Who knew that Covid-19 would have been a key driver for many digitalisation initiatives by companies, even to a point where it was hailed as ever company’s Chief Technology Officer? Well, the pandemic has brought light to the need for a physical office, with lockdowns restricting movement to and fro the offices.
With remote and hybrid working a popular trend among businesses, companies are relooking at their workplace strategy when it comes to having a physical office. The idea of having a virtual office is now the talk of the town, and rightly so, as hybrid working model is here to stay, especially for newly incorporated companies.
What Is a Virtual Office?
A virtual office is a service that empowers businesses and employees to work remotely without the need for a physical space while utilising the infrastructure of a corporate organisation such as telephone and messaging services, meeting rooms, mailing address, and more.
Here’s the full breakdown of the most common virtual office characteristics:
Pros & Cons of Virtual Offices
The popularity of virtual offices in recent times is because of its list of advantages, which includes the following.
Advantages of Virtual Offices
Cost-efficient operating model
One of the main benefits of having a virtual office is that the business saves costs for rental and utility bills – especially in Singapore where rental and utilities are expensive. These cost savings can be put to better use such as business expansion or research and development.
Attracting top talents can be difficult. By empowering employees the flexibility for remote working, there is a higher chance of hiring better talents.
Access to global pool of talents
With the remote working model, you don’t have to hire locals and can expand your talent search globally, reaching a new pool of talents that you may not have encountered while having a physical office.
Beyond just having a physical business address, your office needs such meeting spaces and printing services are usually available on-demand.
Curating a professional presence
Brand perception is key to success – by having virtual offices, you can have presence in the more prestigious office buildings when meeting a client or conducting sales prospecting activities. Credibility’s the name of the game here.
Efficient business expansion
Virtual offices make it easier to work in multiple locations, thus making business expansion a very attainable goal. All you need is just to incorporate your company and get the physical address.
While there are plenty of advantages, businesses should also understand the downsides of having a virtual office.
Disadvantages of Virtual Offices
If your laptop breaks down, a cell phone gets lost, or the internet is not working, there could be a communication gap between internal employees and customers.
As more employees are working remotely and have more autonomy, business owners or managers will not really know if their employees are working.
Lack of employee interaction
Virtual offices will ultimately reduce the level of employee interaction. This could create silos and teamwork may be compromised.
ADVISE: Not all companies suit the virtual office model. Do consider the needs of your company and employees before making the decision. For example, a small-scale creative agency may opt for a virtual office, but a large manufacturing company cannot operate without a physical office.
Difference Between Virtual Offices & Private Mailboxes
Private mailboxes represent an alternative to virtual offices, although there is less flexibility for such arrangements. The differences are highlighted below.
Private Mailboxes (PO Boxes)
Information flow & communication
Potential restriction of flow of information as most businesses do not accept a Secretary of State-registered PO box as the official address, resulting in real estate and licensing problems
Communication and information flow through the web in an instant
Option to receive mail and conduct mail forwarding
More expensive than virtual offices
Cheaper than private mailboxes
Usually do not provide other services
On-demand services like copying, printing, meeting rooms, and more are available
A typical virtual office package in Singapore will provide a business with a corporate business address; dedicated telephone and fax numbers; personalized telephone answering; mail handling; and the use of private offices, meeting rooms, and secretarial services on an ad-hoc basis.
Is it expensive to maintain a virtual office in Singapore?Tiwi2021-08-31T19:11:20+08:00