Over the past years (especially after the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak), business owners have begun to actively seek out more flexible workspaces to get their work done.
As a result, coworking spaces have become increasingly popular around Australia. But despite the popularity they have gained, they do not fit every business model.
Even though Australia’s biggest cities have thousands of attractive offers to rent a coworking space and connect with like-minded business professionals, many start-uppers are looking for alternatives to coworking.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that coworking spaces have more drawbacks than benefits. On the contrary, I believe that coworking spaces blend a range of flexible, creative, and connected work environments, and they’re a great office solution for many businesses.
Nevertheless, coworking doesn’t work for all.
In this post, we will go over the main differences between a virtual office and coworking space and the reasons why virtual offices are the best alternative to coworking for many businesses.
Table of contents:
- Virtual Office vs. Coworking Space: What are the differences?
- 8 reasons why a virtual office is the best alternative to coworking
1. Virtual Office Vs. Coworking Space: What Are The Differences?
Virtual offices and coworking spaces often get lumped together.
Nevertheless, these two types of office spaces are based on completely different concepts (even though both fulfil the same purpose – providing businesses with a fully equipped office space without the hassle of renting a brick and mortar office and paying high overhead).
For this reason, it’s hard to answer a question such as “What is better, coworking spaces or virtual offices?”.
Well, it depends on your business model, strategy, the lifestyle you want, and many other factors to consider. Businesses are different, and so are their owners’ needs.
In this section of my post, I will provide you with all the information you need to clearly understand the differences between a virtual office and a coworking space.
Essentially, a virtual office is a set of services that businesses can access as they grow and scale up. A virtual office offers the same services and facilities as a traditional office, but without the hassle of paying high office rent and commuting or travelling to work on a daily basis. In other words, virtual offices allow businesses to work from anywhere in a peaceful, stress-free environment.
To learn more about virtual offices and their features, please read this post.
On the other hand, a coworking space is a fully equipped workspace including all the office facilities that businesses typically need to access. They enable companies to work on various projects independently while sharing the same office space (which makes them a great place to connect with like-minded start-uppers and identify valuable networking opportunities).
There are two fundamental differences between a virtual office and a coworking space:
- The work concept
Virtual offices offer excellent support for remote working and enable businesses to work with distributed teams (meaning that companies using a virtual office can access the global talent pool and find the finest talents in the world to integrate into their teams). At the same time, coworking spaces require managers and team members to live within commuting distance from the office and travel each day to go to work.
- The ability to replace a traditional office
A virtual office can successfully replace a traditional brick-and-mortar office as it provides businesses with all the necessary tools to run smoothly. On the other hand, a coworking space is not a 100% substitute for a traditional office environment. They give you the freedom to collaborate with your team. Still, they might not provide you with all the resources your business needs to accelerate growth (for example, they do not include professional virtual receptionists).
2. 8 Reasons Why A Virtual Office Is The Best Alternative To Coworking
As I shared previously, virtual offices and coworking spaces are intended for entrepreneurs with different needs.
For example, if your business model is based on daily face-to-face interaction, it is evident that you should get a coworking space instead of a virtual office.
But if you’re able to perform your business operations remotely (fully or partially), I suggest that you consider a virtual office as an alternative to coworking.
Here is why a virtual office is the best alternative to coworking space:
- Business registration
All virtual offices provide you with a professional business address that you can use to register your business (for more details, please read this post: Are virtual addresses legal for a business to use?). On the other hand, you can register your business with a coworking space address only if the agreement with the provider allows you to receive mail at the premises – which means that not all coworking spaces enable you to register a company with the business address they provide.
- Opportunities for tapping into new markets
It is hard to expand in a new region with a coworking space and test a new market (as it would require your presence and the one of your team in a new location). For this reason, a virtual branch office is a great alternative to coworking. You can use it if you’re looking to test a new market without the hassle of travelling to a new location – not to mention that a virtual office allows you to mitigate the risks when expanding to other markets as it requires a meagre investment.
- Unique business address
Most of the time, businesses sharing a coworking space also need to share the same business address. On the other hand, premium virtual offices provide companies with a unique business address instead of a common address where multiple businesses receive mail and parcels (a unique business address is more convenient and helps businesses build a more professional image).
- Cost-saving benefits
Both virtual offices and coworking spaces save businesses money as they are way more affordable than traditional brick-and-mortar offices. However, virtual offices require a much lower investment (in Australia, the average price for a basic virtual office is $50-$70 per month, while the average price for a basic and part-time coworking space is $200-$400 per month). Furthermore, virtual offices help businesses save money in the long term (while coworking spaces are cost-effective in the short to medium term but not advantageous in the long term).
- Improved business reputation
First-class virtual offices come with a unique business address (as I mentioned previously) and a dedicated local landline plan. These two features play a crucial role in building a professional business image and improving a company’s reputation. On the other hand, most coworking spaces provide businesses with the same contact details.
- Support for scaling
Many believe that virtual offices are designed only for start-ups and small businesses operating on shoestring budgets. Well, that’s just a myth. A virtual office is a permanent office solution you can use while going through all the stages of your business life cycle (because it allows you to personalise your office package and access more services as you grow). On the other hand, a coworking space is a temporary workspace that you may need to change once you reach the scale-up stage.
- Increased productivity
A coworking space is great for brainstorming sessions and collaborative meetings. Nevertheless, noise is part and parcel of a coworking space. People move around, talk to each other, watch videos, and make calls. They can easily distract you, and distraction is the worst enemy of productivity. With a virtual office, you’re free to choose the optimal work environment to boost productivity.
- More time to invest in your business
For a busy business owner, time is everything. A virtual office is the best way to free up time and declutter your day as it allows you to avoid the daily commuting, the bumper-to-bumper traffic, and the chaotic morning rush. As a result, you will have more time to invest in your business and focus on meaningful operations (or simply maintain a healthy work-life balance).
Virtual offices and coworking spaces come with unique features and are viable options for start-uppers, small business owners, freelancers and consultants.
Do you value a workspace built around the idea of a business community, and you believe that daily commuting is an absolute must for you and your team? If so, you should consider getting a coworking space.
But if you enjoy working freely and you’re able to manage remote teams, then you may need to seek alternatives to coworking. A virtual office can bring a myriad of benefits to your business, and it can be the best substitute for coworking.
Are you looking for an alternative to coworking? If so, do not hesitate to contact the B2B HQ team! It would be a pleasure for us to provide you with a fully-equipped virtual office and set your business for smooth sailing to success.