Virtual Office Services Vital in Helping UK Businesses Grow
By Niall G
Operations Manager at The Answer Centre
9th September, 2021 6 minute read
In this article, we look back over the trends of the last 18 months and forward to business transitioning back to office working.
We’ll also focus on how Virtual Office Services such as The Answer Centre‘s UK Call Answering Service are becoming an attractive offering for businesses looking to adopt a hybrid way of working in the UK after COVID.
“Virtual Office Services are essential for the growth of UK business in 2022 and beyond”
UK businesses had to rapidly adapt to the ‘new normal’ of widespread home and remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, it’s becoming clear that business have suffered due to the lack of employee face-face contact and the team environment an office provides. With guidance on working from offices now changing, businesses look to get staff back to the office, at least in some capacity.
The benefits of hybrid working. Why not stick with Home Working?
Whilst businesses may have initially felt like their hand was forced in adopting home working, many are beginning to see the wider benefits it offers business and employees. 12 months ago a study revealed that 9 in 10 British workers who had recently started working from home say they would like to continue to do so in some capacity.
However, hybrid working creates challenges for business leaders. Creating a successful hybrid working model requires that companies re-evaluate what working culture they want to build to how employees should communicate.
Questions will arise around what to do with existing office space, reception staff who are no longer required, IT equipment, how to accommodate the wide range of needs for a diverse workforce.
The businesses there’s good reason the status quo for was to have all their staff in the one place. For many there’s no substitute for team members collocated to work more efficiently. There are also opportunities for informal face to face networking and development that is so important in the early stage of careers.
Despite all the amazing technology we have to facilitate the work from home life, a lot of business still rely on traditional means such as in person meetings. Small to mid size businesses, in particular, have expressed concerns of communication breakdowns between staff and clients who are working in several locations.
How Virtual Office Services can help?
Virtual office services including UK based telephone answering services exist to help fill the gap left by the hybrid working model. It centralises all your business calls to a small team of dedicated PAs who answer your calls in your company name, sounding like your own receptionist. Potential clients will be given a professional impression of your business and won’t be aware if your staff are based remotely.
With a workforce distributed around the country communication between clients and staff has been put under more strain that usual. With many of us transitioning either fully or partially to home/remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, the answering and forwarding of calls to the relevant person has become more of a challenge.
A dedicated call answering service ensures that businesses never misses a call which can then be seamlessly transferred to the relevant member of staff working from home. Alternatively, a detailed message can be taken and forwarded to the relevant person via email and/or text message. Usually, there is no additional charge for sending you messages by email.
With home working set to stay it’s vital that business, big and small, put in place more permanent solutions than the temporary fixes to home working many have been applying in 2020. A telephone answering service may go some of the way in helping businesses achieve that goal.
The Answer Centre team of virtual PA’s are highly experienced in call handling and on hand to help ensure your business continues to operate effectively, especially in the current climate of home/remote working.
The Answer Centre’s Call Answering Service will ensure that your business never misses another call.
Even if your business only receives calls very occasionally, a single call can often lead to a significant amount of business. With our Pay As You Go Call Answering Service we offer an extremely cost effective solution as you only pay for the calls that we answer for you.
Your calls will be answered in your company name, giving the impression to callers that you have your own dedicated company receptionist.
This can be very important in creating the right image for small businesses as some callers still have concerns about using suppliers who only have a very small number of employees.
Benefits of utilising the Answer Centre’s Telephone Answering Service are plentiful and include:
Never miss another business opportunity
Telephone Answering Service are playing a bigger part than ever before in helping small businesses to grow in the early stages of development.
Research has now shown that when a small business is in the early stages of growth, missing inbound calls can have a detrimental effect on the growth of the business.
Small businesses with up to two or three members of staff cannot normally justify having an employee dedicated to answering incoming telephone calls, which means that new business enquiries will inevitably get lost.
By employing the services of a Telephone Answering Service provider such as The Answer Centre a small business can ensure that new sales enquiries are not missed, thus ensuring that the business will grow at the optimum rate. Having access to a Virtual Assistant or Virtual PA to answer your calls means that as a small business owner you can get on with building your business without worrying about missed calls.
