Why Create A Virtual Office in Chicago

Prominent Location in Chicago

The first thing to choose when deciding where to establish your virtual office space is location. It’s crucial to choose a prominent location that is right for you and your business. Without a doubt Chicago is a well established area, and CloudVO offers a variety of luxurious professional virtual office solutions. The city of Chicago is the perfect place to set up a virtual office for your business, whether you are a startup, mobile worker, solopreneur, or a team looking for temporary shared workspace.


Meeting Chicago Clients

Chicago-Buckingham-FountainYou want your virtual office to be a place where you can confidently meet with clients. For that reason you want to ensure that you have an office space in which you can meet with your clients, and feel confident that your office space is professional. Chicago is one of the most famous cities in the United States, and definitely lives up to expectations. CloudVO offers numerous professional locations in which to conduct meetings. Meeting room locations are accessible via city public transportation and near major landmarks. With so many attractions in Chicago, it makes this city the perfect place to establish your virtual office space, and meet with your clients and colleagues.

Stable Chicago Mailing Address

Once you establish the office space for your business, you will want to ensure that you have a stable mailing address where clients can reach you. Also, you want to ensure that you have access to telephone communication to communicate with clients; and maintain your business’ affairs. Most clients despise automated messages, so having live telephone communication is crucial when picking the perfect virtual office space. That is one major reason why Chicago is a fantastic place to establish your business. If you want to an office space in a well known prominent area in conjunction with the ability to have live telephone communication with clients, CloudVo virtual office spaces in Chicago is the way to go!

Virtual-Office-SpaceWhy not make your virtual office space in the windy city? Not only is Chicago one of America’s most famous cities, but Chicago is also a great place to establish a business identity and reputation. Also, with CloudVo there are several prominent locations to choose from that are professional and equipped to cater the varying degrees of your business needs. All of these locations are excellent settings to hold meetings with clients and managing business affairs. That is not all, as part of your virtual office plan with CloudVO, live answering services will keep your clients happy, allow you to receive voicemail messages directly via email, and screen calls when necessary.  No need for automated voice messages, leaving clients unhappy or frustrated. Get a prime location for your virtual office along with the benefits of a physical office space!


About CloudVO ™

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service ™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 500 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Building your Business Online: Some Useful Tips on Setting Up an Effective Virtual Office Space

No matter if you are located in New York City or Miami, building your first virtual office or home-based business can be challenging. There are several factors to think about and a few challenges to face once you start setting up your virtual office space. However, these challenges shouldn’t hinder you from running your business smoothly. If you are on the stage of setting up your virtual office space, then the following tips can help you out.

1. Work with a virtual receptionist.

Most businesses depend on the telephone to contact people, and for people to contact them. Setting up a business phone number, and then hiring a virtual office receptionist to handle it, can help you jumpstart your home-based business. With a reliable virtual receptionist, you have a hundred percent assurance that all calls from your valued customers are answered.

telephone

Your virtual receptionist will also work in handling orders, taking important messages and relaying them to you, answering queries from customers and scheduling appointments. All these can help guarantee smooth business operations.

Not only does having a virtual receptionist have a friendly and professional appeal, it allows you to focus on your business. Trained to work as an extension of your staff, CloudAnswering does the filtering of sales calls, gathering the basic information & relaying the important information over to you wherever you are. This seamless service enables you to prioritize calls, and allow you to choose to accept the call or have transferred to your personalized voicemail.

2. Develop a professional image.

Even if you are just working from home, it is still crucial to showcase a professional image not only to your clients, but also to your team. This is necessary, even if you just intend to work on your pajamas. Having a virtual receptionist handle your calls can go a long way to putting forth a
professional image. Ensure that you dress appropriately during important meetings with clients. Dressing professionally is essential,
especially if you are meeting with the client personally or on Skype. This
will let you show an image of authority and professionalism, making it easier to earn their trust.

3. Get a Prestigious Business Address

skyline-buildings-new-york-skyscrapersAnother way to develop a professional image, and create trust from your clients is to have a prestigious business address. A great advantage to having a virtual office is you can work from wherever you are. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be located where your address is. There are laws and taxes to keep in mind based on what state you are “located” in, but really you can be located wherever you would like. Set up your office in the New York/Manhattan area, Miami, or Chicago. The location of your business can give your clients the feel that you are professional, experienced, and ready to handle their needs.

