid working arrangements have taken hold in most societies. The argument is that these working arrangements are likely to last for the near future. It is thus clear that the idea of defined office space for all staff to meet and work is becoming outdated for many businesses. Work can now take place anywhere and anytime based on technological developments and connectivity. This has brought to the fore the idea or concept of the virtual office space that many in the business world are now considering as the way forward.
What is the virtual office space?
For many small to medium-sized businesses, the result of fewer people in the office and with remote workers not wanting to return has been to rationalize and move to a system of hot-desking, smaller office space, and even simply becoming fully home-based with only a virtual office. This is an address you will be able to provide to your business partners, suppliers, and customers with the ability to hire rooms for meetings and workshops and professionals to deal with the related office admin and communication. You may never need to physically visit or use the office, but the address will provide a layer of credibility for the business and even add prestige if it’s been chosen well.
Why is this a growing trend
The virtual office is not only a result of the recent pandemic and the restrictions on social interactions and distancing requirements. It was a trend that was quite prominent prior to the pandemic among the tech sector, and small niche business concerns the move towards hot desking, rental of city spaces, day offices, and more had begun to be explored as a way for the smaller startups to have space in which to work and collaborate with other businesses at an affordable rate and in a convenient manner.
The move towards Remote and hybrid work has simply enhanced the trend and driven it into the mainstream. Larger, more established businesses are also using the virtual office, and it is a phenomenon that has taken inner-city areas by storm.
The financial benefits are clear, and without the need to commute into the office on a regular basis, it is also a trend that has seen professionals move further away from the city. This has led to a marked reduction in emissions, less time spent commuting, and increased flexibility for workers.
Where in the world do businesses want office space?
For most, it’s about the location being central, close to transport links, while also creating the right impression in the minds of others. London, New York, Beijing, and Sydney spring to mind as business hubs with prestige and reputation, but the office should still be accessible for the work that needs to be done face to face. So, for example, a business based in the Blue Mountains of Australia or the Southern highlands may prefer to have a virtual office address in Sydney. While those in Yuma or the hinterlands of Arizona would choose a virtual office address in California. It just makes more sense to have your meetings in a convenient place for all and yet not pay above the odds for space you may not use on a regular basis.
The areas to benefit from this growing trend are inner-city redevelopment areas and those areas close to or along transport routes.
What to look for
The defining feature of such a business decision is the price and the associated savings of leaving behind the monthly rental for a more fluid arrangement. However, there are also various other considerations to take into account:
The address is important, but you need to ensure that it is real and has the amenities you may need in an actual office. Board rooms or meeting rooms, a professional call answering or forwarding service, and access to IT infrastructure should you ever require it.
The virtual office is real and is a growing trend in the business world. The insights provided herein should allow you the foundational knowledge to begin to make an informed decision as to whether your business can work in this new way and where you would like to do so. Keep in mind that it is a system of work that won’t suit all businesses and brands and will rely on advanced and professional Information technology to be able to work as it should.