Additional benefits of using such a call answering service include the fact that when calls are received they are always handled consistently and professionally thus creating a good first impression to callers. How often do you call a small business and hear a voicemail greeting before hanging up and calling the next supplier in the list?
To find out more about the Telephone Answering Services and virtual office services provided by The Answer Centre you can call us Free on 0800 093 7333.
Not only will using The Answer Centre’s UK leading telephone answering service improve your sales pipeline, it will free up you and your employees to concentrate on the important things. With The Answer Centre answering calls on behalf of your company you’ll see increases on efficiency of your staff and processes.
Reduced staff overheads
The alternative to utilising The Answer Centre’s Telephone Answering Service is to employ your own professional receptionists to answer your calls. Hiring the right people for your organisation can be time consuming and expensive, not to mention all the HR responsibilities that come with employing staff of your own. A call answering service comes with the flexibility to respond to your business needs with none of the overheads and risk of employing full time employees.
Meeting Room Space
With more of us being home based now the demand for permanent office space will inevitably reduce. Whilst this may be a cost saving measure for some UK businesses it creates an increased need for flexible office space and meeting room hire available at short notice for face to face meetings, whether that be internal team meetings or external client / supplier meetings.
Not only are workers becoming fatigued from almost 2 years of constant home working but it has been suggested that employees who regularly attend the office over their home based colleagues are more likely to receive promotions and pay increases. This means the need for co-working or meeting space is essential for staff development and organic business growth.
There is truth in this when you consider some managers may have not visibly seen any of their staff working for the majority of the last 2 years despite they may well have been working extremely hard. How are those with control over promotions meant to make these important decisions without the face to face contact or being central to team operations. The answer is – not easily – and this will likely lead to disgruntled employees who feel as if less hard working colleagues are getting unfairly promoted. This is neither good for staff or the uk businesses they’re employed by. As one cabinet minister said last week:
“There must be the suspicion that some people have spent the last 15 months working from home but haven’t actually been doing very much,” and “It’s hard to know who is deserving of a promotion when people are working remotely,” added another source.
All of our business mailing address locations also offer superb meeting rooms to hire by the hour or by the day. Our meeting rooms offer the latest technology, ranging from high speed broadband internet access to video conferencing systems.
Meeting rooms are priced at £25 / hour and are suitable for meetings ranging from 2 – 12 delegates. Your visitors will be met and greeted by our professional reception staff. All meeting rooms come with the option of tea, coffee and biscuits and a full catering menu is also available should you require a working lunch.
Whatever your requirements are for your meeting, just let your Answer Centre PA know and we will make the necessary arrangements. The level of support provided by The Answer Centre means that you can focus fully on ensuring that your meeting goes to plan.
Business Address Service & Mail forwarding Service
As with the 2008 financial crisis the immediate aftermath of the COVID pandemic has already seen record levels of new company formations. Due to a combination factors including redundancies, failed businesses and pent up entrepreneurial thinking a record number of new business were formed in the UK in the first half of 2021.
Since it is a legal requirement for all companies registered in the UK to maintain a UK address whilst it is trading. With the increased number of new company formations comes an increase in demand for business address services.
There are various benefits of using a business address service and mail forwarding service including:
You must provide an address when you register a business with companies house and therefore it’s always wise to ensure you use a non-residential address to maintain your personal privacy. A virtual office provides this service and provides a professional address for you business should anyone be looking for your registered office.
Improve your business’ image
Probably the biggest advantage of having a virtual office is that you have the freedom to choose any location you want as your registered office – whether that be London, Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast. By registering your office in a professional office location, your company is projected as being established, professional and reputable. This enhances your business’ image which of course leads to a better performing business.
Eliminates junk mail
With the Answer Centre’s mailing address service you are forwarded any relevant mail for your company. All junk mail is disposed of.
Stay away from restrictive rental contracts
Given the number of start ups that are home based – A virtual office address and mailing address service is a perfect solution for a small business that wants to retain he cost effectiveness of home working at the same time as maintaining a professional company appearance.