4. Keep your communication lines open.

Your employees/team members should feel comfortable when asking questions or communicating with you. Reassure them that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Make them feel like they can raise their concerns anytime without fear of getting judged. Some ways to communicate with your team are Skype, Google apps such as Google Hangout, and e-mail.

5. Rent/outsource some services.

With the increase of interest in virtual offices, workspace providers are sharing their services to other interested operators. Check out their offers and determine which among these providers can meet your specific requirements. Some of those who are into virtual office space rental also offer additional services like live telephone answering and forwarding, a business address in New YorkMiami, Chicago or more, based on where you would like your business to be, listing of email addresses, and building directories. Before starting your search, create a list of all the services that you need. This way, you can easily determine, which among the virtual office space providers can meet your specific requirements.

6. Take advantage of the intranet.

Since you won’t be working with your team in just one location, you have to look for a way to communicate with them efficiently. This is where intranet can help. Once you set it up, connecting with your virtual team and sharing information will be a lot easier.

Wrapping Up

pexels-photo (3)Whether you are in Chicago, Miami, or New York, creating an online
business has a variety of elements that need to be taken into consideration. Businesses like
CloudVO offer services such as telephone answering, a prestigious business address, mail and packaging services, and a conference room or part time office each month. This will allow you to create a business you love, without having to worry about the small details that can be a hassle. Virtual office spaces are a great solution for small business who want to go big.


About CloudVO ™

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service ™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 500 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

 

Virtual vs. Traditional Office: What’s the Difference?

These days, a lot of entrepreneurs are using technology to their advantage by launching virtual office space. If you want to start a business, but you don’t have a large capital, a virtual office provides many resources that could be used to your advantage. Some of these advantages include spending less on furniture, office equipment, or office space, working flexible hours, and much more. It also allows you both to hire staff from different parts of the world giving you access to the best talent in your desired field, and decide where you want your business located be that Orlando, Denver, or Washington DC.city-road-street-buildings

However, it doesn’t mean that a traditional brick and mortar office is a bad choice if you are starting a business either. Yes, it’s a little expensive compared to a virtual workstation, but there are other advantages like getting to interact with your customers and employees face to face, which can be a bit difficult when all interaction is on the phone, emails, or over Skype.

To find the perfect setup for your business, you need to have a solid understanding of each option. This article explores some of the main differences between a traditional office, and virtual office space.

1. Location

A traditional office space has a main, physical address, whereas a virtual office can’t be found in a specific location. In a traditional office setup, employees need to commute and report to work depending on their schedule. When their shift is over, they pack up their things and head home.

Virtual offices however are more independent and flexible. This allows you to work when you want to work, and cut out the travel time that comes with commutes. It does make it harder for overseeing employees, meeting with clients in person, and having a physical address for mail, appearance, and SEO directory listings.

However, with one of CloudVO’s Virtual Office Plans, you can have a main address in many places around the world, such as Orlando, Denver, or Washington DC, without having to be there all the time. In a virtual setting, your home can also be your office. Work is done and delivered online, so you can work anywhere you want, as long as you have stable internet connection. Then, when you do have a meeting with a client, CloudVO also offers you access to meeting rooms, either by the hour or through allotted hours per month, built into some VO plans or available as an add-on feature.

pexels-photo (3)2. Work Hours

Usually, a brick and mortar office follows a 9-hour work schedule. In some instances, employees have two 15-minute breaks and 1-hour lunch break. There are times clients expect you to be in the office, which dictates when your office needs to be open.

On the other hand. a virtual office does not necessarily follow a rigid work schedule. Cloud VO can offer Live Telephone answering, which helps with client expectations, and virtual employees can complete their work can be more project based. This tends to create more responsibility for the projects each employee is working on.

3. Team collaboration

Although completely possible online, this is where a brick and mortar office shines best. Managers understand how important it is to make face to face interactions with their staff. It allows them to build stronger relationships and they can easily brainstorm solutions. However, with advances in technology and access to resources like video conferencing and such, a virtual workstation is effective in communicating with staff from halfway across the globe.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are located in Orlando, Denver, or Washington DC, a traditional office is great for entrepreneurs who want to build customer trust and better relationships with staff. However, if you want to save on operational expenses, are running a business that doesn’t require constant interaction, or like the option to work from wherever you are, opting for a virtual workstation could be a perfect solution for you. Which of the two office settings work best for your business? Share your thoughts in the comments!


