Photo by Ville Miettinen
Having known about the existence of Virtual Offices in India, it is now essential for us to understand the benefits of availing the services of a virtual office, who are the players in the Industry which offer virtual office services and what range of services that are on display. Before we do this, it becomes important for us to differentiate between Virtual Office services and virtual office solutions (the kind that Cisco has recently launched).
Virtual office services offer online real-estate like services to entrepreneurs who wish to hire an office space for a day or two for office related purposes and virtual office solutions like the one launched by Cisco on the other hand is a secure solution that allows employees to work from home with the same set-up in their offices. The idea of availing the service of a virtual office is to make it easier for start-ups and businesses that are affected by limited office space, to get office support without actually coming to the physical office. It is ideal for people on the move, and those operating from a home office. A glance at some Space services that a virtual office offers could be —
- Ideal Business Meeting Space for purposes that involve business meetings, seminars, etc.
- A Casual Work space, one that offers an alternative space for employees to relax.
- Executive Business Suite for the top management bosses.
Along with these office spaces, virtual offices are also provided with on-site amenities like broadband internet, fax-copier-printer, advanced phone features, conference calling, video conferencing, kitchenette and a business-worthy lobby/waiting area. The services of a virtual office are mostly used by Home-based entrepreneurs, accountants, trainers/instructors, upcoming doctors, business consultants and even a multinational firm.
Though a recently launched service in India, there are quite a few online firms that have included the provision of Virtual Office space as one of their market offerings. To name a few;
and many more firms now offer virtual office services. Most or all of these firms assert that there are a lot of benefits of hiring a virtual office space. To quote, one of these online virtual office service providers claims
The Virtual Office fulfills all of the roles of a traditional office, but curbs direct cost, such as real estate, furniture, hardware, software and maintenance costs, hiring, training, payroll or insurance for an administrative staff. It has a noticeable impact because there is no other office programs in existence that eliminates 99% of the office costs.
Yes, they do cater to the office space needs of businesses and to a large extent bring down costs, but they do carry certain shortcomings with them too —
- If the need for an urgent meeting arises, the lookout and hiring of a virtual space becomes difficult and hurts the functioning of business.
- There is not the presence of a comprehensive and dedicated team of administration or management to support business consistently.
- Employees are in isolation and miss the advantage of working for a distinct office culture.
Having said that, it is noteworthy that these virtual office services enable a one-stop office space-shop especially for up and coming entrepreneurs and home-based services.