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‘You’ve been missing a lot of work lately.’
‘I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.’
- Office Space, A Film by Mike Judge
If office life has jumped the shark for you as a business owner, there are options to reorganize your company in a way that both reduces costs and allows you more freedom. It’s called virtual office space, and it’s a novel method that makes use of modern communications technology to conduct business without the cubicles or the tie clip. Let’s consider how it works, and what the pros and cons of such a choice might be.
How It Works
Essentially, you’ll be buying an address without the space that goes with it. You can receive mail, have it forwarded, and legally list it as your business headquarters – but no one will actually be working there. It’s a cheap and effective way of securing legitimacy for your firm without having to pay the exorbitant leasing costs that go along with it.
If you’re trying to get a leg up on the competition and provide the same level of quality for a fraction of the price, virtual office space can be just the ticket. You won’t have to pay rent, you won’t have to pay electric bills, and you’re not in danger of being the victim of a workplace fire or theft.
It’s a package that will allow you to aggressively market your wares and make your presence felt in the business community without having to climb the corporate ladder for years just to get a seat at the table. You can start right where you want to, and go from there.
You may find a virtual office staff hard to administer. With no strong ties connecting you together, you run the risk of seeming faceless and indifferent to your employees. They’re not likely to engage with the goals of the company if that’s the case, and may simply move on as soon as they can. You might be fighting a war of attrition just as you’re getting started, which isn’t desirable for a new business owner trying to dedicate himself to bigger picture issues like design and sales.
Another possibility is that your customers discover your virtual office space and find themselves feeling deceived. You may lose accounts if clients become angry with your methods, or were expecting to be able to do business in person. Many companies still prefer the face-to-face interactions that fuel long-term relationships, and they might decide you’re not the player they thought you were.
Virtual office space is an excellent idea, and it can be tempting to put it to use in your business plan right away. But keep in mind that it’s a short term strategy at best, and may cause unexpected headaches down the line.
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