One of our Corporate Social Responsibilities is seeing to the welfare of the less privileged in the society. January 11, 2019 records one of our trips to Alagbon Ikoyi Prisons with our General Managing Director, Mrs Oluwatoyin Edun and some staff of Virtual Hub.
If you are running your business from home, and need to have a professional feel for it, or, you need office addresses in cities(where your market are) other than your operating location, then you hire a virtual office solution.
What is a Virtual Office?
Virtual office providers provide address and communication services for its clients, and also a physical business space when its clients require it.
Having a good virtual office solution will allow you to handle anything that you need to do from your own workspace.
The advent of Virtual office started from the Information Age and Innovative age, where working from home have been drawn. Virtual offices are popular amongst startups, internet-based businesses and small businesses.
A Virtual office can lead to greater productivity, as its services free workers from administrative and communication tasks. Staffs can work remotely from a location that is best convenient for them.
A Virtual office is not narrowed to small businesses alone, it offers thousands of address for your businesses in cities where the market is, hence, A Virtual Office is a solution for all sizes of business.
Virtual Offices Offers businesses with everything that is required to create better business opportunities through a prominent business location, while, providing complete control and functionality virtually to run your business.
Why you need a Virtual Office
- High Productivity: Employees from the Generation X and Generation Y, in particular, find remote work a tremendous benefit. It offers flexibility, and the comfort of being able to work independently without conforming to work rules, such as dress code, traditional work hours. Staffs have the flexibility to design their days so that their personal lives and work lives can be experienced to their full potential and co-exist peacefully.
- Saves Cost and Time: Commercial office space is not always the best option, Staffs jump from home to commercial office is both expensive and time-consuming. You have to get the lights and phone on, pay the rent, and sign a long-term lease, buy furniture, interior decorations, internet, telecommunication services and maintaining all of it. A virtual office is an efficient and cost-effective alternative to the commercial office space for businesses that do not have the adequate finance to pay huge in a commercial office space.
- Gives your business a Professional image: Virtual offices help small businesses create a professional image, which would be impossible to attain with their present location of operation without having to break the bank. While working from home is good, you probably have to meet your customers at some point – they will probably want to see your business operations, and a house is not an option to meet your customers. You definitely need an office solution to convey a professional and business appearance to clients. Virtual office providers provide its clients with receptionist services, Meeting rooms, training rooms, lounges and telecommunication services making small businesses appear big like giant companies without spending a fortune.
- Flexible Telecommunication Services: Have you thought about attending to your business telephone call while at Coconut beach? Virtual Office providers’ offers telecommunication services, answers your customers call with your company’s signature and route it to you wherever you are. Telephonically – you are at the office, physically- you are at the beach. Virtual office providers also receive emails sent to your address, scan them and send to you with no cost.
- High Business Visibility: Virtual offices do not confine the locations of users to one recognizable area. Instead, it allows you to be in different places all at once allowing you to enjoy the much-required exposure, visibility, and popularity to keep your business up and running. Virtual offices spur the possibility of having your business addresses in different cities in the world.
In Conclusion, having a Virtual office space with impressive addresses will establish your business’ standing.
If you are looking for an all-enabling serviced office in Nigeria, then considering these 7 things will help you make an informed decision before renting that office space.
- Office type
Serviced offices are becoming increasingly popular in the Country, with the growing rate of start-ups and freelancers, having a walk-in space for your business is probably the best option. Co-working and serviced office spaces come fully fitted with well-trained staffs, resource teams and amenities. If you are looking at upscaling your business, or playing it safe in an unpredictable economic climate like ours, then you might want to consider renting a serviced office.
A co-working space
With the growing number of entrepreneurs and freelancers, identifying yourself with a co-working space will avail you the opportunity of connecting with people of like minds, sharing innovative ideas and collaborations. You can only pay for what you need and affordable services are included with flexible rates: you can actually rent a space for as little as a month.
Most virtual office providers also run membership schemes which allows you to make use of their facilities anytime the need arises. Bear in mind that co-working spaces aren’t just for freelancers and start-ups, already established businesses are droning into it now. So, what are you waiting for?
A private serviced office
You would want a private serviced office depending on your business type, staff strength or generally, based on your level of interaction with people. Having a serviced office is the most convenient workspace option for any business. You have your own privacy, there’s enough room for your team to have brainstorming sessions, and your business has a location as to where clients are to connect with you.
