With the world on lockdown due to the Coronavirus, businesses have been affected in so many ways. Many are downsizing due to lack of economic activity. Some unfortunately had to let go of employees. Today, experts are predicting an indefinite Work From Home (WFH) set-up with companies like Twitter making this work style a permanent option. With this scenario, virtual offices are becoming more relevant than ever as it is able to supplement WFH set-ups and give more cost efficient options for companies tightening their belts.
First: What is a Virtual Office?
Started in the 70’s, the virtual office is the oldest type of flexible work space. The core of a virtual office is to allow business owners to pay a small fee to use the address for permits. It may also offer other office support services like call answering, and short-term lease on work space.
The beauty of a virtual office is that companies can continue to operate without the employees having to be physically present in one space.
How Virtual Offices Can Help Businesses During COVID-19
Most companies avail of virtual offices for the business address they can use on government permits and official documents. The reason for this is that the government requires an official business address (not just any home address!) in order to register a business so, should any problem occur, they can immediately contact the company. If a business has its own space, it means that at least one employee needs to be present. However, since a virtual office can legally represent these companies, all their employees can continue working from home. In addition, this is a more cost efficient way for businesses to portray a professional image and show that they are open and operating without having to commit or even be present in a physical space.
Virtual office’s front desk services can bridge certain gaps from existing WFH setups. In MyOffice for example, we are able to handle call inquiries so that our members can focus on essential work. Should the caller need to talk to a specific staff member, MyOffice can transfer the call to him/her, give details on who the caller is, and possibly give the receiver enough time to prepare and possibly move to a quieter room where there will be less interruptions. This also protects the employee’s private number, considering that one of the struggles of a WFH set-up is lack of work and private life boundaries.
Another front desk service that’s been adding value is its mail handling services. Virtual offices can receive these parcels and forward them to the relevant address. Should the member need the contents of a document urgently for maybe a Zoom meeting, these can be scanned and sent to all relevant parties immediately. A MyOffice specific feature that can also help is its portal exclusive to members. Here, members can give specific instructions to their account managers on how they want their virtual office to be operated during this time. For example, all mails can be automatically scanned and emailed or uploaded in the portal once received so members can receive documents in real time.
For those who are not able to work at home, whether this is due to the lack of internet infrastructure or home distractions, but are concerned of being able to practice social distancing, virtual offices offer private offices and enclosed workstations. As virtual offices don’t usually offer shared desks and community events like its cousin, the co-working space, this means the 1.5 meters protocol is easily implemented.
MyOffice is a 100% Filipino owned virtual office established in 2004 that aims to support entrepreneurs’ mobile work style. Known for offering its services in “tingi,” entrepreneurs can just choose and pay for only the services they need- whether it be a business address for permits, a mailbox, front and back office support, or a physical space.
It also has a sister company, Permitly, which aims to make the business registration and permit renewal process easy and hassle free for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals.