The way that people work has gone through a profound shift since the start of this decade. We used to be expected to show up at the office for a set number of hours every day of the week, give or take some flexibility based on your personal situation. When we were given the opportunity to work remotely, many of our friends and colleagues sought to upgrade their home office or took the opportunity to move their home to more idyllic surroundings which led to inflated property prices. Now some companies like Amazon are requiring employees to return to the office, and others are talking about people taking advantage of remote work to slack off, so how do you balance running your business in the new normal?
Live where you want
Near the start of 2020, one of our coworkers packed up her apartment and moved to Spain and is now living her best life. For entrepreneurs and business owners, you are your own boss. If your work doesn’t require you to be in a certain place, and you can access the resources you need to be able to run your company, live wherever you want. End of story.
Not all Virtual Offices are equal
A virtual office or “virtuellt kontor” in Swedish sounds a bit like an imaginary workplace where your customers meet using VR in the metaverse, but picking the right one could be the key to greater freedom. The most basic virtual office provides a commercial address where you can register your company and have your mail delivered. Some service providers offer to digitise your mail and send it to you via email as an additional service that is provided on request. If you’re willing to pay through the nose, some go as far as to offer telephone services so that your customers can call your “virtual office” and a customer service representative will answer the phone on your behalf.
Digital mail forwarding
At Impact Hub Stockholm, we gave founders the option to have their mail scanned to their email way back in 2017 so entrepreneurs wouldn’t have to take time out of their busy schedule to travel to the office to pick up post that could turn out to be a mundane marketing letter. Now digital mail scanning and junk mail filtering is incorporated into our offer for those who don’t also have a coworking plan with us.
Forwarding mail hardcopies
Strangely enough, during the start of Covid-19, the standard offer in Stockholm was still a physical mailbox where customers would have to pick up their mail in person. While for us, the one change that we made after speaking to our customers and seeing how things were changing for them, was to offer physical mail forwarding. A few of our customers had moved abroad with their families so we began to forward their hardcopies to them for bookkeeping. Others we found, spent the majority of their time traveling or living outside of Stockholm and preferred to pop in and pick up their hardcopies whenever they were in town.
Office access when you need it
There are times when it might be advantageous for you to be able to access an office. For example, if your clients or partners want to visit you in person and your apartment won’t cut it as a meeting place, or the local coffee shop doesn’t provide enough privacy for the conversation you want to have. We are visited by a VP every now and then whose internet at home isn’t fast or stable enough to be able to have important conversations over Zoom. One team pops in every few months to get some colour printing done for their food startup, and we are seeing an increasing demand for meeting rooms and event space from companies and organisations that just want to bring their team somewhere different.
Are you looking for a virtual office?
Until the end of June 2022, we’re offering one month free for all new customers who sign up for our 12-month Virtual Office plan. We’ll scan your mail to you immediately on arrival and can accept deliveries on your behalf. We also give you a discount on our competitively priced and professional meeting rooms (starting from 200 SEK / hour, excl. VAT). If you need an office while you’re in Stockholm, you can book your coworking day with us to access this hidden gem that’s been a finalist in Sveriges Snyggaste Kontor and voted Best Coworking Space in Stockholm by members for 2 years in a row. Dark-roasted coffee is on the house, and we are just a 2-minute walk from Hötorget and Östermalm tunnelbana. Sign up here using the code FREEDOM to access this temporary offer from Sweden’s one and only climate positive coworking space.
Cathy Xiao Chen is the Head of Operations at Impact Hub Stockholm. With a passion for supporting social impact, she advises and connects changemakers with collaborators to maximize impact.