About CloudVO ™

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service ™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 500 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Freelancing in America & GWA’s Role

This post reflects the results from a survey conducted by Edelman Berland of over 7,000 U.S. workforce members on Freelancing in America, whose Result Desk was published on October 1, 2015, and the need to corral the voice of coworking providers via the Global Workspace Association.

Here are some of the salient data from the survey, with meaningful implications for the coworking industry.

breakdownoffreelancers
Source: Edelman Berland Freelancing in America Survey, Oct 1, 2015
  • 34% of workforce are freelancers, or 53.7 million people
  • This represents a growth of 1.3% from prior year, which is remarkable – in the past, the number of freelancers would decrease in upswings of an economic cycle as people returned to “stable” jobs in large companies. The fact that this has not been the case in this particular cycle points to individual lifestyle choices, which corroborates the results of the poll.
  • 60% of freelancers indeed said they started more by choice versus necessity, up 7% from the previous year. Youngest and oldest generations are most likely to start freelancing by choice, driven by flexibility and freedom.
  • The majority of freelancers who left traditional employment earn more now, with 3 in 4 earning more within 1 year.
  • Technology is making it easer for freelancers to find work online. 51% had obtained a project online.
  • 50% said they would not quite freelancing for any traditional job.
  • 3 in 4 non-freelancers said they are open to doing additional work outside their primary jobs.

Worth noting is that all of the increase came from the “Diversified Workers”, which grew 8% from 2014 to 2015. Diversified workers are made of people from multiple sources of income, including part time jobs at a traditional work and freelancing. They are a growing segment of users we see on CloudVirtualOffices and CloudMeetingRooms.

Not all of the 53.7 million freelancers are candidate-users of coworking space. For example, construction contractors and Uber drivers are not a target marketing for coworking providers. But what this survey means is that the trend towards freelancing is meaningful, durable, and will require some changes in the mindset of political leaders and legislation. The coworking lobby (in the good sense of the word, i.e. be the voice of coworker) needs to become a significant force to evangelize what coworking is, and push for changes in legislations that currently do not factor the benefits of the sharing economy and people’s desire to achieve flexibility in their work. These efforts can be everyone’s responsibility, but also need to be corralled by a trade association like the Global Workspace Association. I know they are working on it. Good luck, Jamie Russo!

When to Charge (or not) for Meeting Rooms?

Update: 2019 Meeting Room White Paper is now available.

One of the key elements of the value proposition of shared office spaces is to provide collaborative space and meeting rooms to their members. This blog post will explore what we believe are the best practices for workspace providers to monetize access to meeting space.

Do Not Charge for Informal Collaborative Space on a Pay-Per-Use Basis

One of the tenets of coworking is to build a closely knit community of professionals that often interact in unplanned ways to maximize serendipity. Although convenience and privacy are more central to the value proposition of serviced offices, community curation is critical to their success as well. Note that in this article, we are using the terms “Serviced Office” and “Business Center” interchangeably.

Semi-private informal meeting spaces in the coworking area and/or by the break room of a business center are very desirable amenities to encourage instantaneous meetings without encroaching on the privacy of other members doing concentrated work.

Trying to monetize this kind of informal space (e.g. comfy couch, chairs, stools, or even meeting tables in open space) on a pay-per-use basis would be an undesirable barrier to accomplishing community bonding goals, not to mention in some cases, life changing serendipitous moments. Access to that kind of space should be part of the privilege of membership. If the space is heavily used, then day pass and virtual office users may be barred access from it, or else be charged a premium for it, as they are only peripherally involved with the community.

However, in general we like to discourage access restrictions to this kind of space, even to visitors, as today’s virtual office or meeting room user may become tomorrow’s full time member. In our experience, few virtual office or “walk in” visitors turn out to be heavy users of that kind of informal collaborative space anyway.

