According to StatsCan over 1.8 million self-employed Canadians work from their home. Renting or leasing an office space for a finite amount of time is often cost prohibitive for entrepreneurs or small teams that work remotely. At the same time these entrepreneurs often need a physical space to host meetings, create a productive routine, or simply have their mail delivered. In steps virtual offices, shared work spaces, or desk rental services available to business owners.
Because of the new importance of these spaces to the business community I spent a day working away from my office at the Chamber and set up shop at Intelligent Office Waterloo, located right in the heart of Uptown Waterloo. What I discovered was a multi-purpose office environment that could be molded to your needs as a professional.
Before starting my day at a rented desk I was under the impression that the majority of professionals using virtual offices or rented desks were startups and independent financial advisors. This was partially true, but it was more than that. When I exited the elevator I was greeted by a large reception area and two friendly receptionists smiling at me.
The first thing that hit me was that the space had no signage, which I immediately thought was genius. By having no definitive signage there is less of a chance that your meeting guests will be confused as to whether they’re in the right place or not. Being my first time working at Intelligent Office I checked in at reception and they took me on a quick tour of the whole office and then led me to my booked office. As you can see from the pictures below the office was clean with modern decorating.
My first course of action after setting up my computer was getting coffee. Most shared/rented work spaces have a cafeteria or kitchen with complimentary coffee, tea, and water, which is another excellent perk. It’s nice to pop into the kitchen and see a pot of coffee already made.
Something I realized early on is that when it comes to virtual or rented offices, you’re not just paying for the space like you would if you leased office space in the traditional sense. With virtual office you’re paying for everything that comes with it like refreshments, high speed internet, reception team, mailing address, and modern office amenities without paying out of pocket for these added expenses.
Trying a Scheduled Meeting
To truly establish what it feels like to work in a virtual office I scheduled a couple meetings there. Instead of meeting in a coffee shop or some other neutral place, I thought it would be better to see how responsive reception was and how my meeting guests reacted to the process. I could have rented a boardroom for larger meetings up to 20 people or so, but I only needed the spacious office I booked originally.
Each of my meeting guests arrived without a problem and I was called promptly upon their check-in at reception. Before I could even come out each guest had either coffee or water that was provided by the reception staff. It certainly added to the feel of positivity and legitimacy to the virtual office. The ability to seamlessly meet clients is huge.
Scalability is also pretty important for entrepreneurs. You don’t want to pay for what you’re not going to utilize to its fullest. Virtual and rented offices offer a great deal of flexibility. If you only need a desk or office for two days, you have the option. If you’re coming into Waterloo Region on a series of sales calls and don’t want to meet at a coffee shop, you can rent a desk or boardroom for a day. The options are endless regardless of your job or industry.
If you’re feeling stuck in your home office, looking for a more professional looking space, in need of virtual receptionist, or simply an open boardroom, I highly recommend taking a tour of Intelligent Office Waterloo, Quadriga Business Centre, or Regus Business Centre. Each office centre is unique and caters to professionals and businesses in a different way. Go find out how they can meet your specific needs.