Modern technological advances have made it possible for you to start your business at home and administer it virtually. More and more, startup owners as well as experienced entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the opportunity to work out of a virtual office, which could be their basement, garage, a quiet park, a bustling coffee shop or a rented office space at a coworking company.
And why not? After all, with plenty of business operations happening entirely–or mostly–online, it only makes sense to set up your future office on the Internet and to start making money without spending on a traditional leased office. However, there are still those who are wary of businesses that only operate online, without a brick-and-mortar presence.
You may ask: Is it truly possible to efficiently keep a handle on your startup and technology needs from a remote location?
In this post, we’ll compare the features and benefits of working in a traditional office versus a virtual office to help you decide which best suits your needs.
What is a Traditional Office Space?
Practically everyone knows what a traditional, or brick-and-mortar office space is. With physical offices to perform daily operations, traditional offices come complete with desks, computer stations, meeting rooms and office tables and chairs. This setup has been in existence for as long as there have been businesses. To this day the traditional set-up is favored by many, although the rise of virtual offices continues to threaten its popularity.
With the digital revolution making it easier for us to work anytime, anywhere, a lot of experts have, over the past years, predicted the death of the traditional office–but their warnings remain premature. The benefits of virtual working are evident for some industries, but the physical office space still holds relevance and significance for 21st-century businesses.
Advantages of Working in a Traditional Office Space
A professional space –
When you have a physical office, you can be confident of always having a professional place to have meetings, bring clients, and work with your staff. You can even use this space to create and establish the personality of your brand, as well as develop a community with your clients. If your business places importance on meeting clients in person and guaranteeing customer service success, then you should seriously think about leasing a traditional office space.
Complete control over the office environment –
A physical workspace also helps you have full control over your office environment. You, as well as your team members, all have access to the same tools and resources. When you have an actual professional workspace, you’re also better equipped to shape your business culture and to make sure you produce high-quality output consistently. In fact, according to multiple studies, a professional, well-organized and positive work environment has a direct impact on the morale and productivity of employees.
Strong credibility –
In a nutshell, a physical address allows your business to get listed on Google Places and other online sources, making it visible and searchable for anyone browsing companies online. This is a simple, yet fundamental way to get your business noticed by potential clients. By getting a Google Places listing, you can boost your exposure for search engine traffic, improve your activity for local searches, and make it easy for customers to leave reviews for your business.
Employee collaboration –
In addition, a physical office location gives you the advantage of having an actual area for your team members to meet and collaborate on ideas.
Who benefits from traditional office spaces the most – Entrepreneurs who meet clients on a regular basis, large corporations that handle multiple teams, businesses that aim to establish credibility for local clients and companies that require face-to-face interactions to complete daily operations.
What is a Virtual Office Space?
Simply put, a virtual office is a modern workspace solution, complete with a physical mailing address, that you can rent to help make your startup business appear more established. This solution also offers other essential features, including a receptionist, a local phone number and meeting and conference rooms that you can rent on an hourly basis to create a positive impression for your clients, should you need to meet with them personally.
Of course, while it offers some of the features of a traditional office space, the most notable difference between the two is the fact that virtual offices mainly operate remotely, using only the Internet to handle work requirements. Many startups find this beneficial for their business because of lower overhead costs and the flexibility afforded to the team.
Advantages of Working in a Virtual Office Space
Let’s take a closer look at the unique benefits of choosing to work in a virtual office:
No commute time –
Studies have found that in virtual offices, the two or three hours per day typically used for getting ready for work and travelling to the office is now spent working. In addition, you’ll have no commute-related expenses, helping you save on transportation costs.
Overall flexibility –
Are you a morning person? Then, you can get up as early as 5 o’clock in the morning and start your workday. Starting early can help you organize your tasks better, clean out your email and start on the pitch you’re working on. If you prefer evenings instead, no worries. Many people find it more effective to work when the family’s in bed and the house is quiet. It can be challenging to keep such flexible hours in a traditional office, so this is actually one of the best advantages you can expect from this workplace solution.
Lower overhead costs –
Aside from possibly upgrading your Internet services to allow for more speed, working in a virtual office won’t cost you any more than your current daily expenses. Whether you’re working in a nook in your kitchen or in the comfort of your own room, yourrent won’t change and you’re actually maximizing the space you have to make more money.
Multitasking is easier –
Since you’re at home, you can turn your forced downtime into something productive for your household. On hold with a client? No problem. You can sort the laundry or prepare a quick meal for the kids while waiting for a feedback. A lot of chores that would normally pile up for evenings and the weekend can now be easily accomplished during your workweek.
Sense of freedom –
There are no office politics and dress codes. If you want to work in your pajamas, then by all means, do so. Unless you’re working with a team member at home, no one will know what you’re wearing, and no one cares.
Who benefits from virtual office spaces the most: Professionals who don’t want to reveal their personal address or location on their business documents, freelancers who aim to maintain an independent marketing identity, businesses with no permanent presence just yet, sales teams that travel between potential clients.
To foster happiness and productivity in your workplace, you should make sure to establish the right work environment for you and your team. It all depends on your needs. Are you starting a small business? Managing a growing consulting company? Venturing into the world of freelance website development and design? Every culture, work style and type of business needs a different space to thrive.
Whether you choose a traditional or a virtual office space, making the smartest decision for your specific business type is important. Both solutions can help you start and grow your business when utilized correctly. All you have to do is identify your business’ identity and analyze your needs so you’ll be able to pick which workspace solution is best for your needs. Lastly, be sure to consult a professional to help you determine the right choice for your new business venture.
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