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virtual-office-an-alternative-for-your-sme-2 | Capital Office

For any business, the workplace is a key element and can make all the difference in the launch of a company.

The economic crisis of 2008 changed the way businesses understand property rental services. There were many companies that had to cut staff. The space they had left was very large and it’s just not a viable option to continue paying, say 400 square metres for five employees.

Therefore, the rent of offices, both physical and virtual, became alternatives for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and companies in need of restructuring, against a background of uncertainty meant that they could not sign a five-year contract with a letting agent.

 Virtual or physical?

There needn’t be a clash between traditional and virtual office. Instead, there should be an understanding of the needs of each company to know what your best option is.

Virtual offices have gained ground, with estimates calculating a 20% growth in the segment in 2013.

A virtual space can develop work from home or in a place not so corporate and a worker can stick with that model as long as the customer requires, in addition to the support of corporate image and fiscal direction.

It is a simple product, very basic, which is uniquely affordable, especially to those that are just starting out in the business world.

This is a solution in which the professional can work from home, but has a backup that consists of a phone line answered by an operator (receptionist), and also involves a corporate address for correspondence and meeting rooms to serve clients and presentations.

You can do all this and remain within the space of a physical office (normally in a business centre) or a space allocated for the days that you need in a 24/7 format.

There has been a huge growth in virtual, serviced office space springing up around the UK in the form of business centres. However, it is not always the beginners who are starting to see the advantages.

Companies in information technology (IT) such as IBM, HP and Google are more willing to explore new ways to work alongside physical offices for rent, but also with flexibility for employees.

Many of these large corporate companies explore ways of moving their various teams to business centres, so as not to affect productivity. Costs are kept low, and the teams can go about their business without distraction and report back when necessary.

When to seek offices?

Upon reaching more than 12 or 15 people growth, then perhaps it is time to seek the conventional space.

That does not mean that companies do not reach more than 15 employees before seeking a conventional office though. Indeed, there are some customers with over 50 work units and remain virtual.

As already stated, it can be a major transnational corporation, and with them they have an address, a local number and even a legal address.  Another key factor in the election in the office rental is the time scale, be it short or long term.

This factor depends on the financial decision you want the corporate run. It may be a company that is opening market and has an operation involving 50 people, but are still not certain how long they will stay for.

3 Keys your SME should know

Outsourced. This refers to a business delegating administrative activities for your SME. Thus, costs for services such as solicitors or accountants will be significantly reduced.

Image. Do not underestimate the power of the corporate image for your SME. Whatever size of the business, the image speaks of responsibility, commitment and interest.

Flexibility. The hours in the office does not purely mean productivity. We recommend finding ways to offer flexibility so that employees have a better quality of life and, therefore, lead more productive jobs.

An upward trend

Working remotely, home-working or teleworking is becoming a massive trend. Being able to provide services virtually is offering so much flexibility, where before there was usually only one option. A Reuters-sponsored study says that 34% of employees surveyed would virtually work full time, and that 65% felt that this approach allowed them to have more control over their working lives. Businesses too felt that it was likely to enhance working conditions and operating costs vs. productivity, and therefore more and more companies would make use of this way of working.

As with any project, there are elements that must be considered and the same survey points out: 62% of employees surveyed believed that they would feel socially isolated. 50% thought that the absence of face to face interaction could damage their likelihood of promotion. 53% believe that working from home might increase the possibility of family conflict by the imperceptible line between work and a private space. The survey was conducted among 11,283 people in 24 countries and their results are interesting. What do you think? Would you implement telework in your business?