Why you should use a virtual office

Four reasons why you don’t need to spend on setting up a traditional office to recruit staff

If you’re taking on more work than you can handle as a sole trader, one of the biggest costs involved in starting up a business is that of setting up an office.

But now you don’t need to. With rental fees for office space as well as the equipment for employees – not to mention the expense of paying the bills – it might make sense to implement a virtual office. Here’s four reasons why it’s a virtual no-brainer:

1. Technology makes life easy

Running a virtual office allows you to stay in touch with your colleagues via the phone and internet – in fact, should you be hiring employees from far and wide you may not even meet them in person.

Having this freedom helps to build a global online presence far easier than having your staff all under the same roof; and will save everyone on travel costs if their commute would otherwise be costly.

2. The office never closes

Although you’d think the removal of the nine-to-five workday would detract from overall productivity, it wouldn’t make much sense to run a virtual office under those terms; your meeting at noon in the UK would mean an extremely early morning for someone on the west coast of the States and a late night for someone in Australia!

It would be far better to arrange a time to suit everyone even if it does require something more traditionally considered off-the-clock. That’s the beauty of a virtual office; as is the significantly lower cost of staying in touch via phones and the web.

3. You can look as professional

Considering these advantages, you may find it prudent to set up a few more traditional workplace practices for yourself, such as a proper postal address. Setting up a PO Box with your given business name and address would give a more professional feel than it would if you were to have your home listed as the recipient.

When meeting clients too, there’s the possibility of meeting room hire; you wouldn’t expect a formal business meeting to be conducted in someone’s flat! While your mind may be set on running a virtual office, it’s worth being aware of the extra steps you can take to project a professional image.

4. Protection against claims is as simple

One more step is to keep your business insured; if you specialise in dispensing advice or providing products to clients, it’s best to stay protected against any claims of misconduct by taking out professional indemnity insurance.

You may be serious about your business even if you don’t subscribe to the more traditional office method, but having that cover sends the clearest message of all to prospective clients, that you are, above all, a professional.

For start-up businesses any sign of mismanagement can be seized upon, which is why it’s important to conduct yourself in as professional a manner as possible. Your reputation and financial status could be in jeopardy if you make a mistake that causes a client to take a hit, so it would be advisable to stay protected against such costly mistakes.

With these things in mind, you can successfully begin the process of setting up and running a virtual office for the time being, until your schedule and funds allow you to maintain a physical office presence should you so wish.

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