In 2020 many businesses and employees felt forced into remote working and virtual offices. Places like our Calgary Business Centre can attest to this fact. Here we are two years later, and it seems that Calgary still supports virtual offices in lieu of their traditional situations.
A virtual office is sometimes considered a shared space. It offers a company a physical presence with some related equipment or services. Here are some reasons why a virtual office is so popular.
The two major influences on corporate decisions are to make money or to save money. In the case of virtual offices, the savings come in several ways. The obvious is the savings on rent and, depending on the terms of the lease, that could also mean utilities. By sharing equipment and services, you are also experiencing significant savings in overhead. All of this increases the profit margin and leaves extra money for investment or to pass on to customers at lower prices.
The virtual office space is available for face-to-face meetings when necessary and a central location for events or a place to work when the remote space is too busy. With the more affordable rates, companies have found they are able to secure space in upscale, respected office buildings which they could not have otherwise afforded. This increases the company’s reputation and presents a better image.
Another cost savings is in technology. With a remote workforce, each employee is responsible for their own computing services, including both hardware and software. With cloud storage, all of the information is available anywhere on any type of device. This does open a risk for cyber security, but is relatively easily managed with solid passwords, oversight, and employee training.
In a company where physical proximity is unnecessary, employees who work from remote locations (like home, or on vacation, or anywhere), show more satisfaction in their jobs. This increases productivity, which means a huge benefit for the company. This results in lower turnover because personalities are less in play.
Another benefit is the elimination of a level of management that is no longer necessary. Supervisors and middle managers do not need to monitor employees every day. There is no need to move from desk to desk to be sure everyone is doing their job and no need to deal with the drama of conflicting work habits.
A head cold is certainly a reason to stay home from the office to avoid spreading the infection to co-workers. However, when working remotely, employees find it is fine to keep plugging through the nasal drip and can deliver work products without spreading germs.
Likewise, it is found that a remote workforce uses fewer vacation days. It becomes simpler to schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher or to have the plumber come without taking half a day of PTO. Adjusting their work schedule becomes a more agreeable option for all parties and results in the same amount of work being produced and a more satisfied staff.
This will translate to a better balance between work and life. However, when the employee finds that life distractions are becoming too common, they have the choice to work from your virtual space with all of the amenities that the building offers, like restaurants or nearby pubs to meet friends after hours.
Again, this translates to more satisfied personnel, which means a greater chance for retention.
The Legal Aspects
Especially for a start-up or sole proprietorship, it differentiates between your home and the public, keeping your privacy and preventing your home address from being published. You can use this address to register for business directories and credit applications. It will keep all legal correspondence at the office and personal information at home.
Even if you already have an established office space but are considering expansion to another city, virtual offices provide the ability to scale up with less risk. Being able to access the amenities you need means lower costs while deciding if this is the right move for your operation.
There could be concerns about your residence being located in an area that is not zoned for commercial work. There can also be issues with an apartment condo rules or regulations within your homeowners’ association. If you do choose to take meetings at home, it is advisable to have a separate entrance for your office space to avoid confusion or interrupting others.
If proximity to the virtual office is not required, it provides the opportunity to score employees from anywhere in the community, country, or the world. Unless there is a reason for a physical meeting, the employees work from their choice of the remote location. They can also have the choice to come into the virtual office if that works better for them.
As your company grows, expansion is much simpler. You won’t necessarily need to move to larger or more expensive buildings. If you are expanding to new cities, you can experiment with a virtual office in that city without the necessity to open a full-scale space. You can also hire locally as you become more permanent in that location.
Many buildings or leasing agents will agree to month-to-month or short-term commitments. This reduces the company’s financial risk and gives the flexibility to adjust space based on needs and economics.
Many virtual office arrangements include support services like answering phone calls, handling mail, or other tasks. This relieves you of hiring another employee or taking care of mundane tasks when you need to focus on the core business. There can also be connections to human resource services, accounting, technical support and others. It is also possible that your leasing agent will have access to a list of qualified individuals or companies that would be able to provide those services at a reasonable fee.
Virtual office space is not for everyone or every enterprise. However, it is shown to be highly successful for startups, small businesses, and freelancers. It offers an identity with a respectable office building, access to meeting space, technology, and support staff, and enhances your image as a professional. Check out our rental options here, or contact us for any questions or concerns.