- The virtual office business idea came from a combination of technological innovation and the information age.
- The concept has roots in life before (and even during) the Industrial revolution where parallels to current work styles, specifically working from home, have been drawn.
- The virtual office concept is an evolution of the executive suite industry.
- However, the inflexibility of an executive suite lease doesn’t work for many business models and helped spur the virtual office concept.
- This article introduces us to the virtual office business in Nigeria
For companies who have international interest and often need their staff to represent them in business meetings, seal transactions or broker deals outside their primary place of location, even for companies who do not want to bother with acquiring real estate to conduct their business, taking advantage of serviced office accommodations seems like a good option.
This takes care of the lack of office space available to travelling business people who often have to conduct their businesses from hotels and it also reduces the headache of setting up to commence your business.
These serviced office accommodations are usually referred to as Virtual Office Business and involves renting out of office space to businesses for fewer periods than is usually done. Most times, this office space comes with support services generally categorized into communication services and space services.
The communication services include a virtual assistant, a remote receptionist, voice mail and phone answering service while space services involves a prestigious building used as the professional business address, a mailing address, casual work-space, business meeting space, reception courtesies etc.
Apart from the fact that running a virtual office reduces overhead cost of start-up since you don’t have to lease or rent an office complex, the fact that most virtual offices are equipped with the latest infrastructural technology in terms of software and hardware is another advantage.
Having a prime address for a fraction of what it would usually cost makes virtual offices more attractive to business owners since they can invest the extra cash into the core services of the business thus improving productivity.
Like everything that has an advantage, virtual office business also has its disadvantages. Many people are of the school of thought that because of the lack of a concrete base of operations, a virtual office gives off a lack of professionalism even though it might not be true.
The confidence and trust of clients can diminish when they realize there is no specific base of operations. Another disadvantage is the lack of discipline and lack of interaction with colleagues that usually goes with operating in a traditional corporate office.
Nevertheless, the business of virtual offices is growing fast and becoming a practical option for business owners since it offers the flexibility that executive suites didn’t for many business models. This is not to say however that virtual office can work for all businesses.
Depending on the needs of the business, the advantages can either outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa. Real estate developers might however want to pay attention to this growing trend and cash in on the opportunity.
With more people going virtual thus reducing the need to have a physical building owned by the company to conduct their business, rent reduces. This of course causes a ripple effect since electrical bills reduces, administrative costs are eliminated and cash flow available to real estate practitioners is slashed.
Since virtual office business is gaining more popularity, it is advisable for real estate developers in Nigeria to cash in on it while still providing the traditional corporate services after all, there’s nothing wrong with having the best of both worlds.