The concept of the virtual office is not a new one, but with an increasingly mobile and technologically-enabled workforce, numbers of virtual office users have soared in recent years and are only likely to increase in the future. At its simplest, a virtual office is a ‘placeholder’ address for a business which can be used for correspondence purposes, allowing the user to work from whatever location they choose whilst still retaining the professional front of a physical location. However, some providers – like LEO – have taken the virtual office to a new level, providing services such as telephone answering, mail forwarding and occasional meeting room hire as part of the contract. With services like this contributing to the professional appearance of virtual offices, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses, large and small, are making the move.
If you are thinking of registering a virtual office address for your business, you may already have some preconceptions about how virtual offices work – and it’s likely that some of these will be ill-founded. Today on the LEO blog we set the record straight, taking five of the most common myths about virtual offices and debunking them,
Are Virtual Offices Legal?
Yes. Virtual office providers are, however, required to keep records of clients who use our services, along with a copy of their identification and proof of address, to help combat potential fraud.
Are Virtual Offices Expensive?
Virtual offices are not expensive. In comparison with central London business property prices, a virtual office can save you a great deal on your outgoings. With a virtual office contract, businesses are not required to meet the multiple overheads of rent, utilities, furniture, equipment, cleaning staff, or even cups of tea, but can still have a prestigious address and someone to take calls and deal with your business mail.
Are Virtual Offices just for Start Ups?
Far from it; the virtual office is a great option for a range of business models and sizes. For larger businesses, remote working is an increasingly viable option in a technology-enabled world. This may also have positive knock-on effects on staff motivation and output: research has shown that employees are up to 19% more productive if they work remotely. Additionally, working from home is often viewed as a huge perk for staff, which is ideal for attracting and retaining talented workers from across the world.
In the case of start-ups, however, the benefit of a virtual office may be felt more keenly. For any fledgling enterprise with uncertain capital or just a handful of employees, a virtual office is a very cost-effective solution to the issue of location, allowing your business to have a prestigious address without the accompanying price tag of property ownership.
Will Clients be able to tell that I’m using a Virtual Office?
No. LEO’s services are professional and efficient, just as you might expect a receptionist in an office might be. You can collect any mail or have it sent to your address. You can use our serviced meeting rooms to meet with clients, too. All this means that your clients will never know that you use virtual office services.
What’s the Difference between a PO Box and a Virtual Office?
A PO Box can only be rented in the same postal area you live or work in, so if you relocate, you would need to procure a new PO Box. A virtual office, however, has none of these restrictions: simply choose an address in your desired location and work from wherever you choose. For instance, if you are based in Manchester but are hoping to expand your business to the London market, then a virtual office with us can do just that. Additionally, a PO Box will not accept courier items from anyone other than the Royal Mail, but LEO will handle all deliveries addressed to your business address.
What if I Need a Physical Office on Occasion?
Not a problem: registering LEO’s virtual office service also grants users access to LEO’s business centre facilities when required, so if you are meeting a client face-to-face in London, LEO’s meeting room facilities will be available to you at discounted rates. LEO’s physical locations also offer hot-desking and co-working options for virtual office members when they are in the capital.