Virtual offices that offer companies a mailing address, answering services and many other perks similar to a physical office space - all without the typical expense - are fast growing in popularity among small businesses. In fact, the majority (57 percent) of small businesses report having employees working from a virtual office, while just 15 percent say all their employees work at a single office location, according to a recent survey by communications company RingCentral.
It's not hard to see why. The pluses of going virtual are myriad. Let's take a look at five of the top reasons home-based professionals, whether working for themselves or for a company, should make the move to a virtual office today.
Major cost savings
Perhaps you're a home-based professional considering a traditional, long-term lease in the heart of the city -- a fancy one near everything and everyone that matters to your business. Sounds like a dream, but you'll pay for it dearly in both cash and convenience, as traditional leases tend to last years. Signing up with a virtual-office provider means no long-term commitments and an instant savings of many dollars.
Given the probable cost savings, you might think a changeover to a virtual office will mean a proportionate dip in quality. Not so. At Metro Offices, our friendly, professionally-trained and conscientious staff will answer your dedicated business phone line and take a message or send the caller to voicemail if they prefer (our members' phones never go to voicemail during business hours). Plus they will collect and store your mail at one of our nine central DC and DC-metro-area locations. And our award-winning technology team provides members with live, on-call computer and network support in any of these locations.
Perhaps it's because you don't have coworkers coming by to tell you in great, long detail about their weekends, or because you're not stressing out about office politics, but whatever the reason, virtual office spaces have been shown to significantly boost worker productivity. Additionally, on those rare occasions you need to be physically present in the coworking space affiliated with your virtual office, you might find that sharing a coworking space with like-minded, dedicated professionals with whom you don't actually do business can actually make you significantly more productive than working either at a traditional office or alone.
"[N]ew research has discovered that it's not just noise that bothers us [when we work] but who's making it," writes Inc.com contributor Jory MacKay. "Of all things that distract us from our work, researchers say intermittent speech--hearing small snippets of conversation--has the most negative impact on our ability to concentrate. A meta-analysis of 242 studies found that hearing both sides of a conversation--like two people speaking in a coffee shop--isn't nearly as distracting as being next to someone on a call at work." When you're among strangers and working, "even though the sound level might be higher than you'd like, you're less likely to get pulled into the conversations and distracted."
In some cities, this one alone might be enough to make flexible and/or virtual-office working the primary method of getting things done during the week. The average commute time in the U.S. is more than 200 hours per year. Just think of all that you could accomplish in that wasted time if you had a virtual office and could work from pretty much anywhere.
Then, of course, there are the stressors of the typical large-city commute: the traffic, the wait for public transport, the road work and associated delays. A recent study shows that rising commute time has a significant ill effect on workers. "Researchers found that each extra minute of commuting time reduces both job and leisure time satisfaction ... and increases strain and worsens mental health for workers," according to an Inc.com piece on the study.
Larger talent pool
If you're just starting out as an entrepreneur, staying virtual will mean you get to cast a far wider talent net when you start looking to bring others onboard your new company. After all, if the best person for the new job you just created is in London and you're in the U.S., a traditional office set-up would have meant you could never have hired him or her. That's not the case with virtual offices and a remote workforce. As long as you and your new hire can both set aside sufficient overlap time during the workday for calls, videoconferencing, etc. So, why not bring in someone from halfway across the globe? (Plus, consider all the new ideas and solutions that could be born of having such a geographically diverse staff.)
Flexibility and agility
Perhaps your business has taken off sooner than expected, and you need more room, a different location, or a different type of space. With a traditional office lease or home base, you'd be in a bind. But with a virtual office provider like Metro Offices, your office space can adapt based on your needs. You can easily go from just a virtual office to an actual, physical office space in our conveniently located DC-area offices.
Have a new, all-hands-on-deck client in Dupont Circle, but thought you'd be in Chevy Chase? No problem. Hang your hat at our Dupont location and make that address your business address. Have an unexpected opportunity to meet with potential investors and need to impress? Reserve one of the fully appointed, spacious conference rooms at any of our locations and take your meeting with confidence.
Virtual offices are designed to grow and/or change with you and your needs. If you no longer need an offering you did last month, why continue to pay for it? Or perhaps you now need more. With Metro Offices, you can choose the services you need when you need them, and upgrade anytime.
With more than 25 years of experience, Metro Offices is the leader in virtual, shared, and temporary office spaces in and around Washington, DC. Why tie yourself up in a costly office-space lease? Click here to compare what it costs to run your own office with simply letting Metro Offices do the work for you.