As businesses offer their workers more flexibility and mobility, office spaces are also being transformed to match the new styles of work. One of the biggest recurring expenses for any business can be rent for office space and the associated overheads. This is especially true for startups. Serviced office space and virtual offices are two different kinds of solutions that have emerged to meet the changing nature of work.
Virtual offices and serviced offices are alternatives to leasing or buying office space, but they are quite different. Serviced offices are more similar to traditional real-world offices, but are owned and managed by facility management companies. Virtual offices provide only a physical address and occasionally office facilities and technology but are largely used by businesses with workers who work from remote locations.
What is a Virtual Office?
Telecommuting and remote work are part of the reality of the new office, made possible by advances in internet technology and the wide availability of mobile devices. Businesses with telecommuting workers don’t need a physical office space to which employees commute to work. But they may sometimes need a physical address, even one in a prestigious location. They may also need to schedule occasional conferences for employees or meetings with clients.
Virtual office space is ideal for businesses with employees who are technologically savvy and capable of working without onsite supervision. Virtual offices can also provide facilities like online work platforms, phone services, and administrative and conference support, if needed. They can also offer video conferencing software for meetings. Virtual offices also tend to be budget-friendly, which can be an important consideration for small businesses.
Virtual office space has many advantages for a business that does not need a physical location. Workers can be located anywhere, which means that they can be hired from among the best talent nationwide or even worldwide. A virtual office is an open round the clock, so workers can pick their own schedule. It is not subject to the vagaries of weather or traffic and no matter what the conditions outside, employees will be able to get to work and complete their assignments.
What is a Serviced Office Space?
A serviced office is more like traditional office space, with a physical location to which employees travel each day for work. The big difference from a traditional five space is that the business does not own or lease the premises. The office and generally the entire building or office complex is managed by a facilities management company, that handles all property management issues. Serviced offices have become popular because they cut down on overheads and property management functions, allowing staff to focus on the core mission of the business.
Serviced offices generally offer flexible leases, which can be rented for any period that suits the business. They can even accommodate businesses that need office space only for a few months, or for few days every week. Serviced offices generally provide all facilities necessary, including phones, computers, internet services, fax machines, pantry, and break room for employees.
Serviced offices have many advantages for businesses, especially if they are small or just starting out. The flexible lease terms make them a good choice for businesses that have been newly established, or are looking for more permanent premises. They may also be suitable for businesses that are looking to expand or to set up a new branch office in another location.
What Are the Differences Between Virtual and Serviced Office Spaces?
Both kinds of office space give businesses the flexibility to pay for only the office space and facilities they need, and to expand these as needed. There are also important differences between the two, since they serve companies with different needs and missions.
1. Physical space
Serviced offices have an office space to which workers travel each day to work. Virtual offices don’t provide a physical workspace but only an address and other facilities like phone and fax numbers if needed.
2. Location of workers
In a serviced office, workers have to live within commuting distance from the location. With a virtual office, workers can be located anywhere in the country or anywhere in the world.
3. Technological skills
Virtual office workers must be proficient in using the latest technology, since they will be using computers and the internet for all their work. While these skills are useful for regular office goers and serviced offices, they are not always the most essential ones.
4. Face to face meetings
Workers may never meet face to face in a virtual office. In a serviced office, by contrast, workers meet every day and work in the same physical space.
The two kinds of office space serve different purposes, and the costs are different as well. Serviced offices have higher costs than virtual offices, because they provide more facilities.
Serviced office and virtual office space give businesses the flexibility and services they need, letting them pay only for space and facilities they actually use. These can be expanded as the business grows. Either is a good choice for a small or startup business, depending on its specific needs.