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For many people, working from home provides a cost-saving alternative. Small to large businesses can operate out of a local home, or big companies may save money on bricks and mortar buildings by having employees telecommute. While the advantages of telecommuting are just beginning to be explored in full by many businesses, there are still some benefits to having access to office space. One solution is virtual office space.
It should be clear that virtual office space is actually a physical, and usually not a “virtual” or online space. One thing companies may run into when starting up is that things like post office boxes may signify they’re not as professional as they should be. Conducting all work in telecommuting fashion can rob a workplace of its professional appearance, and meetings at home may suggest the company is not as well funded or organized as required. Since companies may still want to give a professional appearance even though they all come to work in footy pajamas (at home on their computers), they may occasionally require office space, and a physical address.
There are now numerous companies that rent virtual office space, usually for fairly low prices, far less than it would cost to rent an office full time. These spaces can have conference rooms, full kitchens, and in general, professional looking meeting spaces when clients need to show up at an office. They also avoid the issue of people needing to conduct any mailing or shipping business with post office boxes, which can give a company a much more stable appearance.
Depending upon area and needs, cost to rent virtual office space can be less than or a simply a couple hundred US Dollars (USD) per month. This still saves a great deal of money by not having to maintain an office building, but provides a permanent and physical location when business needs to be conducted in person. Some of these virtual office space locations also offer phone services, though employing a receptionist or a virtual call service elevates expenses. Instead, many people simply have calls rerouted to their home or main location, or pick up messages left on answering machines throughout the day.
There can be some disadvantages to virtual office space. These can include having to share the office with many other people who also use the space. People may need to attend meetings to determine when and if they can schedule time to use the office. Costs to rent are usually kept low by maximizing number of companies that make use of the space. Still, many agree having a virtual office is a cost saving measure that might help make a business seem much more professional.
Thank you for describing the advantages and disadvantages of virtual office. You listed sharing as being a disadvantage, but it can result in a symbiotic relationship.