Rent an Office vs. Virtual Office: What's Right for Your Business?

Elizabeth Lockwood

Are you thinking about renting an office for your business? Whether you’re starting a new company or looking for a change, there are a few things to consider when choosing whether to rent or go virtual.

In this video, Kelsey Johnson touches on the pros and cons of a physical office space over a virtual office space. If you're a small business owner just getting started or thinking about "going virtual" this video is for you!

If you'd like to hear more about the importance of choosing an ideal office space and how you can choose the best office type for your business, we've provided a full transcript of the video below, edited for readability. You can watch the full webinar by clicking on the video below. This webinar is also available to watch for free on YouTube. To watch more videos like this one, with tons of free tips for soloprenuers, small business owners, and more, subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Speaker

Kelsey Johnson

Product Marketing Manager

at Smith.ai

INTRODUCTION

KELSEY JOHNSON, PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGER AT SMITH.AI:

Are you thinking about renting an office for your business? Whether you’re starting a new company or looking for a change, there are a few things to consider when choosing whether to rent or go virtual.

I’m Kelsey Johnson from Smith.ai and I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of physical and virtual offices — and what might be right for your business.

When starting a business these days, renting an office space isn’t always the obvious choice. Many businesses are opting for a virtual office, and not just tech companies, consulting agencies, or home service businesses. But don’t just jump on board — it’s about what’s right for you and your business.

Just a note: this video is for small business owners in retail, consulting, home services, professional services, health and fitness, or other similar industries. In my experience, business owners in these industries are now considering a remote space.

VIRTUAL OFFICE: WHAT IS IT?

First, what is a virtual office? Virtual offices, or remote offices, can be a room or part of a room in your home where you set up a desk and computer. But your virtual office could also include your living room couch, a virtual office space that you rent, days spent at a coffee shop, or even working from a hotel while traveling.

The important thing to note with all remote work options is that you don’t require a static desktop computer, phone, and local server to get the majority of your work done. People who work remotely use mainly cloud-based tech solutions, phone systems that work with their smartphones, and laptop computers or tablets. Their biggest concern is high-speed internet, but there are a lot of benefits to a virtual workspace.

BENEFITS OF A VIRTUAL OFFICE

1. More Money in Your Pocket

You will save a lot of money. Not just on rent, but utilities, furniture, cleaning services, security, and reception. A low overhead is one of the best ways to kickstart the success of your business.


2. Cheaper & Higher Quality Staffing Options

You can hire staff from anywhere. If you need to bring someone on, you don’t necessarily have to hire locally, which can lower staffing costs and increase the availability of experts.


3. Flexible Hours and Improve Responsiveness

You can cover extended hours or provide better responsiveness. When you’re remote, you set whatever working hours you want, which opens up your ability to be more available to leads who call after-hours. I have to note here that if you want 24/7 responsiveness, your best bet is hiring a virtual receptionist service like Smith.ai.


4. Less Time Wasted

You can save time on commuting, distractions from coworkers, and get laundry and other tasks done during work breaks.


5. Boost Productivity

Many people are more productive when they work from home, as the concept of “face-time in the office” doesn’t really apply, and you end up focusing your days on getting the most essential tasks done.


6. Increase Preparedness

In an emergency like a hurricane or global pandemic, you won’t struggle to transition to remote work.


7. Better Work-Life Balance

You can take care of or spend more time with your family and pets. Dogs love remote work.



Although the internet is alight with praises for virtual work right now, it’s certainly not for everybody. These are some of the reasons you might want to rent an office.

BENEFITS OF RENTING AN OFFICE SPACE: 

1. Dedicated Workspace with Less Distractions

You need a dedicated workspace out of the home. If you are a person who is more productive or creative when you leave the house during the day, you may want to consider a workspace at least, if not renting an actual office. This could also apply if your home is more distracting than an office would be. 


2. Potential Sales From Community & Foot Traffic

You’d like a physical presence in the community — businesses in very small towns might want to think about this. If you are one of only a few lawyers in a small town, a physical office space will serve as its own marketing to those walking by, and they’re often more affordable than bigger city office spaces too. Will foot traffic result in more clients for your business?


3. Better Communication Makes for Better Office Relationships

Hiring, training, on-boarding, and collaborating with your staff is essential to your business. Almost everyone communicates better in person, and you can reduce friction with staff when you can build in-person relationships in the office.


4. More In-Person Sales Opportunities

An in-person interaction is essential for you to make a sale. If your sales tactics work better in person, renting an office is probably your best bet.


5. Serve Customers' Unique Demands

Your clients demand a prestigious experience.



QUESTION TO ASK YOURSELF

Are you on the fence about renting an office space or choosing to work from home? Here are 7 questions to ask yourself to help you make the decision:

1. What’s my budget?


Is renting an office going to blow your budget out of the water? You might want to think about working virtually for a few months first and then reconsider renting.


2. Will the clients brought in by the office space pay for the space itself?


If you have clientele who expect to meet you at a professional office or storefront, and the revenue brought in by those clients is well over the cost of the space, then definitely get one.


3. Will I get foot traffic and brand awareness from my office?


Does your business benefit from people walking by and potentially popping their head into your office? Are you thinking about getting your office in a highly trafficked area where you could potentially gain a lot of brand awareness? Again, if the resulting revenue more than pays for the space, it will likely be worth it.


4. Do I need a separate space from my home to work in?


Many people for various different reasons don’t have a home that is conducive to turning into a home office. Whether your home is too small or your family is distracting, renting a physical office could be the right solution.


5. Do I want an office?


This may sound obvious, but if you can afford the overhead and you really want an office for your business, that’s a good reason to rent one. But remember that, more than anything, you want your business to succeed. If the large overhead of a physical office is hindering the growth of your business, it won’t be worth it in the long run.


6. Do I have employees to manage? 


Managing people remotely isn’t difficult, but it also isn’t for everyone. If you have employees to hire, train, and manage, office space is the best way to do that. 


7. Does my family need me at home?


If you have pets or children who need you in the house in case of emergencies or just want to spend time with you during breaks, working from home could be a really great option.


Generally, my advice if you’re on the fence is to start your business remotely if you can, and then, make the move to renting a physical office when it makes sense financially for you — and make sure you have a good reason to do so. 


Give Smith.ai's virtual receptionist service a try

Whether you rent or work remotely, virtual receptionists can help you spend your time doing the work you are best suited to. We can answer your calls, chats, texts, and social messages, transfer calls, qualify and intake new leads, schedule and reschedule appointments, and much more. To get started with Smith.ai virtual receptionists – head to Smith.ai and book a free consultation or start risk-free today with our 14-day money-back guarantee.

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Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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