A previous blog post, ‘Is Virtual Business the way forward’ delved into the realities of setting up a virtual office with the help of an article which proved it can be done. So, we thought we’d weigh up the options; as technology has a greater and greater influence on business today, what are the pro’s or both physical and virtual offices?
Physical Office Advantages
- Staff integration; for a productive and motivated team, physical staff integration can not be beaten.
- A credible presence; even in today’s tech savvy world, a physical building with physical staff inside is still what customers like. People automatically relate this to traditional, trustworthy businesses. However, a PO box address and landline phone number could help to disguise a virtual business.
- People power; it’s that old saying again, ‘people buy from people’ – but it’s true! Can you really afford not to have a personal relationship with your clients and run your business through automated messages and emails? In this sense, technology will never replace traditional face to face communications, but social networking sites and virtual PA’s can offer a compromise.
Virtual Office Advantages
- Low cost; with a virtual business, no office space is really needed at all as all business processes and documents can be stored online. If, however, that face to face contact cannot be compromised, why not hire a meeting room as and when required or use video conferencing?
- Access the best resources; with no physical desk to be working at, your staff or contractors can be wherever they need to be. This means that you employ or contract staff from anywhere in the world without the need for them to relocate. Workforce management and monitoring systems also allow you to keep tabs on staff wherever they are, ensuring that wasted time and money is kept to a bare minimum.
- Reduced barriers to trade; if your business is purely web based, you can trade 24/7 with anywhere in the world.
At the end of the day, it really depends on each individual business. Virtual offices are ideal for business start-ups or small business as they are low cost and low risk, whereas the physical office may never be entirely replaced for larger organisations.