The idea that small businesses need to invest in a physical office space is nothing new. It is believed that to become established and present a professional appearance to potential customers, clients, investors, and business partners, a small business should have a great office in a great location. Unfortunately, great offices in great locations are typically more expensive than most small businesses can afford, especially when they are just starting out.
Because great physical office spaces are so expensive, and great locations are so competitive, there is usually a huge amount of risk involved in renting office space. In fact, the inability to pay rent is one of the top reasons that many small businesses fail. It is for this reason, however, that small businesses have tried to avoid these risks by embracing technology and challenging the conventional wisdom regarding physical office space. One way that small businesses are doing this is by switching from physical offices to virtual offices.
1. The Changing Landscape of Small Business
Many factors are contributing to the changing landscape of small business. To be sure, technological innovation is helping small business professionals increase productivity, communication, and efficiency across the board. The cultural values of millennials entering the workforce have also had a significant impact. For example, Millennials value work/life balance and are more environmentally conscious than previous generations. For this reason, there has been an increase in remote work, as millennials prefer to avoid commuting whenever possible to avoid wasting hours of their day in a car and contributing to the pollution that's associated with commuting.
2. Benefits of a Physical Office
It is important to point out that physical office spaces have always offered many advantages. For example, the importance of face-to-face interactions between employees can add value to the office environment. Additionally, leaving a great first impression with potential customers and business partners by having a prestigious office address has proven to be extremely valuable for businesses in many industries. It is also true that the traditional structure of the office environment can increase productivity and provide a sense of purpose for some employees. These are just some of the reasons that some small business owners have chosen to take the risk and invest in a physical office space.
3. Benefits of a Virtual Office
These days, however, it is becoming increasingly more common for businesses to mitigate the risk by utilizing a virtual office. Virtual office packages provide all of the advantages of a physical office location for a fraction of the cost. By using a virtual office, a business can present a professional appearance by having a dedicated receptionist, meeting rooms they can use when necessary, as well as a prestigious address and local phone number. Small businesses are finding that, due to innovations in technology which allow for many businesses to exist without a centralized location, they can significantly reduce the operational costs and focus their resources on developing the business and attracting the best talent.
As companies continue to save money with virtual offices, the virtual office trend will continue to grow as businesses experience a new level of savings and security. Although physical offices will likely be around for a while, could virtual offices become the new normal for aspiring small business owners?