3 Features to Look for in Your Virtual Office Services
Working remotely can mean blissfully working in pajama bottoms, but you might still need some professional elements of working in a physical office.
Most people think virtual office services are just a virtual business address to use on official forms. But it’s much more than that.
Virtual office services let you project a professional image while enjoying all the benefits of a distributed team.
Virtual offices help people like:
- Digital nomads who need a formal business location
- Freelancers who don’t need a physical office location
- Startups where the founders want to pay month-to-month for a virtual office plan or even a physical office space
- Business leaders who don’t have enough employees in central places to use day offices
Discover the costs, features, and best uses for virtual offices below.
From Physical Space to Virtual
The pandemic made “remote work” the buzzword of 2020 and 2021. Now that some companies can choose to stay fully virtual, go back to a traditional office or coworking space, or use a hybrid model, virtual office services can fill the gap.
If you’re a new company exploring a distributed team or you want to avoid an office lease completely, there are a few things to know.
When you hire remote workers, first consult a business lawyer. A few states require additional taxes or jumping through hoops. As a result, many job ads exclude particular locations — companies don’t want to deal with the hassle.
After reviewing legal issues, it’s time for logistics. With remote employees, you need to manage video conferencing solutions, time zone differences, and communication tools.
Don’t assume your team knows how to work remotely. Use proper onboarding and a remote work policy to get on the same page.
Basic Costs for Virtual Office Solutions
Virtual office solutions are more affordable than a traditional workspace.
When you’re pricing a virtual office, some services come with a setup fee and a monthly charge. The cost depends on where your office is. If you want your clients to think you’re in a swanky high rise in Manhattan or San Francisco, rather than a random address in rural Nebraska, you’ll pay more.
Here are some common expenses to keep in mind.
For very basic virtual office services, expect to spend $50-100 per month on essentials like a virtual business address and mail handling services. Budget for the bonus features you really need. If you want your postal mail opened, scanned, or forwarded, expect to pay more.
For example, at Northwest Registered Agents, you can get mail forwarding, a phone number, a general receptionist, mail handling, and a physical address to list on forms for only $49/month. But with only seven locations, you’re limited in terms of the address. If you want registered agent services in one of those seven states, that’s an additional $125/month.
Davinci offers many more locations to choose from, but varies the pricing depending on the location and requires a six month contract. At the top end of the spectrum, Servcorp can handle all the basics plus give you eight hours a month of meeting time in one of their offices. You can expect to pay $100-700 a month for the privilege.
Top 3 Features of Virtual Office Services
To choose the best virtual office, consider your needs in these areas: physical addresses, meeting rooms, and phone services.
1. Physical Addresses
There’s always one customer who wants to pay by check even though it’s 2021. A physical office space doesn’t make sense for most digital companies, but a mailing address with mail forwarding services does.
Since you’ll need a business address for taxes, get a virtual mailbox — a P.O. box or a street address. You’ll stay legally compliant and avoid putting out your home address for the world to see.
With a virtual office location, you can also register with business directories. When you apply for a line of credit or a company credit card, reporting agencies verify your information through these directories.
Likewise, you’ll need a virtual business address with a physical location if you’re a limited liability company (LLC) registered in that state. Some virtual office spaces provide a registered agent to serve as your representative in that state, too.
2. Meeting Rooms
If you’re in the same city as your virtual business address, you can reserve a physical conference room or meeting room. Virtual office services with locations in multiple cities fill the gap.
Note: If your team is distributed across multiple cities, you can’t beat Gather. Gather offers an 8-bit style and customizable rooms. Try it for free.
3. Phone Answering Service
Your phone is enough of a distraction already — you don’t need to get random calls on your cell because it’s listed as the primary number for your company. Set up a phone number that forwards to your company’s main contact or has a virtual receptionist answering incoming calls.
If you don’t get phone calls, you can skip call answering services. But if you need this feature, choose receptionist services with excellent reviews. Call forwarding leaves a positive impression and adds credibility even for a fully remote team.
Set up Your Virtual Office Today
Now that you know what you need from your virtual office services, the next step is to choose the digital tools that connect your employees. You can get away with the basics when setting up your virtual business address, but not for the way your team works together.
Gather.town lets you customize your digital workspace with breakout areas, whiteboard-style workshops, and even places to eat lunch and chat together. Learn more about how Gather can help your team.