by Ester Brierley
When it comes to choosing an office space, modern business owners and entrepreneurs have many options available. Not only can they choose traditional office solutions, but they can also choose relatively new ones, such as co-working spaces and virtual offices.
These two types of office spaces can be a better solution for contractors, freelancers and many other professionals from different spheres. In addition, traditional offices may require you to put more effort into maintaining productivity and encouraging creativity. Although it gets easier to find the best office solution for your business, it’s still a somewhat tricky task.
What is better, coworking spaces or virtual offices?
It’s hard to answer such a question because these concepts are completely different and may be adopted by different kinds of businesses. Moreover, many people don’t even know the difference between these concepts and often confuse them. Thus, if you want to make a smart and informed choice, you have to learn more about both of these models.
Definitions & Differences
A coworking space is physical and there are many configurations of coworking spaces that are rented by entrepreneurs and startups of any kind. Quite often coworking spaces are rented by several renters that work in collaboration. Just like any office space, coworking offices may have conference rooms and individual offices. This model of an office space is very popular among small companies and entrepreneurs. A shared work space is cheaper than traditional offices but includes everything you need.
Virtual offices are completely different from coworking spaces because they exist only virtually. However, when renting a virtual office, you will get a lot of things associated with an actual office, such as a physical address and reception and call answering services among other perks. Virtual offices are a good solution for entrepreneurs who run their business from home but don’t want to use their home address as a business address. It’s also a great option for freelancers or professionals who constantly move.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Both coworking spaces and virtual offices have numerous advantages and specific features. The main advantage of virtual offices is a lower price. They are cheaper than both traditional offices and coworking spaces, however, they also provide you with a business address and business phone number, and may even include a physical space that you can visit to meet with partners or clients. Many virtual office packages also include call centers that provide answering services and can save you a lot of time.
Virtual offices are also a very flexible solution. You’re not limited to any certain location, and your office is wherever you are. As an employer, you can go wherever you want and yet stay in your “office,” as long as you have a laptop and internet connection. Virtual offices also allow you to manage teams of remote workers. Modern employees are often looking for flexibility so you get a bigger pool of talent for your positions.
Virtual offices make your business look more professional and offer you a wide range of available addresses. For instance, even a small business can rent a virtual office on Wall Street. However, virtual offices are cheap for a reason: Even if you have access to your physical address, it’s limited.
Unlike virtual offices, coworking spaces offer you unlimited access to physical space, with all its benefits, including kitchen, conference areas, break rooms, scanners and printers. Coworking spaces are a great alternative to traditional offices because they provide a flexible collaborative environment. They also are a great solution for professionals who work at home but feel the need for networking with like-minded people.
Coworking spaces also increase productivity and creativity, just like workshops do. According to statistics, most employees who work in coworking spaces emphasize the importance of spontaneous collaboration, as well as better opportunities for networking and personal growth. Many providers even match new renters with like-minded businesses to encourage mutually beneficial collaboration.
As you can see, coworking spaces offer some features that you cannot get when choosing virtual offices. However, the reason is that these two workplace models are intended for entrepreneurs with different needs. For example, although virtual offices don’t offer you advantages of physical space and networking, they offer such value-added services as virtual reception and virtual employees.
Modern businesses have a variety of available options when it comes to organizing a workplace. Traditional brick-and-mortar offices are often too expensive and may not satisfy the specific needs of entrepreneurs and startups. Coworking spaces allow you to rent physical space with other companies which are similar to yours, while virtual offices are a completely virtual but the most flexible solution. Thus, when choosing between these two, you should make your choice only based on the needs of your business or the specifics of your profession.
Photo: Austin Distel (Unsplash)