The History of the Virtual Office

May 2, 2016 | Jennifer Goodwyn

In the past few years, virtual offices have been a growing trend in the professional world. Virtual offices, or service packages which offer communication, address, and temporary office services such as meeting rooms and IT assistance without the need for a dedicated office space, are proving to be incredibly popular with telecommuters, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. Because virtual offices enable businesses to present a professional appearance to potential business partners or customers, they help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level without facing the high costs that are typically associated with a dedicated office space.

Even though virtual offices have been growing in popularity over the last few years, the idea has actually been around for several decades. There's been an ongoing debate about who coined the term virtual office, with some believing Richard Nissen should get the credit for trademarking “The Virtual Office” in 1992 while others credit the term to Ralph Gregory, who founded Virtual Office Inc. in 1994. While these contributions were certainly significant, it's important to note that a fair amount of credit is owed to Servcorp.

Servcorp's Virtual Offices

Servcorp, which was founded in 1978, pioneered the virtual office concept in 1980. At the time, the concept was called “Networking” then “Company Headquarters” before switching to “Servcorp Virtual Offices” in the 1990's. Initially, the concept began as a paging service combined with a professional address, which could be used by multiple clients. Soon after, Servcorp began to offer meeting rooms for their virtual office clients. Eventually, they were able to offer a full virtual receptionist service. With these advantages, Servcorp has remained a consistent leader in the virtual office space over the last few decades. Servcorp's virtual offices are in some of the most prestigious locations in the world. For example, if you want an address in One World Trade Center, it would be available to you at an incredibly low price compared to what renting a suite would cost.

The Modern Age of Virtual Offices

As Servcorp's virtual offices have continued to develop over the years, they have become a unique and valuable service to business professionals. One of the most important advances has been the internet, which has made the virtual office space even more practical for a wider range of businesses and professionals. Servcorp has invested in technology which has allowed for significant growth. For example, Servcorp has been a leader in developing cloud-based technology for businesses and has invested over $50 million in building a global interconnected data network to ensure their products and services give your business the edge it needs

The Future of Virtual Offices

According to Servcorp COO Marcus Moufarrige, whose father was responsible for the initial development of the concept in the early 1980's, the virtual office concept still hasn't reached its full potential. He contends that, as the coworking trend continues the progression of professionals into more flexible workspaces, virtual offices will be the logical next step. Virtual offices have several important advantages over coworking spaces. One great example is that with a virtual office, you can personalize your business to the community you operate in by having a local address and phone number. According to a Servcorp study, 80% of people trusted a business more if it had a local address which is an option that's typically not available with coworking services.

The virtual office concept that Servcorp pioneered in the early 1980's is still proving to be extremely valuable. As more and more small businesses see the advantages of using a virtual office, the trend will continue to grow. Because Servcorp helped develop the concept, and has been improving it with innovation and an understanding of what small businesses need most, the company will continue to have a unique advantage in the virtual office space.