To survive and thrive in the digital age, companies today are forced adapt at incredible speed – in how they form, produce, compete, communicate, market, hire, travel and manage client relationships. Because agility has become such a critical attribute in this modern era of fast-paced change, more businesses are considering the flexible option of serviced and virtual offices.
The term virtual office conjures images of avatars floating into conference rooms, but these are more practical and less science fiction. A virtual office provides businesses with a prestigious address, mail forwarding, a telephone number, a receptionist; the only thing it doesn’t have is company personnel, who are either at home or on the road conducting business. This type of office is an efficient solution for companies young and old that has widely dispersed team members and/or production channels but want to give the impression of a solid central operation. A virtual office also gives them a physical address, often in prime locations that would otherwise not be financially viable.
Serviced offices, on the other hand, are furnished office suites with the requisite technology and administrative support of a fully formed business. What they do not have are some of the financial burdens and/or time commitments that often come with managing an operation. Serviced offices from I2 Office and other organisations, for example, are available at a fraction of the buying and renting costs associated with reputable and centrally located addresses. This gives companies the option of mobility and scalability – the office is there when and to what degree they need it, and furthermore, their reputations are established and fortified by brick-and-mortar addresses in the cities of their choice.
So is this the future of workplace mobility? Sceptics might argue that virtual and serviced offices are indicators of impersonal and transient times – symbols of efficiency over quality. Proponents point out that those critics might just be trying to maintain their advantages in a highly competitive marketplace that is increasingly rewarding flexibility. There’s also a case being made by environmentalists – that the fewer number of people driving to and from work makes it easier to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the climate era.
Whatever the case, this growing sector of adaptable office space is appealing to an audience of companies who recognize the need and benefit. Whether upsizing, downsizing, or preparing for launch, these businesses of nearly every size and industry are striving for agility, and finding the necessary mobility in serviced and virtual offices.