The debate between traditional offices and virtual offices solutions has been going on for some time, and is continually evolving along with new technology, best practices, and real world results.
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What the Traditional Office and Virtual Office Have In Common
A virtual office offers many of the same benefits as a physical office. Companies receive an address, receptionist service, call handling, email addresses, and more. As far as customers or clients are concerned, the company looks and acts just like any other with a brick and mortar headquarters.
What Sets the Traditional Office and Virtual Office Apart
1. Physical Meeting Spaces
First and foremost, virtual offices do not have the same access to physical office space. Many employees work from home, the road, or from other co-working spaces, while meetings are conducted at other locations or, if there is a need, in shared spaces provided by virtual office providers. This lack of face-to- face contact can be a major drawback for virtual offices with far-flung employees, and makes it that much more vital that companies invest in effective means of instant communication among team members. Communication services like project management software, IM chat, webcams, electronic meetings, texting, and cell phones.
Companies with a virtual office aren’t leasing out space, they aren’t renting parking spaces, and they aren’t paying utilities. This dramatically reduces operating costs and also provides a huge amount of flexibility—which can be ideal for small companies or companies with a large number of employees on the road or scattered around the country.
In a traditional office managers often evaluate how hard an employee is working based on how long they spend at their desks in a given week. Coming in early and leaving late counts for a lot. In a virtual office, however, accountability is focused less on attendance and much more on results. Managers set productivity or project goals and team members are responsible for meeting those goals while collaborating electronically from wherever they happen to be working. This takes the pressure off the 9-5 grind and rewards productivity and efficiency, while giving employees the freedom to take a long lunch, go to the zoo with their children, and make up work on the weekend without using vacation days or losing face.
So which option is right for you?
Both office setups present strong benefits for the right company in the right circumstance. If your company hosts many meetings with clients or customers, a physical office space permanently available for meetings and events is ideal. If you are a small company attempting to minimize overhead while maximizing productivity, a properly developed virtual office can help you have a much greater impact.
It’s important to note too that traditional office and virtual office services aren’t totally incompatible. It is increasingly common for a business to maintain or share a physical base-camp while still supporting off-site team members who work remotely. In this situation the company gains the trust of customers and retains the convenience of a physical location for meetings and customer-facing activities, while allowing employees greater freedom and the flexibility to work as they prefer.
To learn more about Reliable Receptionist and how we can assist both office types, give us a call today at (925) 627-4200.