Charge Everyone for Access to Formal Private Meeting Rooms

Some operators include several hours of access to private meeting rooms as part of the privilege of membership. This is especially true for private office users whose monthly rent or membership fees are considerably higher than the virtual office or coworking passes.

Five to ten years ago, it was a common practice for serviced office space operators to think that the primary function of the meeting room was to serve full time office clients. Many provided a generous package of free access to the meeting rooms, 16 hours per month and sometimes more.

That practice is disappearing, and most operators are monetizing their day offices and meeting rooms aggressively. They learned that the contribution of a healthy meeting room business can be very significant to their business model both financially and also in terms of filling the pipeline of future full time members.

CloudVO Meeting Room Utilization by Type of Users
CloudVO Meeting Room Utilization by Type of Users

We believe that the best practice for operators is to offer no more than 4 hours of free access to formal meeting rooms as part of a full time user package. Many provide no free hours at all but offer meaningful discounts to full time members as a privilege of membership (e.g. 10-25%). Regus provides full time clients with free access to meeting rooms that is a function of how much money the clients spend every month. This typically accounts for just 1 or 2 free hours of a medium size meeting room. Pacific Workplaces (based in Northern California, with 15 locations) offer 4 hours of free access to their standard full time office members, a 50% reduction from what they provided less than 5 years ago and a 75% reduction from 10 years ago.

This trend towards charging for usage of private meeting room while not charging for the usage of informal meeting space makes sense when realizing that the ‘utility’ associated with a formal professional meeting is typically significantly higher than the ‘utility’ associated with informal meeting space. Another way to say this is that there is so much invested in a formal meeting that gathers 5, 6 or more people, in terms of everyone’s opportunity cost to be in the meeting, that the cost of the actual meeting space becomes a small % of the collective investment made to attend the meeting.

Think of a sales pitch or a fund raising pitch to busy third parties that cannot afford to be encumbered by technology glitches or a beer bust breaking out in the middle of the meeting.

Hence it makes sense for the operator to reflect that value in how he or she charges for the space, and to get a significant ROI on that meeting room space investment.

The space charged on a pay-per-use basis needs to be private, professional, with plenty of bandwidth, wireless access, and standard presentation equipment (flat screen with Apple TV or HDMI cable). That, along with the dedication of the meeting room space, is an expensive investment by the operator. The good news is, with the proper plan, that space should be the most profitable line of business for the operator as shown in the Expected Revenue Graph per meeting room size we explained in a a recent webinar on meeting room pricing.

Potential Revenue per Meeting Room Type - US Average
Potential Revenue per Room Type – US Average

Provide Meeting Room Choices

In that same webinar, we highlighted the importance of having several meeting rooms of different sizes in your inventory (1 or 2 day offices, 1 or 2 medium size rooms and one large room as a minimum). We touched on regional differences. We also explained how distributors, resellers, and other partners can quickly help develop a meeting room business with new, unique visitors, generating very high revenue per square foot and desirable traffic to also feed new memberships. Please refer to the webinar and to the associated White Paper on meeting room pricing and check our Resource Center with other similar goodies for operators.

Bundle Plans

Monetization of meeting room can come in several ways, including charging hourly rates, with or without discounts, deploying an e-commerce platform on your web site to enable real time booking of meeting rooms and charging user credit cards, leveraging partners like CloudMeetingRooms.com to expand your marketing reach, but also by providing well thought out bundles of meeting room hours.

Bundles should always be priced as a function of expected usage, in a statistical sense, based on data analysis of your pool of meeting room users. Hours should expire every month. If the operator follows these two principles well, the bundles can be priced at very attractive levels, and with minimum advertising, the meeting room revenue will increase quickly.

If you are starting your operation, use the CloudVO data as a meaningful starting point. For example, our experience of the average use of a 16-hour bundle (with no carry over of unused hours) is 3.9 hours/month when the bundle is an add-on to an existing package (e.g. Mail plan or Full time user); and 6.9 when it is a stand alone package. Price your bundles accordingly, not as if everyone were going to use all their hours. They don’t, and the light users typically more than pay for the occasional heavy user. Most people end up consuming fewer hours than they initially projected. This is particularly true if you package a 16-hour bundle with a 3-month minimum contract, which we recommend.