A private serviced office could be just a room in an office building, a floor in an office complex, or you could have an entire building to yourself depending on how many people your business needs to accommodate. You do not have to bother about furnishings, utilities, security and maintenance as all these are taken care of on your behalf, so you focus solely on running your own business.
- Business type
Finding a serviced office suitable for your business type is also one of the key things to consider when looking for a virtual office. Virtual office providers may say sweet things and have delectable packages just to lure you into using their office space, but what should be of utmost priority is finding a place that says all the good things about your business.
If your business is a retail outfit, then it’s imperative for you to find a strategic location that would facilitate heavy walk-in clients. If your business is more of strategic thinking and planning, and you do not need this kind of high presence, you should settle for a more quiet and serene environment with less people. You may be able to save cost by so doing because co-working spaces in the heart of commercial activities tend to come at a much higher price.
The saying “you are what you portray” goes along with this considering this factor when renting a serviced office. You definitely have to think about appearance and outlook as this would inform the perception of your business by customers and intending clients. You want to be able to have an all enabling environment for your business where customers can walk in and feel every ounce of relief at the site of your virtual office.
If customers won’t be visiting your office space, then this is less than an issue. So you could easily settle for a suitable serviced office with the right facilities and desired convenience. Because, you would not want to keep your team in an untidy, unsafe or old-fashioned environment, which eventually has a consequent effect on staff morale and work ethics. Hence, you want to keep it simple, but yet presentable.
Also, you might want to put into consideration, how the area is like? The kind of neighbours you have, and the businesses that they are into as well? Knowing your competitors and what they are doing is very key in thriving in any business. You should also be thinking about what your customers would think, when they visit you?
- Services and Facilities
This is also very key when choosing a suitable serviced office. Would you like the facilities to come already installed? Or would you like to install them as the need arises. These and many more are the likely questions you should ask yourself when choosing a virtual office space.
Typically, a well furnished and accessible co-working space should have the following features:
- Convenience: You want to ask questions like, are you going to be open 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week, and offer plans that cater to everyone– weekend only plans, evenings only, 3 days a week plan, or daily drop-ins. You would want to ask all these questions so as to know what works for you and your employees.
- Infrastructure: Does the building style suit your business type? Do you think you can make modification to the building? Do they have furnitures that are convenient for your customers and employees? Asking this questions gives you an idea as to how you can run your business in the serviced office space and if it would be suitable for your business as well.
Infrastructure doesn’t just end with the building style, you also have to ask the following questions:
- Can I contact other businesses that have had a mainstay in the building to tell me about their experience?
- Does the building have a functional postal service for my letters and correspondences?
- Will I have fast internet access here, and if not, have I factored it into the cost of renting the serviced office space?
- Facilities: You need to think about partitions/ fittings, fire alarms and bulgar sirens, telephone lines, lighting/ electronic fittings, air conditioning/ ventilation, networking facilities, cooking/ refrigerating, high speed fibre-optic internet and stable power supply.
A serviced office without all these basic amenities is bound to cripple your business, frustrate employers, and eventually bring in low income for you. So you really want to put this into consideration before renting that serviced office.
- Programming and Packages:
Before renting that serviced office, you want to be sure that they have packages and programs suitable for your business type or what you intend to use it for, be it for business meetings, conferences and seminars. Does the co-working space have a weekly event package, conference rooms with adequate seating capacity, or a private office just for your personal use?
Weekly programmes such as yoga classes, a run club and monthly wellness talks, personal and professional classes says all the right things about a serviced office space that is not just out to give your business a name, but is also passionate about building your team and bringing out the best in you.
This is in my opinion is one of the key things to consider when renting an serviced office space. You want to be as close to your clients and customers as much as you can, depending on the type of business you are into. Customers do not want to go through the stress of having to look for your business in a clustered street of many building complexes, so you want to be as visible and accessible as much as you can. Bear in mind that you also want your serviced office space as close to your employees as possible.
For companies and start-ups that have a high priority on their brand image, you might want to consider renting a virtual office with lavish looks and facilities in that upscale environment. Taking into consideration the fact that this appearance appeals to your customers, and leaves them coming back over and over again.
In all, there is not a one-size-fits all to selecting a serviced office location suitable for your business, so you would need to evaluate the needs your business is catering for, and this would be the driving force in your decision making process.
