In this new era of hybrid working, more and more people are choosing to get a virtual office for their company. From entrepreneurs who are just starting out to established companies looking to make savings on office rent, business owners are using virtual offices to get an affordable and professional business address for their companies, while allowing their teams to work remotely.
But are virtual offices worth it?
We’ve got a great perspective on this question, as we provide virtual office services as well as private office rental and coworking facilities. So we see a huge range of entrepreneurs, who all need something different to help their business to thrive. Here’s what we’ve found to be the main advantages of getting a virtual office, and why some entrepreneurs may want to consider an alternative for their business.
What is a virtual office?
In easy terms, a virtual office address is a service that enables businesses to use a prestigious physical address for official purposes without the need to physically occupy the space. Here’s an example of how a virtual office works:
When you take out a virtual office package from Impact Brixton, you can use our professional address in London’s Brixton Village as your official registered company address. That means that when you register your business with Companies House, you can use our address instead of your own. This can be really great for boosting your business’s reputation, because it means that if people look your company up, they’ll see our postcode – SW9 8LA, which is right in the heart of Brixton Village, a respected and well-known hub for small businesses.
Using a virtual office to get a professional business address is a great way to make a really good first impression, building your clients’ and customers’ trust in your brand. It also saves you heaps of money that you’d usually need to spend on rent and bills to get a physical space in a renowned business district. It’s ideal for new businesses, as it allows your team to work from home while still giving your business a credible image.
Why use a virtual office?
There are lots of different reasons that you might consider using a virtual office. On a practical level, a virtual office offers you a professional business registry address that you can use when registering your company with Companies House and communicating with your clients and customers. It also offers mail handling services, helping to streamline and organise your post, and some virtual offices come with virtual staff including virtual assistants.
Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of using a virtual office for your business.
The advantages of using a virtual office
There are many advantages to setting up a virtual office, including cost savings, privacy protection and remote working solutions. Here are the top five benefits of getting a virtual office for your company.
1. Excellent Cost Savings
For years, getting a prestigious address for your company involved paying rent, utilities and maintenance on a physical office space in a desirable location, where costs were inevitably higher.
Now, you can use a virtual office to establish a professional business presence with a professional address in a renowned location – without paying any of the expensive overheads. This is a fantastic way to give your company a professional and credible reputation for less, allowing you to spend your cash on other important areas of your business.
2. Professional Reputation for Your Business
Which company are you more likely to trust – the one with a business address that starts “Flat 17”, or the one with a postcode in a renowned business district?
When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to build your business a professional image, especially if you’re working from home. But that’s where a virtual office can help! A virtual office can help you attain a prestigious address in a desirable location at an affordable price.
And that’s not all – many virtual office packages also come with the option to add extra features that can help you create a credible reputation for your business. For example, some providers offer a professional phone number and a virtual assistant to answer your company’s calls. This is a great way to give callers the impression that your company is large, credible and reliable. It helps hugely to build trust in your brand.
3. Total Flexibility for Your Business
The reason that so many businesses opt for a virtual office is because it offers a huge level of flexibility. As you don’t have any long-term commitments to rent or bills, you’re often able to scale your services up and down as needed, particularly if you subscribe to a virtual office programme on a monthly basis.
And the great thing about being able to conduct your business affairs completely remotely is that you can build a team of professionals from all over the world. You can choose your working hours to suit your international employees, tapping into the global talent pool and securing the best team for your business.
4. Perfect for Remote Working
Did you know that 40% of UK workers would decline a job if they were required to be in the office five days a week? Remote working has become the new normal, and many teams are choosing to take advantage of the flexibility and freedom that working remotely offers.
And thanks to virtual offices, working from home is easier than ever before. Mail handling, call forwarding and virtual receptionists all help you to conduct your business affairs efficiently and professionally. And with video conferencing and programmes like Slack, your employees will be able to collaborate from anywhere.
5. Access to Meeting Rooms, Coworking Space and More
While working remotely definitely has its perks, meeting face-to-face can still play an important part in creating a cohesive and collaborative team.
But that doesn’t mean that a virtual office isn’t still the right option! Simply choose a provider like Impact Brixton, which offers access to a physical workspace that your team can use when you need to catch up in person. You can book a meeting room or a few hotdesks in our coworking space to catch up with your team in person, while still doing the bulk of your work from home. It’s the best of both worlds!
The disadvantages of using a virtual office
Many entrepreneurs find that a virtual office is a really useful solution to building their business. However, as with all products, there are inevitably a few things that some might consider disadvantages. Here are three pitfalls to look out for when considering signing up to a virtual office.
1. Lack of Team Unity
Some employers worry that a team that works entirely remotely may not be as cohesive and cooperative as a team that spends time together in person. And it’s perhaps true that it’s more difficult to have a spontaneous brainstorming session on a video conference!
However, there are plenty of ways to get around this issue. Consider hosting an all-hands team video conference first thing in the morning, just to check in with your team, allow your colleagues to chat casually about non-work related matters, and finish off with a quick check in on what everyone is working on. This is a great way to help your team build relationships even when they’ve never met in person.
