This post was originally published on May 7, 2018 and updated on July 9, 2019.
Virtual mail services are not new—business centers have offered them for years. Virtual mail is, however, an increasingly common offering in coworking spaces as demand for more professional amenities grows in the shared workspace industry.
Virtual mail use is great for digital nomads and business travelers, but it’s also a smart move for businesses interested in increasing efficiencies and creating time-saving systems for repeating tasks. Simply, it is just a more efficient way to handle mail.
In a nutshell, virtual mailbox services receive and process mail for clients. Unlike a traditional P.O. box, which is a place to receive mail, virtual mailbox services include a number of other offerings and can be a valuable add-on for small business owners, independent professionals, freelancers and coworking space members, whether full-time, part-time, or virtual office members. Here are seven reasons to use a virtual mail service instead of a P.O. box.
1. Establish a professional business address with a virtual mailbox
Having a street address for your business signals a level of success greater than that expressed by simply having a P.O. box. A business address implies stability. It can also strengthen your brand and help you establish yourself in the local business ecosystem.
2. A virtual mailbox gives you a business address in any city
Virtual mail services allow you to have a business address anywhere in the country, or even the world. Unlike a P.O. box, which requires you to be present to pick up mail, virtual mail services will sort, hold or forward your mail to wherever you are. This way, you can have a San Francisco digital mailbox, or a business address in places like New York City, London, England, to smaller suburban areas like Sacramento, California.
3. Get mail alerts and notifications with a virtual mail service
The beauty of virtual mail service is that you don’t have to be present to pick up your mail. You’ll be alerted when you receive mail and can decide what to do with it remotely.
Increasingly, virtual mail is less about mail collection, and more about what happens after your mail is delivered. It has evolved into a business efficiency tool that streamlines actionables and eliminates unnecessary or time-wasting tasks. For instance, a quality virtual mail service offers the following:
- Notifications, via email or a virtual mailbox app, about each piece of mail received
- Choose which pieces of mail you want opened
- Choose which pieces of mail you want digitally scanned and sent to you
- Choose which pieces of mail to shred so you don’t have to bother with junk mail
Some digital mailbox services can integrate with apps such as Evernote and Dropbox, which makes for even more efficient storing and organizing of your mail. With Pacific Workplaces, whether you’re using virtual mailbox services in San Jose, California, Reno, Nevada, Santa Cruz, California or anywhere else, mail alerts and notifications can keep you up-to-date with your incoming mail.
4. Mange your mail with one click
As detailed above, once you receive an alert that you’ve received mail, you can have it forwarded, opened, scanned or shredded with the click of a button. This way, you can quickly and easily stay on top of the mail you receive from wherever you may be.
5. Additional virtual office services
Your virtual mail service may include additional virtual office offerings. For instance, Pacific Workplaces Virtual Office Plans offer the following:
- live phone answering
- call forwarding
- access to workspace
- private offices
- meeting rooms
- day offices
- open coworking
6. Access to a professional network beyond virtual mail services
A P.O. box is simply a box at the post office for your mail. Virtual mail in a coworking space or shared workspace, however, offers access to a professional network of people. These professionals work in the space, gather for events and meetings, share resources and even collaborate on projects.
In a shared workspace, you may start out as a virtual mail member, but you have the option to grow into more offerings as you expand your business. The in-house networks in Pacific Workplace locations are full of independent professionals, freelancers, remote workers and small business owners. These communities form supportive professional networks that offer many of the skills and services you need to grow your business.
Many Pacific Workplaces members take advantage of virtual mail and virtual office offerings, as well as participating in the rich networks that grow when professionals of all types share workspace.
7. Customize your Virtual Mail Plan
As with coworking and virtual offices, there’s no single virtual mail plan that is right for every business. Workspace operators like Pacific Workplaces along with brands powered by ‘Pac’ like NextSpace and Enerspace Coworking, make it easy for members to add-on services to create a virtual mail and virtual office plan that’s right for you and your company.
A virtual mailbox, virtual office or coworking membership can help take your business to the next level. Pacific Workplaces is a leader in the shared workspace industry, offering shared offices in 17 locations, including San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento. Find a Pacific Workplaces location near you.
Written by Cat Johnson, a content strategist and coworking member at NextSpace Santa Cruz.