September 12, 2014 | Jennifer Goodwyn
Throughout the years, virtual offices have transformed from a secret among tech-savvy entrepreneurs to a concept even the most conservative business are starting to embrace. Whether you're interested in protecting your home address, appearing more professional, or having a secretary field your calls without having to pay for a full-time staff, a virtual office is the answer. If you've already invested in a virtual office space, then you're probably aware of the multiple benefits virtual offices can provide – but are you making the most of them? Is here a way you can get more bang for your buck? Here's some tips for taking advantage of everything a virtual office has to offer.
Don't Forget to Network
If you happen to run into others while visiting your virtual office space to make copies or have a meeting, don't be shy! Introduce yourself and find out about what they do for a living. Not only can networking with your virtual office “co-workers” get you more business, but you could come across someone who performs a service you're in the market for. Networking aside, being friendly with those you share a space with will give the space a more positive vibe.
Web Collaboration Tools
Using a virtual office is a great way for employees to work remotely and on their own time, but this can be confusing without the right collaboration tools. With Google Docs employees can edit the same document at the same time while discussing their edits back and forth. Tools like DropBox and Bitcasa allow users to store as many files as they'd like online and can be used for both business and personal reasons. Other popular collaboration tools worth investigating include Basecamp and Draftboard.
Print, Copy, Repeat
If you already have a printer and fax machine at your home office, you can avoid the costs associated with either by using these services at your virtual office. Many virtual office packages include access to state-of-the-art technology, including copy and fax machines – as an added bonus, you can have your copies or faxes sent to your preferred location, and pick them up before the meeting starts. Chances are these features are included in your package, so why are you paying twice to make copies and send faxes? The next time you're prepping for a meeting, head to your virtual office space and take advantage of their office equipment.
Hire a Virtual Receptionist
Something that can cause quite a bit of confusion for small businesses and entrepreneurs is how to handle communication; particularly how to field tons of phone calls while still maintaining professionalism. The answer is a dedicated, virtual receptionist – something that's included in many virtual office packages. The primary role of a virtual receptionist is to handle phone calls, transfer them to the appropriate person, and they'll give your business a more professional appearance in the process.
If you're utilizing the services of a virtual office, take advantage of the freedom. Since you're not limited to a specific office or space, you aren't obligated to hire contractors in the same zip code or state. Because you're able to interact with employees online, you can take the time to find the best person for the job – even if they live on the other side of the country. With services like ODesk, the world's largest online workplace, finding the perfect freelancer is easier than ever before. With a business presence in multiple locations without having to rent full-time office space, it's easier than ever to get your business started.