Many businesses no longer need to have a physical office location. Whether you like it or not, remote work is here to stay. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend, forcing nearly many of us to work remotely. This has driven many organizations to re-evaluate the use of offices moving forward. For example, Shopify, Twitter, and Facebook have all announced a permanent move of allowing remote workers, and many others have moved to remote-only.
If you’re starting a company, you might not need an office in the first place.
But without a physical office location, what happens to your mail? You could use your home address for precious business documents, but that means sharing your personal information with Internet strangers. Many opt for a PO box, but PO boxes tie you down to a physical location. You want the freedom to run your business from anywhere.
That’s where virtual mailboxes come in. Virtual mailboxes allow you to have a business address without having to rent an office.
In this guide, we’ll go over how virtual mailboxes work, how to get one and share five of the top virtual mailbox services to pick from.
What is a virtual mailbox?
A virtual mailbox is a physical mailbox at a remote location that receives and stores your mail and packages. Virtual mailbox locations can be post offices, mailbox stores, or flexible co-working spaces in office buildings. The mail is uploaded and can be digitally accessed at any time.
How a virtual mailbox works
Through a virtual mailbox, you can digitize your mail operations. So instead of using your physical mailing address, you use a mailing address provided by a virtual mailbox service. Instead of having to open all the mail yourself and read through it, you can have it uploaded for you.
Read your mail from any device
Virtual mailbox services securely upload your mail and you can access it from any device. Whether it’s your phone, computer, or tablet, your mail is available to view 24/7.
Get a real mailing address & physical location
Virtual mailboxes are real street addresses. One of the benefits of having a virtual mailbox is that it also gives you a business address that you can use for documents, billing purposes, and general business inquiries. You can list the virtual business address on your website as well to make your business look more legitimate.
Manage your mail from any device
With a virtual mailbox, you can also choose what to do with your mail. For each piece of mail, you can decide whether to have it forwarded to your real address, shredded for security purposes, or archived for record-keeping purposes. Some virtual mailbox services even let you decide what to do with certain types of mail.
For example, loan offers can be annoying if your business has funding or doesn’t need extra capital anytime soon. You can choose to automatically shred all loan offers.
Who uses virtual mailboxes?
Virtual mailboxes are popular among startups, small businesses, and remote-first companies. Here’s how they’re used by specific types of businesses.
Startups & small businesses
If you’ve given up your physical office or coworking space membership, a virtual mailbox can handle all mail operations for you. This way, you and your employees can continue to work remotely while your mail is securely processed and made digitally available.
As more businesses embrace the remote-first culture, most functions of the office will be replaced with virtual, on-demand services. Mail is one of them. With a virtual mailbox, you can work anywhere in the world without having to worry about not being able to access your mail.
If you move around a lot, changing your address will be a nightmare. And having to set up mail forwarding for each new location is a hassle. With a virtual mailbox, you can have your mail sent to one permanent location while you access it from the comfort of your phone.
Four steps to get a virtual mailbox
Virtual mailboxes are easier to set up than you think. Getting started will take a few minutes.
1. Pick a virtual mailbox service
My Mailbox Services Ltd is the only business in Northern Ireland offering a true digital mailbox experience for its customers, based in Newry, Co Down at a prestigious centrally located business address.
2. Choose a service plan
Like with most subscription services, you’ll have a handful of monthly plans to choose from. Most services charge based on the number of mail items scanned. So choose accordingly. You can always upgrade or downgrade.
3. Select your permanent business address
Choose the address you want your mail sent to. It will be considered a “virtual business address” so you can post it on your website and use it on your documents.
4. Update your address
That’s it! Now you have to update the address used on file for any existing credit cards, applications, legal documents, and more.