A virtual office is part of the flexible workspace industry that provides businesses with any combination of services, space and/or technology, without those businesses bearing the capital expenses of owning or leasing a traditional office.
Virtual office services started in the 1960s as serviced offices and have evolved with technology to include a wide variety of personnel, physical space, digital storage and communication services. Customers pay a contract fee for these services which may be offered à la carte, as packages or membership subscription. The concept is popular with companies of all sizes, including self-employed entrepreneurs. One of the primary allures of the virtual office is the flexibility it offers for employees and freelancers to work from a satellite office, home office, remote location or even on-the-go via a mobile device. At the same time, a company can offer its clients and employees a stable home office with access to amenities such as receptionist, conference rooms, desk space, mailboxes, printing and faxing at a permanent address, which are owned and maintained by the virtual office provider or a third party. Virtual office providers may also include digital capital such as cloud storage, web hosting, email and other web-based applications.