It seems like everything is going virtual these days. Virtual workouts. Virtual assistants. Virtual houses. Virtual friends.
It’s possible that there is a virtual option for everything and anything you already have. The upside of this can sometimes feel pretty dubious. But while a lot of the virtual options available don’t add a whole lot of value to our lives, some of them do.
One virtual option that businesses need to be aware of is the virtual office.
But what is a virtual office?
In this article, we tell you exactly what a virtual office is and how it is different from other modern options for office spaces.
Put simply, a virtual office is a suite of services used by a business that is usually associated with office space — but the big difference is that the business does not actually occupy physical office space. A virtual office is an offering from a specialist business service provider and usually involves a package of business solutions.
The main idea behind a virtual office is that it gives enterprises the option of having a business location without having to pay for physical office space. Usually, the location of a virtual office is in a professional area, like the CBD of a major city. This gives businesses the opportunity to create a highly professional image for clients and customers while retaining low overheads and maximum flexibility.
Of course, a virtual office usually entails more than a postcode. Here is a list of the services that Christie Spaces provides with its virtual office offering:
In essence, then, a virtual office provides comprehensive services to not only help create a professional image but also to make business operations easy.
Virtual offices can also be used in conjunction with the use of flexible office space, particularly open offices and hot-desking workspaces.
An open office is the same concept as a coworking space, sometimes also called a shared office. But what is a coworking space?
A coworking space or open office is serviced office space that two or more businesses share. Usually, an open office is set up and serviced by a specialist provider, often the same type of provider as that of a virtual office.
A coworking space usually comes already kitted out with the essentials of a modern office, saving a business from having to invest in expensive overheads. Christie Spaces’ coworking spaces, for example, come ready to use with:
Somewhat similar to a virtual office, one of the major advantages of a shared office space is that it gives businesses access to high-quality professional services that they would likely not have access to if setting an office space up from scratch.
In real terms, what an open or shared office provides businesses with is operational flexibility. Avoiding lock-in contracts in office spaces with rigid square metres, a shared office means that you can easily take up more space when needed, as well as decrease the size of your space as the need arises.
As the last couple of years has taught us, it’s critical that businesses can stay agile and not be dragged down by expensive overheads. Using a shared office means that a business can use highly flexible work arrangements (i.e. people working limited days/hours in the office) while saving money by doing so.
Another big benefit of open offices is that they afford people working in business the opportunity to meet other professionals. This can entail the simple benefit of gaining knowledge and insight about business topics. But it can also mean that business operators gain access to potential future collaborators or even clients.
Christie Spaces takes the collaborative aspect of coworking seriously, which is why we have a dedicated community team that puts on regular professional and social events.
Hot-desking is a term that is often misunderstood, no doubt because the name is somewhat groovy. So what is the meaning of hot-desking?
To put it simply, hot-desking is a specific kind of coworking space. The defining feature of a hot-desking office is that the workspaces within the office are used each day on a first-come basis. So, when workers come in each day, they simply sit down at a chosen desk and begin working.
This is an office model that has long been employed not just in coworking offices but also in major firms operating their own premises. Financial services firm Citi, for example, started using a hot-desking model to try to economise on office space while also creating a more vibrant environment for its personnel.
Hot desks can be more economical because a business doesn’t have to pay for every employee to have their own desk, a situation that is unnecessarily expensive if employees are working to flexible schedules.
But hot-desking also contributes to a more vibrant work culture, foreclosing on the possibility of employees coming to work each day and hiding, bored and unproductive, in a cubicle or office.
Unlike a lot of the other ‘virtual’ varieties of the modern world, a virtual office is not so far removed from reality. What we’ve shown in this article is that a virtual office is very close to the real thing — a real location, real services, and a real place to meet clients and other business contacts.
But a virtual office is real in another way too: it can very easily be turned into a real, physical office when required.
If you wish to set up a virtual office with Christie Spaces, it’s very easy to take up real office space whenever you need it, whether that’s in a shared office, a hot-desking workspace, or even a private office.