The Growing Popularity of the Virtual Office
18 Jan 2016
The virtual, or serviced, office idea is not a new one, but it’s a discussion topic that has been thrown back into the limelight due to technological change. This article investigates what makes a virtual office, the technology behind them and considers how they will adapt in the months and years to come.
If you haven’t come across the term before, virtual offices are facilities which provide an array of communication services for people who don’t want to rent a physical space. This can be in the form of a postbox, a telephone answering service, and can extend to use of the building’s facilities for client meetings. Up until now, they have helped many businesses get their first leg on the ladder, but all of this is changing with every technological update.
The Technology behind Them
The technology behind these offices is very simple with the whole basis of them focused around internet usage, and how it can smoothly run all the “normal” elements of an office from another location. In most high-quality serviced offices that companies like Landmark PLC provide you’ll be able to find a mail service, a telephone answering service, a virtual reception, and meeting room facilities. With the recent advances in technology however, these capabilities of the internet are far more sophisticated People conduct most written communication via a company email which is inexpensive to set up, people can have an answering service set up from their mobile, and now people can hold meetings via Skype or another online communication tool to hold a client meeting from their home office, maintaining their professionalism.
What does the future hold?
The fact is, all these serviced facilities are slowly becoming irrelevant to their smaller customer’s for three reasons:
- There are now many small businesses that operate from the owner’s home, meaning it’s become a norm in customer’s eyes
- Technological innovations mean that the idea that someone works from a physical office is slowly being shed from the professional world
- Sites like Etsy have improved the credibility of smaller businesses, and it’s now possible to buy from them anywhere in the world, with little thought given to where they are physically based.
All of this means that the virtual office needs to adapt, servicing companies that are slightly larger than a one-man start-up, offering the prestige and credibility that will win bigger clients. This way, people are safe in the knowledge that someone else is taking care of their communication aspects, leaving them free to hire people who work from home and expand their business. Like most ventures facing technological change, it’s about adapting to trends, not shying away from them.
Image credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture