Virtual Office Guide - Work smart and Go Virtual

1: Introduction to the Virtual Office

Why do business need virtual office (Cyber, online office) service?

The rapid development of digital communications and shared cloud storage has made it easier than ever for people to run their own business entirely from home. In fact, surveys from the GEM Global Entrepreneurship Report show that as of 2016, 69% of U.S. entrepreneurs started their business at home. Almost two thirds of these businesses continued to be operated from home. Remote operations have great potential to save business owners money while maintaining a quality work life balance. People across the world are using technology to work smarter, preserving precious time and money.

However, as anyone who has conducted business at home can tell you, it can be very easy to get distracted. We all know that when it’s time to get work done, the brain leaps to other tasks to avoid the dreaded laptop. Whether this is housekeeping, cooking, playing with kids or getting groceries, we can’t help ourselves when we work where we live. While it’s appealing, business at home is not always the smartest way to work.

So how can we go about maintaining a professional identity to our clients or employers, and still keep that work-life balance? Here’s where the virtual office comes into play. Enlisting a third party to handle mail, phone calls and provide a verified business address can free up time and open up a world of opportunities for your business. By definition, this is how you work smarter, not harder.

Whether you’re self employed, work for or own a small business, flexibility is your best friend. While you don’t need a full size office, managing your entire career from home isn’t ideal. This guide will outline the different options a virtual office allows, and how you can leverage them to work smarter, not harder.

2: What is a virtual office or virtual address? Is the service different from coworking space or P.O Box?

The Virtual Office is defined differently by many people. A virtual office is a suite of connected services, technologies and people hosted at a physical place that helps people work smarter and more efficiently regardless of their location. Generally, when people refer to a virtual office, they’re describing some set of office services that avoid engaging in a physical, leased space.

To best define what a virtual office is, it’s important to address the problem it solves. Startups by nature are on a shoestring budget, and all expenditures must pay back dividends for them to be worth investment. Think of a company with less than 10 people: do they really need a full office suite to operate? Or will this be an inefficient use of time and money?

At the same time, a company with no official business address lacks acumen, credibility and a certain image that customers like to see. The utility of the virtual office emerges from this need for credibility, and lack of budget to engage in a lease. The virtual office solves this dilemma by providing small to medium startups with a solution that’s in between a home address and an official office.

History of Virtual office:

The history of the virtual office can be told similarly through the history of computing and communication.

Virtual offices originated from serviced office spaces. At first, they went under a moniker as an “off-site tenant program”. This started in the early 70s, so as new mobile phone tech emerged in the 80s, so did more forms of remote work. This prompted the labelling of the “virtual office”, as a “set of capabilities at a remote site that are indistinguishable from those available at a real, physical office.”

Then, in the late 80s, VOIP technology emerged as a way to place calls using the internet. This opened the door for most virtual offices as we know today, along with the creation of many online businesses in need of an address.

What differentiates a Virtual Office from coworking space or a PO box?

The virtual office is a popular terminology that’s commonly misused for marketing purposes. Often times, business addresses and PO boxes use this term to describe their business, despite not offering the full suite of services that comprise a virtual office. Similarly, coworking offices are often times confused for virtual offices, given the large number of remote workers housed in coworking space.