Offices are not what they conventionally were before. Businesses now offer flexible working hours to their employees. Remote working has changed the dynamics of businesses and the office environments for the better. Now you can find different types of office setups suiting different types of business needs.
A serviced office and a virtual office are two sides of the same coin. They have many similarities and differences that may make it a bit confusing. We need to peel the layers off of both to understand them better, to know which one is better for your business.
Before we get down to finding their differences, let us discuss the basic commonality between the two. Both serviced and virtual offices are an alternative to owning or leasing an office. They are both managed by different parties other than the businesses themselves. In both cases, the office space is owned and run by other facility management companies.
With new startups emerging every day, business management has become a cut-throat competition. Many businesses choose office spaces managed by third parties because of many reasons. Shortage of funds, time, and personnel are among the top reasons.
What is the serviced space?
A serviced space is a physical office space pretty much like a traditional office where your employees need to commute to daily. It is managed by a third-party facility management company. They handle all the property management cutting down your overhead. This removes a huge burden off of your shoulders enabling you to focus on your business.
They are also popular because of their flexibility in rent lease. You can rent a serviced office for the time that suits your business plan. You can rent them for a few months, even for a few days a week. Serviced offices provide all the facilities that are required in an office, like fax machines, phones, computers, internet services, restroom, pantry, etc.
These offices are ideal for small businesses or new startups that don’t have an office and large funds. They can get a flexible lease and office services for the office at an affordable cost. This feature also becomes useful for businesses that want to expand by opening a branch in a different location.
Basic features of a serviced office:
- It gives you a private and personalized workspace.
- You can have access to all the office facilities including, furniture, office equipment, Wi-Fi, pantry, phone, fax machine, etc.
- You can get the lease agreement tailored to your business’s specific needs.
- You can get your lease renewed easily.
What is a virtual office?
Remote working has become very easy now because of internet technologies and the accessibility of advanced mobile devices. Businesses that are mostly working on telecommunication and online technologies, no longer require their employees to physically commute to the office. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t need a business address or an occasional need for meeting and conference rooms.
If your employees are tech-savvy enough to handle work from home without onsite supervision, then a virtual office is ideal for you. Virtual offices also facilitate remote working through facilities like online work platforms, phone services, administrative services, conference calling and video calling support, etc. All these services are offered at cheaper rates as compared to the actual cost of owning them.
Basic features of a virtual office:
- You get a legitimate business address of a posh location that can be used on your business letters, cards, and other marketing materials.
- It is a subscription-based service that can be stopped instantly without any prior notice.
- It gives your business a professional and reliable face rather than a small home-run business.
- You can hire people from around the world as it is all remote working based.
- You will have an easily accessible shared workspace.
- It offers a flexible package where you can only pay for the facilities that you use.
- You can easily upgrade or downsize your package anytime.
- Expansion of business becomes easier because of these features.
Differences between a virtual office and a serviced office:
There are many similarities between the two like the flexibility in payment and services, third-party office management, no legal liability, and easy expansion to name a few. However, there are some prominent differences as well, making it easier for you to make the right choice for your business.
- The serviced office is a physical office space that your employees need to commute to daily. A virtual office is not a physical office space but an office address with office facilities. There is no daily commute involved in a virtual office. You can occasionally use meeting rooms but it is not a regular office.
- The employees working in the serviced office need to live within a commutable distance of the office for daily commute. The employees in the virtual office can live anywhere in the world as they don’t have to attend the office.
- The workers in the virtual office should all be proficient in the latest internet technologies and apps because all of their work depends on them. In a serviced office, this knowledge is good to have but it is not essential to their work.
- In serviced offices, the workers work and meet face-to-face daily. They have a working relationship and understanding among themselves. Employees in the virtual office might never meet each other. At most, they will be seeing each other through their computer or smartphone screens.
- Although both are affordable as compared to a rented or an owned office, the cost of serviced office is higher as compared to the virtual office. The reason is simple; the use of physical workspace and related facilities is more in serviced offices than in virtual offices.