Q:

How do virtual office services work?

A:

Quick Answer

Virtual offices provide services to small businesses and start-ups, including physical mailing addresses, receptionists, and local phone numbers with call handling and forwarding. This builds a creditworthy and professional image for a business without having to incur costs for renting physical space.

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Full Answer

A virtual office provides a business with a physical address and mail forwarding services. This develops a corporate image for a new business with all the tools necessary to conduct business. A client pays a fee for a business phone number, a live receptionist answering phone calls, and a corporate business address for receiving mail and packages. Some advanced virtual office packages include personalized voice mailboxes and fax numbers that convert to email.

Virtual office service providers offer clients access to boardrooms and private offices to hold meetings for a number of hours or days over a specified period of time. This may be an added cost or billed separately depending on the use of office space.

A virtual office affords a business the ability to scale without worrying about space to accommodate increasing numbers of employees. This may, however, create less cohesiveness when members of a virtual team mostly choose their own work hours, leading to a fragmented organization. Social interaction and networking among colleagues suffers and effective teamwork is reduced.

Other risks of using a virtual office for business include loss of reputation when clients realize they are dealing with a company that is not actually there. Data integrity can be a problem, especially when dealing with confidential information stored remotely.

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