What is a Virtual Office? | Advantages and Included Services
A virtual office is a service created to allow business owners to carry out their activities without needing to commit to leasing a physical office. Virtual office operators provide a range of convenient services and amenities that facilitate the day-to-day operations of a business.
One of the key services offered by virtual office providers is a physical address where businesses or individuals can receive correspondence. Virtual office clients can use this as their registered business address despite not being physically present in that location. Some of the larger virtual office operators offer a selection of addresses in various locations or different cities. In addition to a business address, clients have access to virtual assistant services.
Virtual offices don't only suit the needs of owner-operators. They're also are a convenient option for location-independent entrepreneurs, startups, and freelancers. Micro-enterprises and companies with mobile employee bases can also find this service advantageous. In short, virtual offices are the ideal solution for business owners who want to establish their presence in a location by having a registered business address but do not want or need to be physically present.
What Does a Virtual Office Typically Include?
Virtual offices offer their clients a range of physical and digital services. These are available on a package or membership basis, so the inclusions and exclusions vary. Generally speaking, most virtual office operators will offer the following services:
- A physical address that business owners can use to receive correspondence or as a registered address (e.g. added to business stationery, business cards, etc.).
- Mail handling and forwarding services.
- Telephone call handling and forwarding services. Virtual office staff handle a switchboard and re-route telephone calls to their clients as directed.
- Clerical support, photocopying, scanning, document destruction, etc.
- Company registration services.
In addition to the above, virtual office operators may also offer the following services on a pay-per-use basis:
- Access to desks and office space, whether it's private or shared.
- The use of conferencing and meeting rooms.
- Business support services like translations, website design, digital marketing, or business card and stationery printing.
- Digital services, which may include cloud storage, video-conferencing, webinar set-up and hosting, website hosting, domain registration, business email, etc.
What are the Key Advantages of Virtual Offices?
- Since there aren't any overheads or lease commitments, virtual offices are a cost-effective and affordable solution for business owners who do not have the resources to cover rental or lease fees for office space.
- This solution is also cost-effective in that virtual office clients only pay for the services they need.
- Flexibility is another key benefit since additional services are available on-demand and at short notice.
- More privacy, since virtual office users can keep their personal and business lives separate by not having to use their home address or their personal phone number.
- Convenient operations, as business owners have access to a wide range of services without needing to commute or to pay for the expenses associated with it.
- Having an address in a known business location and a dedicated phone answering service lends a professional image to a business, even if they're in their initial stages or have a small size.
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