Report shows rise in popularity of virtual offices
Here at officebroker.com we receive huge numbers of enquiries every day from businesses looking to move into new office space. Our enquiries bring many specifications – size, cost and location often being the most important.
However over recent months, we’ve noticed a significant trend emerging from our enquiries – the rise of the virtual office. So we decided to look further into this shift in popularity, and find out what it is about the virtual office that is becoming more appealing to businesses.
The virtual office allows companies to have a business address, calls answered and mail received, but without the need to go into the ‘office’ to work. They will carry out their working routine from home or from a cheaper office elsewhere. One of the biggest benefits is that businesses can choose a virtual address in a prestigious location that would otherwise be out of reach or too costly.
Over the last 6 months, we’ve noticed a steady rise in the amount of virtual office enquiries in 2009 when compared to the same period in 2008. Just take a look at our graph below:
What’s more, the trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, with June receiving the sharpest increase so far this year of a massive 41%.
So what is it about the virtual office that’s causing such a stir?
Simon Jones, officebroker.com’s Commercial Director, says:
“Cutting cost whilst maintaining a professional business image is the key to the success of any small company, and the virtual office product delivers exactly that.”
While one of the key benefits of a virtual office is the low costs associated – something which is high on the agenda in our current economy – it is also imperative that businesses do this without affecting their current performance.
With the virtual office, businesses can get a prime address, a receptionist to answer calls, a mail forwarding service, and discounted use of meeting rooms. Combine this with the fact that virtual offices can be acquired on a month-by-month basis, and it becomes a flexible, affordable solution for any business looking to expand, move into new locations, or simply cut the cost of overheads.
Many home-working or self-employed individuals choose to take on a virtual office to protect their home address, and project a more successful image of their company. The virtual office address can be printed on business cards and correspondence, and also provides a physical base for home-workers to meet their clients or suppliers in person.
The virtual office is also an excellent commodity for larger or more established businesses, as it allows companies to set up a presence in new locations – enabling the larger business to reach out to more clients, or to test the water in a new location before committing to physical office space.
The virtual office is saving businesses time and money, and is being used with success all over the world. A recent article by David Spark of sparkmediasolutions.com brought to light one such example of a business that had decided to go virtual, and made it work by taking on a network of technologies that were either free, or cost next to nothing. Spark attended a talk by Stephen Jagger, CEO of Ubertor, and explained their route to virtual success:
“Instead of searching for some new office space, Jagger and team all decided to go virtual. While they saved a fortune on rent and maintenance, they needed to adopt some Web 2.0 technologies in order to stay in touch and conduct business.”
The technologies they adopted included the likes of Skype for free video conferencing, Instant Messenger for communication between employees, Google Sites as a free Intranet tool, Google Analytics to keep up with external web performance – again free – and a number of other easily accessible technologies that helped the business function as normal.
Here at officebroker.com we’re finding that many businesses are looking to the virtual office as a way of saving money. In today’s cost-cutting climate, reducing overheads is everything. Outgoings are being scrutinized from every angle, and businesses are looking for effective ways to cut costs without losing out on productivity.
Simon Jones adds: “With more and more Providers adding features to their virtual office range, the line between a virtual and a real office is beginning to blur.”
Therefore the virtual office is proving itself as an effective tool for keeping costs low whilst still maintaining business performance and reaching new customers.
If you want to find out more about how a virtual office can help your business, contact us at officebroker.com for free expert advice. One of our friendly consultants will talk you through the process and will help you find the virtual office to suit you and your business.