Another great way to counteract this issue, is to choose a virtual office provider that also offers access to a physical workspace. When you take out a virtual office with Impact Brixton, you gain access to our coworking space and meeting rooms. These are perfect for bringing your team together in person to chat ideas and work alongside each other. It’s the ideal way to build a really strong team without spending too much of your budget.
2. Privacy and Security Concerns
You need to be really confident that the virtual office provider you choose is able to handle your mail safely and securely, as your letters can often contain sensitive information. That’s why it’s a really good idea to read the Google Reviews for virtual office providers when researching your options!
As virtual offices are so decentralised in nature, it can be challenging to manage and secure data. Some virtual office providers use a cloud storage system to handle all their clients’ mail. Though data breaches are rare, utilising a server to which all mail is scanned and uploaded can leave your personal data more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
3. Dependence on Technology
As virtual offices allow companies to operate remotely, inevitably they rely heavily on technology including internet connectivity, communication platforms, and cloud services. This means that your workflow will occasionally be at risk of technical issues such as internet outages or software glitches.
This is why it’s a great idea to consider choosing a virtual office provider like Impact Brixton. As Impact Brixton offers a physical coworking space where you can easily book a desk, you’ve got somewhere to go if your internet connection goes down!
How much does a virtual office cost?
How much a virtual office will cost you will depend on the services you require for your business. Virtual offices in the UK can cost anything from roughly £25 to £75 per month – unless you choose Impact Brixton, where you can take out a virtual office programme from just 0.41p per day (that’s around £12 per month!).
Inevitably packages which include services like mail forwarding and a virtual receptionist will cost a little more. So take some time to think about what you really need from your virtual office provider, and consider looking for a provider that will allow you the space to grow. With somewhere like Impact Brixton, you can start out with basic mail scanning services, then work your way right up to renting a private office when you’ve got the cash flow for a physical space. And you can keep the same company address all the way through, saving you tons of time and hassle as your business expands.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are virtual offices legal in the UK?
Yes, virtual offices are legal in the UK! Virtual office services are a perfectly legitimate and commonly used solution for businesses. However, it’s really important to make sure that the virtual office service you choose complies with the relevant regulations, such as those related to VAT registration and director’s service addresses, to operate your business legally. Always verify that the virtual office provider you select adheres to the legal requirements in the UK.
Where can I find the best virtual office in the UK?
There are tons of excellent virtual office providers in the UK, and they all offer different services. Here are some of the top options for virtual offices in the UK.
- Impact Brixton
Impact Brixton has a spectacular 4.7 star rating on Google. We offer virtual office services from just 0.41p per day, which is just £17 per month. For that, we scan and send you all of your mail on the day we receive it, so you never miss an important piece of post. You can also choose to use our mail forwarding services, if you prefer to receive your post in physical form! You’ll gain access to our coworking space and meeting rooms, and have the chance to network with our community at our many educational and social events. It’s a great way to build your network. And as we only have one virtual office location, we’re able to provide that personalised touch to cater to your needs. You’ll always speak to a human being – never a bot! And you can book in for a 1:1 with our founder, Gerald, if you need help and guidance setting up your business.
- Regus Virtual Office
Regus Virtual Office has a whopping 95 virtual office locations in London, including impressive locations such as Regent Street and Charing Cross, and even more across the UK. And while having so many locations inevitably reduces that boutique, bespoke feel; it certainly does increase your options. Prices for their registered business address services start at £45 per month. You can also gain access to their meeting rooms and hotdesking space for an extra fee, along with professional call answering and access to a global business lounge network. It’s perfect if you travel a lot for business!
- Icon Offices
Icon Offices is another really affordable option for virtual office services in London. Their options start from just 99p per week, and come with useful features such as mail handling. Their premium options come with useful features including free multi currency UK bank accounts and international money transfer account, call answering and a free website builder, so you can start building your brand.
Tide is a good option if you’re also looking to set up a business bank account. Your registered office address will be 86-90 Paul Street, London, EC2A 4NE. They also take care of your company registration fee, which is always nice! However, it’s worth noting that depending on your business and your situation, Tide may not be able to offer you an account. But they’re definitely worth looking into if you’re looking to sort out your business banking at the same time as registering your company!
- The Gateway
The Gateway provide virtual office services exclusively for charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. They’re based in Warrington, which means that your postcode will be WA1 1SR – so it’s worth considering whether that’s in line with your brand. But The Gateway does also have a physical office space, so if you’re local it’s a great option for hybrid working!
How does a virtual office work?
A virtual office allows businesses to use a professional physical address for official purposes, without the need to physically occupy the space. Take Impact Brixton as an example:
When you sign up to Impact Brixton’s virtual office programme, you can use our address in London’s Brixton Village as your official business address. So when you register your company with Companies House, you’ll use our address – 17a Electric Lane, London, SW9 8LA. This is the address that people will use to send you mail, which means that our specially trained team will receive all your mail on your behalf. Our team will scan and email your post to you on the day we receive it. So there’s no delay in you receiving any important letters!
Using a virtual office can be a great way to build a credible and professional image for your business. It means that when people look you up, they’ll see an address in the heart of Brixton Village, a well-known hub for exciting small businesses.