Virtual office

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Other Office Types:

Virtual office is a term for shared office services, which normally includes business address, mail & courier services, phone services, fax services, answering services, web hosting services, and meeting & conference facilities.[1]

Certain providers of virtual office services will provide other in-house or outsourced services such as corporate secretarial services, accounting services, or legal services. Professional firms such as law firms and accounting firms often provide registered address services as part of their service offerings.

Most of the virtual office providers are located in major cities (e.g. New York, London, Hong Kong), due to high popularity of its prestigious-looking business address. However, there are growing numbers of providers in industrial parks & science parks around the world, which are attracting technology or manufacturing-based companies.[citation needed]

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[edit] Users

Typically, the users of virtual office services would be those who are:

  • Seeking a low-risk alternative to renting a conventional office;
  • Testing a new product or service idea;
  • Downsizing from a conventional office;
  • Migrating from using a post office box;
  • Seeking to establish a business presence in the provider's country or city;
  • Seeking a business address within an expensive location, for corporate image purposes;
  • Seeking a business address as its registered business address for complying to government regulation;
  • Seeking supportive business services such as answering services;
  • Seeking a proxy for collection or "fielding" of mail and parcels[2]

[edit] Criticisms

While virtual office services offer benefits, there are several criticisms:

  • High volume of companies using the same address;
  • Lack of government regulation, resulting in fly-by-night providers;
  • Usage by fraudulent companies due to ease of registration;
  • Lack of structured training of service staff, as it is a niche industry.[citation needed]

[edit] Update

City Of Westminster In London in conjunction with Trading Standards in the UK have introduced the M.A.I.L Fair Trade Scheme to combat fraudulent activity in the industry.

[edit] Alternate usage

Virtual office is also a common term for an environment that enables a network of co-workers to run a business efficiently by using nothing other than online communication technologies.[3]

[edit] Etymology

It is arguable that Servcorp pioneered the virtual office and serviced office terms and industries in 1978[4] [5] however Chris Kern claims to have coined the term virtual office for a magazine article published in 1983.[6]

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