It would be fair to say that COVID-19 changed the world as we know it, nowhere more so than the workplace. Where once employees had limited freedom in terms of where they could work, the pandemic forced the hands of many business owners to allow for greater flexibility.
We’re now at a point in which going back to life prior to February 2020 seems insane, particularly given all the benefits that remote and hybrid working has brought to families who need that flexibility for their children. While many companies have returned to ‘normal’ conditions prior to the pandemic, some have in fact doubled down on remote working.
Whether you see this as a good thing or otherwise, the after effects of COVID are palpable, with the disease still floating around and having an impact in the UK. It might not be the force it once was, but it’s still worth mitigating the threat as much as possible.
So what is a virtual office?
A virtual office is a physical business address, as well as an array of office-related services, which you may think is essentially no different from a normal office, right? Well, the key difference is that you receive all these benefits without the overheads often associated with the long-term lease of an office.
This means employees can continue to work from anywhere – yourself included of course. It’s perfect for those that often travel around the country meeting various clients, as these offices do not exist in one fixed location, but several.
Flexible working during the pandemic changed the way we think about our office spaces, with the expensive office blocks in London becoming ever-more empty during the pandemic, and often staying that way when things had calmed in terms of case numbers. Once the risks and drawbacks are recognised, nobody wants to return to such a mode of working.
How can it help me?
If your business is a start-up, then a virtual office is absolutely perfect for you. The nightmare of office overheads is no longer something you have to worry about when weighing up your costs, which means you can save money in the long run. Rather than spending those profits on an office space that ends up becoming something of a white elephant, you can invest in other areas that need it.
Furthermore, you would not be at the behest of a landlord that one day decides to end their lease with your company – you are free to decide things on your own terms. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that it may be a cheaper option, but it still ultimately depends on how many services you would want included.
Despite all the positives, there are of course a few drawbacks. For instance, virtual offices may have limited access on evenings and weekends, perhaps not offering flexibility if you tend to work outside of the conventional 9-5 working week.
All that said, your experience with the virtual office ultimately depends on your own situation, as well as the kind of company that you work with to this end. You can maintain the best of both worlds, ensuring you have the health and flexibility of your employees in mind.