- Cost and Quality
Serviced office spaces often time have fixed rates depending on the package type and duration. They require no upfront payment other than a deposit. The payment process is most times simple and seamless as you pay before moving into the office space. Nevertheless, you have to look carefully at what is intended in the price. Does it include business rates, utility bills, packing space, etc. You would really want to define what exactly you are paying for so you don’t get caught unawareness.
Renting a serviced office isn’t one-cap-fits-all as their are many packages and business plans depending on that which suits you. So you want to find out if renting that office space does not incur additional costs and if it does, you should definitely know what you are up against. Ask informed questions and read thoroughly the terms and conditions before signing up for that serviced office. You don’t want to have management issues when you are almost at your big break.
Obviously, both of the points mentioned earlier- location and cost would definitely influence the size the serviced office you intend to rent. Nevertheless, this should not be overlooked as you do not want your employees and clients all crammed up in one small space called a serviced office, so you would want to get it best, even though it doesn’t come at an outrageous price.
Generally, it has been recommended that a serviced office should have a 70 square feet per person, but yet again, it is not a one-cap-fits-all scenario. You know your business better and you know what works best for it.
Before renting that serviced office, here are a few questions that would help you decide if it’s the right size:
- Will I have at least 70 square feet per person?
- Will my employees and customers be able to sit conveniently without bumping into each other?
- Do I have room to grow my staff strength as my business expands?
- Do I have a dedicated space for meeting with clients?
- Will my employees enjoy their recreational space and co-exist happily with one another?
Your business should have room and enough space to take on all it’s activities. Having your business in a cramped space has been proven to reduce productivity. So you want to run away from this as much as possible.
Finally, identifying all that your business needs will help you make an informed decision when renting that serviced office or co-working space. Try not to outstretch yourself, paying attention to all the tiny details. You can always scale up and find a better serviced office once your business expands.
Nevertheless, do not get too comfortable in your correct position, always look for an opportunity of expansion and do not hesitate to switch into the cheapest serviced office space you can find.
It is important to run and sustain any business. Virtual hub hosted some SME’s in October to a free training. The training focused on corporate governance, Finance, Social media marketing, Banking, Operations and customer service.
A. A Space That Meets Your Budget
When looking for a working space, it’s important not to get too consumed with its luxury, location, spacing and amenities. While all of these are important, they are also costly mistakes if you over-indulge and are bringing in too many expected costs for your business. Always look at your working space as an extra expense, and make sure it’s one you can cover. – Zac Johnson, Blogging.org
A. Culture and Community
At the base level, most co-working spaces are going to be relatively similar. Community and culture are two important factors that will make or break a space for you. You’ll be spending a lot of time at the co-working space you choose, so you want to find one with a culture that you jive with and with a community of people who inspire you to do your best work. – Nailah Blades-Wylie, Wylie & Co.
A. Whether It’s the Right Option
Co-working spaces aren’t for everyone, so finding one that matches your style of working is key. Make sure it’s full of people that are approachable, smarter than you and don’t mind bouncing ideas off each other. However, this type of environment can be a major time suck too, so understanding how you work is important. – Steven Newlon, SYN3RGY Creative Group
A. Inspiring People
We launched in a co-working space, and we spend a lot of time in other cities’ spaces when we travel. The best ones always have really interesting people and companies who are doing inspiring things that you can learn from. Spaces full of remote salespeople or real estate agents are fine but don’t compare to the ones with entrepreneurs building amazing things. – Julian Flores, GetOutfitted, Inc.
A. Positive Environment
In a co-working space, I like being around people who are eager to learn and motivated to succeed. To build a strong team, you have to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Being around people who have positive attitudes is infectious and good for business. Co-working spaces are always more pleasant with natural sunlight, too. – Ravi Kurani, Sutro
A. Complementary Entrepreneurs
Find a co-working space that matches your work style. If you need library-like silence, don’t pick a co-working space with a lot of loud salespeople on the phone all day. If you are a developer, try to find one that has other developers. Don’t go for homogeny, but some like-minded folks can make you feel at home. – John Arroyo, Arroyo Labs, Inc.
A. Convenience, Comfort and Amenities
Does the space host events? Is it easy to get to? Can you work comfortably? Are there dedicated desks, meeting space and lounge areas? Other membership perks? Amenities vary widely, so be sure to understand the membership package you would get. – Michael Rheaume, SnapKnot Inc.