A virtual office provides a business with services that were previously available by setting up an actual physical office.
The advent of virtual office solutions has been successful in replacing traditional offices, which were physical workspaces and where employees regularly commuted daily. Virtual offices are also a boon for small business and start-ups as they can start their business with low funds. Virtual office helps them save significantly on rental costs of physical offices and also high costs involved in setting up an office.
Communication technology has touched almost every aspect of human life, from shopping to online universities and a digital lifestyle, business to commerce and has practically removed the barriers of language, distance, demographics and culture. The internet has not only simplified personal lives of people but also changed the way business operates.
With the businesses going global, mostly their employees are scattered across the world. Having physical offices in all these places can be a very costly affair. In such cases, setting up a virtual office is a smart and cost effective alternative. You can also hire a virtual assistant to look after tasks you are too busy for.
How to Set Up a Virtual Office
How to set up a virtual office? Creating a virtual office is easy and less hassle compared to a physical office. If you are planning to set your virtual office, here are steps to follow.
- Decide a business address (usually a mailbox number) for your virtual office. If you want a more professional sounding address, you can use a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA).
- Analyse which connectivity options are available for you. It can include emails, online forums, messengers, cell phones, Direct Inward Dialing (DID) and Voice over IP (VoIP).
- Furnish the location you have chosen for virtual office with essentials. Also make sure that you leave enough space for equipment and installation of necessary devices like scanners and computers.
- Make a list of software applications (such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Excel) you’ll need and install them. There are several packaged applications for business needs available. You can also go for specially designed applications for presentations, meetings and conferencing.
- The telephone system is one of the most important components of a virtual office. For virtual phone systems, you’ll need to pick up a business phone number, set a message for greeting and add departments and employees to it. If you want calls to be managed in your absence too, go for a modern phone system that comes with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
- Establish your intranet and check its connectivity between the computer systems of employees. You also need to ensure that the network is secure as you will be transferring important documents, files and information over it.
- Finally, your virtual office is ready to be used and give you an entirely new experience of doing business. If you have any doubt or confusion about any aspects of it, there are plenty of resources and expert advice available on the net.