Upload your center information on our CloudVO portal, and we will automatically populate our e-commerce sites, CloudVirtualOffice.com and CloudMeetingRooms.com, with your offering. Join LinkedIn Workspace-as-a-Service ™ group for more data driven discussions on our industry.


About CloudVO ™
CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service ™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudMeetingRooms.com and CloudVirtualOffice.com e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 500 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Significance of Jamie Russo’s Appointment as Leader of GWA

Jamie Russo, better than anyone, can build an Association that is commensurate with the growing importance our industry represents.

Image of Jamie Russo, newly appointed GWA President
Jame Russo

Last week, the Global Workspace Association (GWA) appointed Jamie Russo as its new Executive Director. This marks a tipping point for our Workspace-as-a-Service trade association for 5 main reasons.

Continue reading “Significance of Jamie Russo’s Appointment as Leader of GWA”

HappyDesk Powers Pacific Workplaces and Boosts CloudTouchdown ™ Real Time Capabilities

Press Release | For Immediate Release


Boca Raton, Florida, September 09, 2014

HappyDesk, the only complete enterprise software solution for shared spaces with features including e-commerce, billing, CRM, and automated proposals and CloudVO ™, the manager of the CloudTouchdown ™ network and a global provider of virtual office solutions and touchdown space for mobile workers, announce today that Pacific Workplaces, an operator of on-demand workplaces with 15 locations in California, is using the CloudTouchdown-enabled HappyDesk platform for e-commerce and meeting room reservations.

“We are pleased that Pacific Workplaces is able to utilize HappyDesk to power its web site e-commerce capabilities and real time booking of meeting rooms,” said Dorthy Bright, President and cofounder of HappyDesk. It is yet another HappyDesk endorsement by a quality player in the Workspace-as-a-Service industry.”

“I am delighted with the performance of the HappyDesk platform,” said Scott Chambers, COO of Pacific Workplaces. “We are selling quite a few Virtual Offices online on our web site thanks to the HappyDesk white site, which is great. But I am especially pleased with the HappyDesk meeting room booking features, which make our calendar accessible real time to CloudTouchdown ™ and CloudMeetingrooms.com users, while keeping us in control of our clients.”

Laurent Dhollande, CEO of CloudVO ™ added: “This announcement speaks to the HappyDesk technology leadership in our industry. They have already achieved state-of-the-art functionality with a plug & play platform that is easy for operators to use and to embed into their own web site. I particularly appreciate that they are deploying significant resources for making HappyDesk fully compatible with the CloudTouchdown ™ program. The combination of independent Workspace-as-a-Service ™ operators + HappyDesk + CloudTouchdown ™ is now a potent combination.”

# # # # #

About HappyDesk
Happy Desk LogoHappyDesk‘s Sharing-space-as-a-service (Saas) software platform was created with a singular purpose – to transform the way shared spaces are sold, accessed and serviced. Space providers leverage HappyDesk’s white label e-commerce, CRM, billing, proposal, door access and marketplace to increase engagement. The result: providers enjoy satisfied clients, increased revenue and reduced administrative time and cost. Seekers rely on HappyDesk because of the endless amount of shared space options they can search and reserve. With hundreds of providers across four continents, direct engagement between provider and end-user has never been so easy or transparent.


About CloudVO ™
CloudVO LogoCloudVO ™ is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp, headquartered in Palo Alto, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office and meeting room solutions to mobile workers and telecommuters under a Workplace-as-a-Service ™ model. CloudVO ™ operates the CloudTouchdown ™ network that grant preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at 450 locations worldwide for distributed workers under a pay-per-need model.


About Pacific Workplaces
Pacific Workplaces LogoPacific Workplaces (Pac: for short) are great places to work, with a wide range of part-time and full-time furnished office spaces including virtual offices, private offices, and mini-suites, in a shared infrastructure environment, with curated communities that maximize networking opportunities and serendipity. Members have access to meeting rooms, coworking areas, business lounges, VoIP telephony, unified messaging, answering services, IT support, admin support, and an online legal library, under a pay-per-need hosted model [pac] refers to as Workplace-as-a-Service ™. All [pac] centers are operated by PBC Management LLC.


CONTACT:
Kim Seipel
CloudVO
(415) 230-5300
Kim@CloudVO.com
www.CloudVO.com