The Difference a Virtual Office Makes in Running Your Business

coworking space virtual office
The coworking space where I used to work. Virtual offices are so much better, and many coworking spaces offer a virtual office option.

I’ve been utilizing a virtual office for over a month now, and I’ve begun to notice a few changes. Previously, I was working at a coworking space and operating on a normal 9-5 business schedule. Now, the way I run my business is a little bit different with my virtual office than how I ran it before. Here’s how:

  1. Everyday is Simultaneously Monday and Saturday – With my virtual office arrangement, I work from home. This has actually turned my schedule and sense of time upside-down. Coming home is no longer that “I’m home from work and not doing anything else the rest of the day” mentality. Home is work and work is home. So, everyday feels like a day where I need to get something and where I don’t at the same time. It’s both Monday and Saturday. To overcome this, I’ve come up with Matter-day, where everyday matters. This mindset encourages me to do something to ensure the day wasn’t wasted.
  2. That Extra Hour in the Day is Huge Boost to Productivity – When I moved to my new apartment, my commute jumped from 20 minutes a day to an hour a day. It may not seem like a lot, but the commute is a huge time suck and I am glad to have that hour back. Unlike others, I wasn’t going to risk safety as I traveled to work and back by checking emails, talking on the phone, or trying to type some notes into my phone or tablet. However, I can now do all that without putting any lives in danger and only spend time commuting somewhere when I absolutely have to. After all, I don’t have to get my work done at a certain location.
  3. I Don’t Have to Start at 9 a.m., or End at 5 p.m. – On the one hand, this can translate to “I work whenever I want.” On the other hand, it also translates to “I work until the job is done.” I’m not clocking out at 5 p.m. just because the workday is over. If it takes me until six to finish something, I finish it. On the other hand, I can start at 7 or at 10,  or start again at 10 p.m. because I’ve been inspired to write that blog post on landing pages or schedule some of next week’s social media updates. I contend that my unorthodox schedule allows me to be more productive than most of the workforce.
  4. You Can Actually Take the Breaks You Need – With a virtual office, there’s no need to work through lunch everyday, or feel like your slacking off if you decide to get some fresh air by walking the dog or going to the grocery door. No one is watching, and no boss is going to scold for doing something that will ultimately help you get through the day. Of course, I still need the self-discipline to ensure that I don’t spend the entire day watching television. But, with a virtual office, I can take a break without distracting anyone other than myself.
  5. Healthier Eating – Now that I work from home, I need to make sure that I buy food for lunch when I go grocery shopping. This means that I’m now spending my money on deli meat, pasta, and good coffee instead of fast food and a surgary mocha from the cafe. When you’re in a traditional work environment, you often need to eat quickly, so fast food and microwavable meals are great options even though they aren’t the healthiest options. Since I’m eating lunch at my home office, I’m preparing my own lunch every single day, cutting calories as well as personal costs.

The difference a virtual office has made in running my business is that its given me more flexibility, so I’m now making decisions based on what’s best for me and my company, versus what’s the fastest way to do something or the most conventional way to do something. Virtual offices aren’t conventional, but choosing a virtual office has shown to be the best thing for myself and my company.

Alternative Office Spaces the Latest Trend in Work

office spaces
Coworking spaces are essentially shared office spaces.

Shared office spaces, also known as coworking spaces or simple ‘coworking’, are the latest trend in office spaces and virtual offices. Coworking, as defined by Wikipedia, is a style of work which involves a shared working environment, sometimes an office, yet independent activity. It’s becoming a great alternatives for freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, and even microbusinesses who would most likely be working from home or at coffee shops if it weren’t for coworking spaces.

There are over 1100 coworking spaces worldwide, offering a range of services that are similar to executive suites and virtual office spaces. They are essentially office spaces with anything a professional or a small company would need, but without the large overhead of having to worry about paying for utilities, high rental fees, or maintenance problems. Coworking spaces are also great places for networking, exchanging resources, and meeting clients. They also allow the flexibility for someone to work at home from time to time, while also handling the mail, keeping a professional business address, and perhaps forwarding any messages that may come in while you’re away.

One of the biggest worries possible tenants have with coworking spaces is that the open office spacesspace could actually make it more difficult to work because of the distractions. Coworking spaces get around that by offering private executive offices or private work spaces as well as the open plans and the individual desks. This makes it easier for those that need to be on the phone to do their work without distracting others and those that just need to get down to business can simply shut a door. At a coworking space, they can do this without losing the networking and the connectivity that happens at a typical office space.

Coworking, virtual office spaces, and executive office suites all fall into the realm of “alternative work space offerings.” There are many things driving this change for professionals: increase in technology, rise of online businesses, need for work/life balance, companies want to cut costs, people want to commute less or in a more environmentally-friendly way etc. Alternative work spaces may still be new to some, but they are the wave of the future as people crave more choice in when they work, where they work, and how they work. Allied Offices are part of this trend as much as a coworking space or a virtual office firm.

Traditionally office space vacancies are at 17.2 percent in the United States. They just aren’t as cool or as flexible as alternative office spaces. After all, work doesn’t typically get done “at work.” But, it might if we reinvent what it means to be at work.