What are the Disadvantages of a Virtual Office?

5th August 2019

If you’re considering using the services of a virtual office, it’s always good to know how it can benefit your business as well as how it may negatively affect it as well. Although a virtual office can be a great solution for many small business owners, it isn’t always the best choice for your particular business needs. If you’re wondering what are the disadvantages of a virtual office, it may be helpful to inform yourself before deciding on the best solution for your business.

Below are some of the disadvantages associated with virtual offices:

Ongoing Costs

If you’re able to run your business from home reliably and without detriment to your professional appearance, a virtual office may be excessively costly in the long run. While many virtual office services allow you to customise the features you’d like to purchase, such as mail forwarding, use of meeting spaces, and renting out office space on an hourly or daily basis, the ongoing costs can quickly add up, especially if you’re not using them frequently enough to justify their cost.

Furthermore, many virtual office features are sold as packages or bundles that include a number of features that can be costly. A virtual mailbox can be a more cost-effective solution if you only require a virtual address, and likewise, a coworking space may make more sense if you require frequent use of office space to do your work.

Bear in mind that although the ongoing costs may add up, the value gained and the many benefits of a virtual office outweigh the costs of running and maintaining a physical office. For businesses run from home, it’s much safer and certainly justifies the cost of a virtual office.

Less Social Contact

By opting for a virtual office in lieu of a physical office or coworking space, you forego social contact and interaction. As social creatures, we all stand to benefit from being around others, which is why many choose to work in coffee shops or other public places.

Another factor that is lacking from virtual offices is the opportunity to develop and build your professional network. Coworking spaces are more ideal places to meet others that may eventually become future clients or connections that may help you succeed with your business.

Conversely, more social contact introduces more distractions to keep you from your work. Perhaps it’s worthwhile to want to spend your working time alone doing what you do best to avoid these distractions.

Technological Issues

When you choose to work at home or remotely, you’re prone to technological incompatibilities or failures that can paralyse your ability to work effectively. Virtual offices provide you with technology-based solutions to many common features found in a traditional office, but since you aren’t physically present there, solutions to technical problems may be more difficult to remedy than if you were in a traditional office.

Often, however, too many cooks can spoil the broth. Large IT networks are more complex than most home offices, and may sometimes take longer to resolve. Working alone, you may be able to better identify any technical problems and have them resolved by a repair service or by a virtual assistant.

No Permanent Physical Location

Frequent use of office space and meeting rooms will likely result in higher costs if you’ve gone the virtual office route than if you were to lease or purchase office space. Most virtual offices have features that permit you to occasionally use these facilities on an hourly or daily basis, which can be a great asset for just that, occasional use.

Long-term use of meeting space and office facilities is not ideal with virtual offices, but infrequent use is certainly fine and indeed a great way to use a real office without spending a fortune.

Service Limitations

There are plenty of useful and practical features available from a virtual office, but you may find some services are lacking or are unavailable. For example, virtual offices may not offer meeting space availability at a schedule that works for you or your clients. If you owned the property, you could hold meetings or conferences at any time you wish. Moreover, many bundled packages may contain features that go unused and therefore end up costing you more.

One way to avoid poor service is to shop around for reputable virtual office providers that offer transparent fee structures and bundles that contain services you’ll actually use. Virtual offices have been around for decades, so there ought to be plenty to choose from that can meet your needs.