20 Oct Physical vs. Virtual Office Space: Which One Is Right for Your Association?
There’s no doubt that remote work and virtual offices are not just the wave of the future–they’re here and gaining ground. That seems like a boon for small businesses, which according to the US Small Business Administration make up an overwhelming percentage of all businesses in the United States.
If your association is debating whether or not a physical or virtual office is space is right for you, here are some pros and cons to consider, as well as a solution favored by many organizations.
Advantages of a Virtual Office
The reason most associations turn to virtual office space is the most common: cost savings. Without having to pay rent, your group can save thousands of dollars per year, money that you could certainly better use for other expenses or save for the future. With small business failure statistics remaining unchanged over the years regardless of industry, solvency can make or break some associations’ survival.
When you have no physical office space, there are other associated costs savings as well. There’s no need for furniture, and you can save on personnel, such as reception, cleaning, and security.
Another advantage to having a virtual office is the ability to hire staff from anywhere in the world. No longer limited to your geographic area, you can hire the best and the brightest, even if they’re halfway across the globe.
With an all-remote staff, you can cover extended hours or even offer 24/7 responsiveness. Associations with virtual offices also find they reduce or eliminate work tardiness and sick days when staff can operate from home.
Disadvantages of a Virtual Office
There are, however, some serious considerations for associations desiring a virtual office. Obviously, a virtual office makes employee supervision more challenging at times, so you need motivated and trustworthy workers that will get the job done without someone physically standing over them.
Hiring people initially may be tricky. You won’t likely be able to meet in person, so you’ll have to rely on emails and video conferencing for the interview process. Can you handle payroll remotely in the US or to a foreign country?
If your association relies on visibility, having no physical presence in the community could be problematic. Think about whether or not you need a place for people to drop in or signage that alerts the public to your purpose.
Finally, there are some necessary costs even with a virtual office. You may still need to provide computers, software, international phone plans, copiers, office supplies, and a mailbox location. You may also need storage space, especially if you have printed materials, event equipment, or products for sale. If global staff are required for your annual meeting, travel expenses may be higher than for local employees.
A Solution for Associations
If you’re waffling between having a physical space or a virtual space for your association, there is a solution that makes for a happy medium: using an association management company like Jaffe Management. With offices in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota, Jaffe Management provides full or partial management for associations and nonprofits. We provide services including:
- A headquarters office, which provides a physical presence for your group
- Meeting and event services, including planning and meeting space
- Membership administration and communication
- Volunteer development
- Website design and social media assistance
- Financial services
The advantage to working with Jaffe Management is that you can focus your time and energy on fulfilling your organization’s mission while still enjoying the cost savings of a virtual office. You don’t have to deal with hiring or training staff, and you can immediately reap the benefits of working with professionals who are dedicated to associations and nonprofits.
For more information about how Jaffe Management can help your association navigate the waters between a physical and a virtual office, get in touch today.