Lately, there has been a lot of buzz around virtual offices. Let’s figure it out. The service of a virtual residence is tailored as an alternative to providing entrepreneurs around the world with a professional and official address in a location where they do not operate. Thus, freelancers, small and medium-sized businesses discover new markets remotely.
To comfort clients’ business, in addition to the basic package of services, the top 10 virtual office companies in the UK offer extra office-related services, such as phone answering, mail forwarding, scanning and digital storage. But sometimes businesses need a local office to follow the rules or impress the investors. London is an example to show you the pros and cons of both options; the purpose is to help you choose the best one for your business.
Virtual Address: Benefits and Drawbacks
The virtual residence is typically used for business registration, marketing, invoices, and correspondence. The standard package of services, supplemented by a variety of offers, depending on the chosen plan, provides benefits. Below, we identified the significant ones:
- Saving money: While a real office in London can cost £650 per person/month, a virtual address is only £25 per month, with a digital one you don’t have to pay for rent, bills, or other costs of a physical office
- Working anywhere: You can work from your home, a shared space, a café, or a hotel. You can also change your virtual address plan as your business grows or moves. You don’t have to sign long or expensive contracts
- Looking reliable: You can make your customers, partners, and investors happy with a real address in London, a famous place. For example, The Hoxton Mix offers an office at 86-90 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NE. A prestigious virtual address can also help your website and online business. You may also join the community of the virtual office company and other businesses that use it
- Being safe: You can keep your personal information and avoid people bothering you. This allows for flexible balancing between your work and your private life
What’s the catch, you might ask. Well, a virtual address poses some drawbacks, here they are:
- Lack of trust: In conservative business areas such as finance and law, customers may not like a business that doesn’t have a real office or a local team. They may want to see and meet the business in person. They may also wonder why your address and your phone number don’t match. It will be difficult for you to explain to such partners and investors why you can’t meet them at your address
- Limited access: In budget plans, not all the services come with a virtual address, such as phone, video, or meeting rooms. This is why you have to book and pay for extra services before you use them
- Legal challenges: Yes, you may have legal problems when you use a virtual address. For example, some places may need your business to have a real address or a person in charge in their area. You may also have to follow the tax rules and laws of the place where your address is
Real Office: Benefits and Drawbacks
A real office gives you a geo space, where you work and meet people. As the physical object you rent or own can be seen and touched; this is important for a conservative business, because tangibility inspires solidity and trust. It also makes your clients, partners, and investors loyal. Another undeniable benefit of a physical office is networking with businesses and specialists in your field, exchanging ideas, resources, and opportunities.
The office in concrete, iron, and glass also provides faster customer service because you talk to them and help them in person. In addition, you get more flexibility to meet with partners and show or deliver your products or services to them. A real office makes your clients satisfied and your reputation and value higher.
The embodied in concrete office has drawn a bad reputation for a long time; here are the reasons:
- Cost: For rent, bills and other expenses of a physical office you have to spend a fortune. A London hardcore office can be around £650 per person every month, however, you may also need to pay extra for furniture and equipment; security, insurance etc.
- Commute: You need to transport yourself from and back to the office each day, which can take much time, cash in addition energy. The statistic commute time in London is 46 minutes, the longest of any city across the United Kingdom (UK). You may also have to contend with traffic, overcrowding, and pollution among other issues
- Environment: Having a real office, you’ll produce pollution. For instance, consume electricity, water gas and paper, you produce additional quantities of carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases and other pollutants when commuting to your office
- Health: When you have an actual office, one has to take more health risks due to stress, fatigue, infection, and injury. You may also have reduced time and opportunity for sports, recreation, relatives, and friends
Learn more about the advantages and drawbacks of working remotely versus physically in geolocation at Virtual Office.com. Note that the top 10 virtual office companies available in the UK provide services beyond the mailing address and telephone number. They also offer shared working spaces, business mentorship and a community of fellow entrepreneurs. All these factors make them perfect for startups, freelancers and small businesses to build a brand that helps save money.
There are pros and cons to having a virtual address and a real office situated in — choosing between them depends on what kind of business you own, its size, as well as objectives. Below is an expert table of criteria and assessments for different types of business from a virtual office provider The Hoxton Mix, which summarises the main points to consider:
|Suited for Offices in
|Startups with Limited Budgets
|Rapidly Growing and Agile Businesses
|Industries Requiring Physical Presence and Trust
|Businesses with Strict Confidentiality Requirements
|Client-Intensive Industries and Relationship-Based Services
|Non-Urgent Correspondence and Non-Time-Sensitive Ventures
|Businesses Minimally Dependent on Face-to-Face Interaction
|Strictly Regulated Sectors and Highly Compliant Businesses
|Remote or Globally Distributed Businesses
|Team-Centric Industries and Collaborative Work Environments
|Task-Oriented Professions and Team-Driven Workplaces
|Service Industries Emphasising Client Interaction
|Remote or Locally Independent Workforces
|Businesses Focused on Sustainability and Green Practices
|Health and Wellness-Related Ventures
However, even the leading 10 virtual office companies in the UK, despite their outstanding, cannot offer a one-size-fits-all solution.
The choice between a virtual address and an actual office depends on what your business needs. It is about creating an address that speaks to the pulse of your business, a decision not only about where you stand but also what direction to head. Matching the assessment with the type of business according to the given criteria in favour of a virtual office vs. a physical address will help you make the choice.