A virtual office is a great facility, especially for online businesses and startups. Using a virtual office is considered a futuristic way to do business. 71% of the Millenials think that within a decade, traditional offices will be replaced with virtual offices. That is why more and more people are switching to virtual offices. But, like everything else, there are two sides to the coin.
A virtual office offers you amazing office services like front desk services, a receptionist, and mail forwarding. A registered business address comes with a virtual office. That address can be used as your business address. It looks unprofessional to use your home address for your business mail. It also makes it unsafe and a hassle for your family. To protect the privacy of your personal life and make your business look professional with a virtual office. You can use the office facilities and shared workspace when you need to. These services are affordable as compared to running a traditional office. You can get a virtual office in many different locations. You can use an international talent pool because of remote working.
A virtual office gives you a scalable business model. You can pick the services you need and pay for them. Usually, they are charged every month and the contract can be terminated like that as well. Not just that, you can even pick and mix the services to suit your requirements. You can pick the services or features you want and pay for them instead of paying for predefined packages with unused features.
Another good thing about the virtual office is that it is very easy to set up and use. Anyone can set it up and use its services. It is an online, paperless office and takes only a few minutes to subscribe online. The interiors and aesthetics of the shared workspace are according to the latest trends. There is a conference room with all the facilities, cafeterias, and office areas where you can drop in any time you want to use them. In short, it decreases your overheads and increases your productivity.
But this is the good side of virtual offices. With all their benefits, virtual offices have their downside as well. Look into them before deciding whether it is a good choice for you or not.
Although they are popular for affordable rates they are not definitive in their packages. Some providers keep on adding small weekly charges for services like if you want to get your mail forwarded bi-weekly instead of monthly, you have to pay extra. These can add up to make a significant amount at the end of the month. Beware of these hidden charges and calculate before subscribing. Few providers give you all-inclusive packages.
Unreliable technical troubleshooting:
The whole system of your business is working online. You can rely on the technology you use from your home office. It is unwise to rely completely on the technology of the virtual office. If there is any problem, the troubleshooting can be delayed and you can’t do anything about it. You just have to wait it out and lose precious working hours.
Timings for access to conference rooms and desks:
It is a very useful feature that the virtual office gives you. But like always, there is a catch to it. The access to these facilities is restricted because of timings on business days from 9 am to 5 pm. Not to mention that since it is a shared environment, a booking schedule has to be followed. It is not a complete walk in the park as it is marketed. You should plan your meetings far ahead and book the rooms in advance. You might not get the room for untimely meetings and desk needs.
The biggest dilemma of a remote worker is non-socializing:
The lack of social interaction and physical work environment is the biggest issue that remote workers face, the Covid-19 has further pushed this. There is regular virtual communication between the employees. But it cannot compete with physical workmate associations.
Building a team spirit is difficult as well. Trust between colleagues is developed when they work together and face work crises together. But it is hard to develop that camaraderie if they never meet face to face and never get to have lunch together. There are virtual activities to make them interact; it is not as effective as working on the same premises.
Working alone can be boring and monotonous. Employees eventually lose interest and feel non-committed to their work. They feel that they are out of the work and social loop. They are not motivated enough and that decreases overall productivity.
For many employees drawing the line between work hours and personal life becomes difficult. This can be unhealthy for them. 18% of the remote workers feel stressed and unable to switch from work to personal life because they are in the same environment all the time.
Tough to manage accountability:
Remote workers cannot be held accountable for the amount of work they do daily. Although there are proper systems for daily and weekly reporting, the quality of work can’t be monitored, like in a traditional office environment. Following deadlines and project deployment schedules are also difficult. If they are slacking or falling out, you can’t be sure their excuse is real or not. After all, you can’t be sure if their Wi-Fi connection is down or not. As a manager or employer, you would want to believe your employees. This can cause slight mistrust which is not good for the work environment.
The Takeaway: The drawbacks of using a virtual office are fewer than its benefits but they are not insignificant. Make sure you understand them and have things sorted out before selecting a virtual office to avail all of its benefits.