These days, business owners have plenty of options to choose from when looking for a suitable office space. There is always the tried and tested traditional office solution used by virtually every company today, and there are also a couple of relatively new and promising ones in the form of virtual offices and coworking spaces.
Gaining much popularity ever since the beginning of the pandemic, these offices offer a better workspace solution for businesses, freelancers, contractors, and other professionals from all backgrounds and industries. Moreover, unlike traditional offices, they do not require as much effort to encourage creativity and promote productivity among employees. However, the question remains － which one is the right fit for your company?
Which is better: virtual offices or coworking spaces?
Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to this question given that both are entirely different concepts and can be adopted by various organisations. Moreover, most might not even know how the two differ and may often mistake one for another. Thus, before one makes an informed decision, it is best to know the differences between them first.
Definitions and differences
Coworking spaces are physical working environments wherein entrepreneurs, freelancers, regular employees, and other professionals can rent working space, typically by desk type. These spaces are more often than not rented by a few or many members working in collaboration. Similar to a traditional office, coworking spaces feature everything a professional needs to do work, from complete office supplies and amenities to individual offices, private booths, and conference or meeting rooms. This office model is particularly popular with small-to-medium businesses and entrepreneurs looking for a professional working environment without committing to a lengthy and often costly traditional office space lease.
On the other hand, a virtual office is the opposite of coworking spaces since they only exist in the virtual space. Even so, renting one nets you many things included in a traditional office space like a physical address, reception, dedicated phone number and call answering, among many other perks. In addition, it provides a sense of community, just like coworking spaces, as each member is assigned a virtual ‘desk’ in the floor plan. By letting everyone know where each employee is located, virtual offices facilitate communication and collaboration by allowing them to reach out and connect to another quickly with just a press of a button.
The pros and cons
Virtual offices and coworking spaces each have their pros and cons, starting with pricing. Since neither physical space nor amenities are involved, subscriptions or memberships to virtual offices will generally come at a lower cost. Despite that, many virtual offices also come with a physical business address and phone number for each member and may even include some space to meet partners and clients face-to-face.
However, many would consider the physicality of coworking spaces well worth the extra cost. In a physical space, employees can return to the company of their peers after being isolated from working from home and become more motivated just by being around them. Also, while the networking opportunities remain in virtual offices, there is nothing like spontaneously sparking up a conversation with other like-minded professionals and generating new ideas over a chance encounter or in networking events hosted by community managers.
Moving on to location, virtual offices offer much more flexibility in that regard. Members can be in their ‘office’ in the virtual space whenever and wherever they would like. This allows cross-continent teams to come together and work as one while enabling the individual employee to work remotely at any place they feel comfortable. Additionally, not having to go somewhere to work is a definite plus for working individuals who want to limit their exposure outside in light of the ongoing pandemic.
As mentioned, virtual offices often come with physical space for limited use and make you more professional; however, note that it is only ‘limited’. In contrast, coworking spaces provide access to many facilities, such as kitchens, lounges, break rooms, meeting rooms, conference rooms, and individual offices, the last of which serves well for receiving clients and business partners.
Performance and creativity
Last but not least is the boost in performance and creativity. In coworking spaces which are all designed to promote both among members, employees can expect improved productivity thanks to a combination of beneficial design elements like green and biophilic design and natural lighting. On the other hand, virtual office members will have to find and work in spaces that offer similar effects or discover setups to boost productivity either at home or in their preferred remote location.
With the way we work now changed amidst the pandemic, businesses are looking for better office solutions to meet the needs of their employees and prepare them for the future of work. Coworking spaces and virtual offices are only the beginning of these new working environments, and they both offer excellent benefits for a variety of organisations. Essentially, when it comes to choosing either one, it depends on the goals of the company.
If you are interested in trying out either of these new working environments, GreenHub has all you need. We offer short term office spaces in Singapore ideal for coworking, complete with the above-mentioned benefits and virtual offices, all tailored to your business requirements and budget. To experience our spaces yourself, call us at +65 6692 8000 to arrange a visit.