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The rise of the virtual office

The concept of virtual offices was first introduced in the 1990s. Since then, the industry has gone from strength to strength and last year alone, enquiries for this type of office space increased by nearly 150%.

What exactly is a virtual office?

A virtual office provides organisations with an address without them actually having to be there. Say for example you want a business presence in Dubai but don’t have the resources to physically base someone there, you can pay for a virtual office instead. Companies like Europe Emirates Group will help advise you if you are looking to set up a company in a different country.

This means that any post will be collected, you can have a dedicated telephone number which will be answered for you and you can even rent boardrooms or desks for those days you do need to be office based.

What are the benefits of a virtual office?

  • Cost – the greatest benefit of a virtual office is of course the cost. It’s significantly cheaper than renting space in a city centre yet you can still portray a professional image. It’s a great option for start-ups, smaller companies or those who want to test the ground in a new city or country without spending a fortune on a new office space and employees to fill it.

  • It’s great for remote workers – virtual space is ideal for companies with employees who are geographically spread. Your field sales team or account managers may be on the road a lot for example which means that having a permanent space for all staff simply isn’t cost-effective. A virtual office provides a central address, a location for meetings and in many cases, even access to a PA as and when you need it.

  • Adds legitimacy – with so many people starting up their own businesses these days, it’s not uncommon for entreprenueurs to be home-based. Even the online retailer, Amazon started as a home-based business and is now on track to become the first publicly traded company worth $1 trillion:

  • Having a physical address can help to add legitimacy in your early days however, especially as customers are trying to establish whether or not you’re trustworthy. Another benefit is that you can protect your privacy because don’t have to give out your home address and phone number.

  • It’s eco-friendly. If you’re conscious about the impact you’re having on the environment, a virtual office is the eco-friendly option. Because staff don’t have to drive to the office, there are less cars on the road and by doing all your business digitally, you’re also helping to cut down on the amount of waste being produced. Read this article from the Huffington Post for some great tips to help reduce your business environmental footprint:

  • There’s no need to relocate – with a virtual office, you never have to worry about scaling up or downsizing or going through the stressful process of moving office. Relocating can be incredibly taxing on a company of any size and avoiding this can save time, money and a huge amount of disruption.

Explaining the rise in popularity of virtual offices, Economic development business centre coordinator at Maidstone Borough Council commented:

“They give businesses the opportunity to have an address they can put on their cards, website and Google which gives their own customers and clients the confidence that they are in a reputable location.”

He continued:

“It can also save a lot on overheads when many businesses do not need to be permanently based in an office.”