The concept of a virtual office and virtual assistant has become increasingly popular over the last few years. What’s been driving this technology, which has ushered in our collectively ability to work from anywhere at almost any time. Another reason is an increase in flourishing small businesses who need the skills of an assistant, but don’t necessarily have the ability to pay for one, or have the need for full-time help. There are a great many benefits to going virtual, but before we get into that, though, let’s explain what each one is.
According to David Seinker, CEO of The Business Exchange (TBE), a local co-working space, a virtual office is essentially for when you can’t necessarily afford to rent office space, but you need an address in a prime location.
“Renting virtual office space provides start-ups and entrepreneurs with an affordable, yet prestigious business address without the daily aggravations of renting physical space,” says Seinker. “You can operate from the comfort of home, but have the benefit of a business address in a bustling busy centre. At TBW, those who make use of our virtual office services will be able to direct calls our way, as well as have access to add-on services such as book meeting rooms and make use of other professional services for when they conduct client meetings.”
A virtual assistant, on the other hand, is able to conduct specific tasks for any business. Perhaps the need is to help keep track of someone’s diary, post to social media, or provide creative assistance to a business. It could also be to project manage a particular assignment for a certain period of time. It really depends on what you need.
There are many benefits to using these virtual services. According to Seinker, many of TBE’s virtual office members highlight that the main benefit for them is having a prime address. “We found that entrepreneurs want to have an address that’s in the thick of the business world, but they can’t afford the rent in these locations. Making use of a virtual office means that they are able to have the address that they want at a much lower rate than what rent here would cost them otherwise. This way, they can funnel much-needed money into other aspects of their business.”
“Not having to worry about missing calls has been a lifesaver for me,” says one virtual office user. “I am on the road a lot and, as a result, I could potentially miss a lot of calls. I don’t need a brick and mortar office space, but I do need someone to take calls and messages for me, so this service has been a massive help in that regard.”
The benefits of making use of a virtual assistant are multiform. One of these is cost reduction. Virtual assistants are usually self employed and charge an hourly or project based rate, depending on the scope of work. Businesses who make use of virtual assistants don’t have to worry about hardware either, as each has their own. There is also no need to consider company benefits. Another plus is that a virtual assistant can offer a particular skill, or service, that you don’t have within your team already. For example, if you are a laundry company and you need social media work, you may consider a virtual assistant to do this on an ad-hoc basis, and you and your team can focus on your core business. Making use of such a service also means that managers whose task it is to grow revenue, don’t get bogged down or stuck on daily admin tasks.
Clearly, there are a number of ways in which virtual office services make life easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses. These days people are able to work from literally anywhere in the world. It comes as no surprise then that the appeal of virtual offices and virtual assistants is ever growing, and it’s a tool that many businesses can look to in order to streamline their business.