The business world might have been changing over the past decades but never as fast as over the past years. What used to be a slow transition toward a remote model of work and gig economy was speedied significantly by the COVID19 pandemic.
According to Forbes, 25% of North American professional jobs will be remote by the end of 2022 only to continue increasing in 2023. On the other hand, over 50% of the US population would have been part of the gig economy by 2027.
These 2 statistics, which represent a challenge for many institutions around the world, create a unique opportunity for startups. By “formalizing” gig workers and harvesting remote working tools, they allow startups to step up the addition of top talent to their workforces.
By harvesting the power of new technologies, startups can not only make it easier for remote workers to engage but also increase performance… All while reducing costs. Of the arsenal of tools available to them, Virtual Offices are quickly becoming one of the most popular. This is especially as the upcoming metaverse continues to captivate the world and digital offices are also an option.
What Is a Virtual Office?
Among businesses expenses, those related to infrastructure tend to be some of the highest in many cases. This creates a big incentive to develop new ways to operate when it comes to physical working and meeting spaces. The virtual office industry helps in filling that gap for professionals who work alone up to teams of any size. Virtual offices provide businesses with many of the benefits of having an office, for a reasonable price.
The definition of a virtual office can be wide and include many services, which makes it difficult to pinpoint what a virtual office is. However, there are certain elements that most virtual offices share. These include providing you with a physical address, flexibility to work from anywhere in the world, providing tools like phone answering services, and other administrative assistance.
Over the past years, many virtual offices have introduced digital spaces in which workers and staff are represented by avatars. This makes the experience of working remotely more interactive as well as efficient.
Virtual office’s origins date back to the creation of serviced offices, an idea that was born in the ’60s. Serviced offices are offices or floors managed by facility management companies and rented to other companies. Since then, this concept kept growing and adapting to current technologies and requirements, helping businesses of all sorts and sizes. Many companies took on this challenge providing the service in different ways all over the world.
To create a strong alternative to renting, virtual offices offer many services that go well together. You can get an address that clients perceive as professional, where your mail and calls are managed. They also provide coworking spaces, private offices, and meeting rooms, all ready to get to work as soon as possible. Some are prepared for today’s hybrid working tendencies and include VPN service for remote teams. Later on, we’ll go over the main features you can find in a virtual office service.
From small businesses to large companies, virtual offices provide more flexibility and a way to cover a bigger area. Renting an office comes with many associated expenses that you often can’t ignore such as electricity, internet, phone, and more. These also add administrative load and things to think about, that could be easily handled by a third party.
For professionals, using their home addresses for work is not ideal but renting an office is quite expensive. Having a place to receive mail and documents at any time, as well as a dedicated phone line is very useful. This makes virtual offices a great alternative, through the possibility of using an address with a more professional feel and communications management.
What Kind of Features Can a Virtual Office Offer?
With the growth of the virtual office market, new terms came about that can be confusing at times. Let’s learn that terminology by listing the most important features that virtual office companies offer. Your choice of the best virtual office in 2022 will definitely go smoother once you understand what they can bring to the table.
Handling communications is often time-consuming and can break the workflow once you get going. This is often one of the least expensive services offered by virtual offices, and can sometimes be contracted by itself. Depending on the provider, your calls can be just redirected to you or picked up by a skilled and trained receptionist. Your emails can also be redirected, and even full email marketing campaigns can be launched for you. Sometimes, both fax and voicemail can be sent to your email. This may be useful just to have a local phone number you can give to clients.
Coworking is when a shared space is rented for different people to use, complete with office furniture. This includes internet access and sometimes other services such as a communal kitchen with coffee and tea. You may see some coworking offers announced as ‘hot desks’, which means every time you go you may get a different desk. On the contrary, fixed desks let you rent a specific desk for a time of your choosing.
Getting a business address through a virtual office company, sometimes called a virtual address, can also prove very helpful. It allows you to use an address in a location of your choosing to receive, and sometimes send, documents and mail. Some companies also let you receive clients at these addresses, depending on the plan you hire. This has the added benefit of making your company present in geographical locations that matter to your clients. Renting a place in busy parts of cities can be too expensive, but through virtual offices, you can be there cheaply.
You may not require constant access to meeting and conference rooms, but virtual offices can provide them if needed. In this way, you only pay for what you use and forget about meeting equipment and support. Some companies also offer catering services or beverages for an additional cost.
What Are the Best Virtual Offices of 2022?
How can you choose the best virtual office for your business? With so many options it’s a process that can take a bit of research and planning. We have gathered the key points to have an informed opinion on each of these companies and how they relate to businesses.
Besides the extensive services and features, there are many different payment plans offered by virtual office companies. In the simplest cases, you can book a space for a limited period. After that, you pay an amount according to the hours, days, or weeks you require. But there are also monthly and annual plans that provide a space to go to work, a complete office, or a mix of services.
Some virtual office plans allow you to pay a monthly fee that allows you to work in different locations. It usually covers a certain amount of hours per month in different locations. This type of flexibility is definitely something to consider when choosing the best virtual office for you in 2022. Make sure to consider this if you plan to travel and can make use of an office in remote locations.
Now that you know the main characteristics of virtual offices, you are ready to compare them by yourself. To help with that, we compiled a list of the best virtual offices of 2022 with information about what they offer and how much it costs. Of course, each business has particular needs and you may value some services more than others.
Opus Virtual Offices
Opus Virtual Offices offers locations in the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada. It includes most US states, and a lot of cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. This company offers all of the most relevant virtual office services and with all plans, you receive a local phone and fax number.
If you hire one of the virtual offices offered by Opus, professional receptionists will answer calls using your company name. This service works Monday thru Friday from 8 am to 5 pm PST. Outside that time range, calls are answered by your company voicemail. If you already have a working phone number, you can use call forwarding to your Opus Virtual Office. Your number can also be ported to the virtual office if you are willing to wait about 10 business days. If required, mail forwarding is also available, but you have to pay for postage or shipping accordingly. This allows you to receive packages at your business address and have them sent to where you need them.
All of Opus’s Virtual Offices include live receptionist, corporate mailing address, company phone, and fax number. Call forwarding, as well as voicemail and fax conversion to email, are also popular features. This service costs $99 per month plus a $100 one-time fee, and you get a free month when you pay for a whole year. Contracts have to be for a minimum of 3 months.
Locations listed as “premium” offer the possibility of using conference rooms for an hourly fee, sometimes with optional private parking. Other locations work as mail centers that can receive your mail and packages but don’t provide a space for you to meet with clients. Opus also offers additional services such as a toll-free number or call-out feature to make calls that show your company phone number as the outbound caller ID.
Another valuable detail is that Opus provides information about payment history to credit reporting agencies. This can help strengthen your business credit.
One of the biggest providers of virtual office solutions, Davinci serves over 5,500 business locations all over the world. It offers mail forwarding services, lobby directory listings, live call answering, voicemail management, call forwarding, unlimited long-distance calling, and more. While features and prices vary depending on the specific location, these virtual offices start at $50 per month.
Davinci also offers a wide range of coworking spaces in many cities, one of their specialties. These include fast wifi, catering, and a lobby greeter, as well as conveniences such as copy, faxing, notary, and secretarial services.
There’s also the possibility of renting meeting rooms from Davinci, an interesting option valuable in many scenarios. It has over 5,000 meeting rooms covering 1,500 locations in more than 50 countries. These meeting rooms are often cheaper than hotels and provide several benefits over meeting in a space full of people such as cafes. They can be booked by the hour, half-day, or full days, starting at $10 per hour. In case you need help picking a meeting room, you can ask through phone, email, or live webchat. This service boasts an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and great scores on TrustPilot. Davinci meeting rooms can be great for important interviews, meetings with clients, and many other situations where you need a quiet space.
If you only need help to handle phone calls, there are some cheap options that can help. The auto-receptionist plan starts at $59 per month and offers probably most features you can think of in this category. To include corporate email in this plan, you’d have to add an extra $10.
For live receptionists, the least expensive plan at Davinci is the business plan, which comes with 50 or 100-minute limits. The 50 minutes kit costs $129 a month, while the 100 minutes option is $239 a month. This business setup includes free local or toll-free numbers, call routing, conferencing, unlimited long-distance calling, and great customer service.
The live receptionist premium plan goes for $249 for 50 minutes of live call answering a month, and $319 for 100 minutes. This premium plan includes bilingual receptionists, appointment scheduling, outbound calling, order processing, and administrative tasks.
Davinci also offers incorporation services, which help form entities all over the US. The first plan in this category includes a registered agent service, which helps you manage legal documents and compliance notifications for $149 per month. There is also an entity formation plan costing $199 that can help you with entity formation and filing too. Additional fees often apply to the creation of entities.
Regus offers several virtual office space services, all with a personal touch and a focus on flexibility. Prices are not available on its site, but you can get a quote on their site if needed.
With Regus, you can rent an office space and set it up the way you prefer, whether it’s a regular office or an entire building. These include a professional reception team to greet guests, and of course security, cleaning, and maintenance. Additionally, you receive mail notifications, handling, sorting, and storage capabilities. The layout in these spaces can be customized and includes ergonomic furniture, accessories, and storage options. Permission to change the layout may depend on the length of time for which the office is hired.
Offices rented through Regus can be accessed at any time of the day, all year long. You can use the business address, a communal kitchen, printers, and two hours of a community meeting room each day. For an additional price, you can ask for administrative support, call handling, mail forwarding, catering, and additional IT solutions besides the standard WiFi.
Regus office services are hired either through contracts or through monthly memberships. These memberships are great if you need the flexibility to visit several different locations. Otherwise, you can ask for a space and reserve a few hours for up to several months.
