Posted on: 25 January 2019

Taking your premises online

A virtual office is a method of working remotely, but using many features of a traditional office via the internet. It is also a way of having a presence in a high profile business area, such as the City of London, but you could be working from anywhere around the country.

By working with a company who provides a virtual address, you can get a business address at office space as prestigious as London’s Gherkin, a receptionist who can answer or forward calls or post onto you and even book meeting rooms at your chosen address. All of this, can be achieved by working from the comfort of your own home.

Whilst this sounds like an attractive prospect, there are positives and negatives to the virtual office that we have explored below.

Advantages of a virtual office

Physical address

Many companies who offer virtual offices also offer physical addresses in major UK cities, including Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, allowing you to reach customers all around the country.

Whilst London is undeniably the biggest city for UK based businesses, it is also an attractive city for global companies, with Google building their new £1bn headquarters near King’s Cross station in London, and Chanel moving their HQ from New York. Having a presence in London could give your business a huge boost from the amount of new customers who will be able to find your services, especially if you offer a digital service.

Cost

By having a virtual office in London, you will be at the centre of the UK’s business world, without having to pay London office space prices. If we take the EC1 post code as an example, which covers prestigious business areas such as Camden or Hackney, a full virtual office can be set up for around £55 per month depending on the company,  whilst physical office space can cost anywhere from £149 to £48,000 per month.

Services

Depending on the kind of package you have with your virtual office, you may have some fantastic features that can save you time and make you look more professional. You may also have access to a receptionist, mail forwarding, spam email screening and meeting rooms depending on the package that you choose.

Working from home

Being able to work from your own home is one of the great joys in life. Whether it’s sitting in your most comfortable chair or having the TV on in the background, working from home gives you a more relaxed approach to your activities.

Disadvantages of a virtual office

Travel

Whilst having a company address in a major city might bring in more business, it could mean long commutes for meetings. As your business grows, you may need more regular meetings and frequently travelling to your registered address could prove costly. For example, if you were a Brighton based company looking to break into a northern market, you could be facing a three and a half hour to four hour train journey, or a 5 hour drive to Manchester, the north’s biggest city, and England’s second largest city by population.

Business inconsistency

Whilst some companies can provide a package with access to meeting rooms, not all of them can. Having an inconsistency between addresses may cause a lack of trust for your customers who might not understand why you can’t meet them at your premises. Having a mail forwarding service in place could also result in a delay in mail reaching you, which may cause you to miss out on business.

Working from home

Whilst we have listed working at home as a positive, it can also be a huge distraction. Working at home is great for self-motivators, but it can be too tempting to watch TV, tidy the kitchen or take an extra-long lunch instead of working on your projects.

Isolation

One of the best things about working in an office environment is the colleagues that you will spend your day with. Whether you’re discussing strategies in meetings or chatting about the latest TV series, spending time with your colleagues can help keep you focused and motivated.

A piece of research from Vodafone showed that 54% of the people that they surveyed thought that the workplace culture helped make them more productive.

Office insurance

Whether you work at home or you are based in an office, we can help arrange the perfect freelancer insurance or office insurance package to meet your insurance needs. Our trained insurance experts liaise with some of the UK’s most well-known insurance companies to find you an insurance policy that is right for your business. Get in touch today to receive a no obligation quote.

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