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Office Performance: Comparing Virtual and Serviced Environments


Traditional ways of working are evolving fast and for many companies there is often now less of a need for a large permanent office space in a town centre. Fortunately if a business doesn’t want to invest in a long term lease there are now viable alternatives.

Two of the options available are virtual and serviced offices and here we are going to explore the benefits of each.

Virtual Offices

Virtual offices provide many of the benefits of a traditional office, but for a fraction of the price, and The Workstation outlines why virtual working is now the first choice for many.

A clear benefit is that for those who work from home, virtual offices provide a physical address without the need to own or rent office space. Many virtual offices now also offer a telephone number and an answering service. This ensures that important business calls aren’t missed, but without the expense of having to employ your own receptionist, or take time out from your busy day to answer calls yourself.

That a company has a physical address and telephone number, which isn’t a private home, offers reassurance to clients that they are dealing with a legitimate business. It also means that the business owner doesn’t need to give out their personal details.

Virtual offices can work just as well for larger enterprises, where employees work from home but with a virtual space as their hub. Some virtual offices even offer physical space which you can use on an ad hoc basis for training and staff and client meetings.

Any business which employs staff who work from home will have a number of distinct advantages. Firstly, their overheads will be lower as they don’t have to pay for office space, heating, lighting, office equipment and consumables and a host of other day to day running costs. The business’s carbon footprint will be a great deal lower because of their reduced use of natural resources and because staff aren’t travelling to work every day. A virtual office naturally also produces very little in terms of waste, including paper, as employees are connecting via digital means.

Virtual working is also often better for employees on a number of levels. Firstly, because they don’t have a long commute, which is not only tiring but can eat up hours of their day. Secondly, they often have more flexible working arrangements to fit around other commitments and thus research has found that because of this and the fact that they are free from office distractions, their levels of productivity are higher.

Serviced Environments

Some companies who need additional resources but who are not willing to commit to long term office space, often find that serviced offices are a great alternative.

A serviced office usually provides space in a large office with a prestigious address, which a smaller company would not otherwise be able to afford. Skyline’s guide to serviced offices in London demonstrates that this is true even in a capital city.

Serviced office leases are short so that companies can test the water in a particular geographic location. It also means that they are a flexible space for companies whose employee numbers may be fluid as they take on different contracts. Cash flow is also often an issue for many start-ups and serviced offices offer the ability to pay monthly, rather than quarterly or yearly, with no high up-front costs.

With serviced offices everything is on tap and available to you, from office furniture through to computers, photocopies, printers and even kitchen equipment. A further advantage is that you don’t have to update this equipment as changes in technology advance as it is all supplied for you. Even receptionists, office cleaners, maintenance staff are not your responsibility, so you spend less time organising the building and staff and have more time for the core of your business.

A key advantage to a serviced office is that all the staff are housed in one place and this can be easier from a training and management perspective. Business is often also about networking and when multiple companies are housed in the same office space this not only gives you access to potential clients but also provides a nice working environment for your employees, who enjoy the camaraderie of working alongside others.

Both virtual and serviced offices offer unique advantages and many businesses find that they employ both options on a fluid basis, depending on their current needs and resourcing requirements. The flexibility and financial savings these two options offer are going to ensure that they will become ever more popular in our changing working world.      

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