You can also get regular coworking spaces through Regus, with thousands of locations available. Desk space can be booked by hour, day, or month. These include reception and a support team, as well as secure fast WiFi, a communal kitchen, and two hours of meeting room use. With this coworking solution, you also get a business address and mail handling, as well as printer access. Regus recognizes businesses need flexibility and can help in accommodating you as your needs change. If you require additional space or have to work in a different location you can contact them to arrange a change.
Meeting rooms are also available from Regus, with all the necessary equipment and assistance. With this service, you get TVs, whiteboards, flip charts, assistance, and a professional reception team. For some extra money, you can ask for tech support, administrative support, catering services, and other equipment such as projectors. Most workplaces have room for up to 21 people, but larger meetings can be arranged on request.
Serving over 50,000 businesses in more than 150 locations, Servcorp has a solid proposal for the best virtual offices. It covers 44 cities in 22 countries, which is somewhat limited compared to other providers. However, you can find most of the biggest urban areas in their list, such as New York City, Chicago, or Washington.
Knowing how to respond to demands of making business after Covid, Servcorp places a high value on remote work. Servcorp’s focus on remote work can be seen in its virtual office plan, which includes a lot of features except a physical office. This includes a local phone number, dedicated receptionist, and access to coworking spaces, for up to 3 hours a day. You can also make use of 3 days of private offices outside of your home location. With this plan, you also get 24/7 voicemail delivery to your email or phone, and a team of secretaries and IT support. This costs $134.40 but there are cheaper, more specific packages available.
If you only need mail and courier management, you can ask for Servcorp’s Address Package. You get that service plus several extra features for $79.20 per month.
Of course, regular coworking is another core service in Servcorp’s proposal, starting at $160 a month. This gets you a hot desk with WiFi, printers, copiers, scanners, as well as IT help to resolve issues. These spaces also include unlimited self-serve coffee, tea, and fruit water in any of the available locations. One important detail about this service is how much space each user gets, which is around 12 square meters.
To access a fully functional office, you can use Servicecorp’s Serviced Offices. These are available in many sizes and include IT and communications equipment including VPN access and IT support. Starting at $600 per month, these offices support up to 10 remote workers. They also include a professional receptionist as well as mail and courier management with home-forwarding options.
Servcorp also offers meeting and conference spaces, available in all 150 locations. These include a support team to prepare the meetings, high-speed WiFi, and complimentary refreshments. Of course, prices depend on the selected location, starting at $50 per hour in Washington DC, or $60 per hour in New York. These can also be booked for a full day at a discount.
With a very personal touch, Intelligent Office provides several virtual office services. This company has over 25 years of experience and knows the type of business that benefits the most from virtual offices. Intelligent Office strives towards handling many tasks that overload businesses with busy work, and providing several other helpful resources. While this company does not publicize its prices, on its site you can see the locations with all their details and ask for a quote.
One of the most useful virtual office-type services, virtual addresses are a must-have option for these providers. The Intelligent Office recognizes this and provides an adequate solution. You can use it to receive mail and package services, and it includes a virtual receptionist to greet visiting customers and answer phone calls.
The virtual address plan also helps with appointment scheduling, making confirmation calls, making reservations, and much more. Assistants working for Intelligent Office handle a small number of clients and take the time to understand their needs. The idea is that when people call your business they get to someone who knows how the business works. This surely gives clients a warmer welcome. Assistants can also gather mailing lists and send mail campaigns to attract new clients, and even follow up with calls.
Taking virtual office services to a higher level, Intelligent Office assistants can help in managing social media. They will communicate with customers, promote sales and share information. Handling social media accounts can be a hassle and demand a lot of time, so this service makes a lot of sense. While this is not a full community manager service, it can help a great deal in growing the online presence of your business.
Intelligent Office also offers meeting rooms and conference rooms prepared for board meetings, interviews, training sessions, and other similar events. Many legal professionals use these meeting rooms for depositions and mediations, as they have notary and witness services available. Those who have an OnDemand Membership with Intelligent Office receive priority and a discounted price to book these rooms.
To find out what are the best virtual offices for your business, you have to see what specific needs they can cover. If the location you need is available, you can choose those you are most interested in and ask for more details.
If you only need coworking space, most of the providers listed in this article can help. That means you don’t have to factor in as many things, having location and price as the key characteristics. In turn, if you need a more complex suite of services, you may need to do more research and think about it longer. After all, it is likely to result in a long-term business relationship if it helps in your operations.
For businesses considering expanding to different locations, some of these plans can be extremely useful. In just minutes, you can set up a virtual office and get to work on the particular aspects of your business. This results in a better image for clients, as well as providing some practical benefits.
In case you or your team need to work in different locations, these virtual offices can get you set up quickly. You can book a quiet space with a fast internet connection in no time and forget about wasting time. Otherwise, working in a new location often involves searching for a hotel lobby or cafe, in an awkward and possibly loud place. Not to mention possible technical issues and slower internet speed that can usually break your productivity.
Now you know the best virtual offices of 2022, and how to tell them apart and analyze what they offer. This gives you additional tools to manage your business better and ample flexibility for many situations.