Virtual Offices vs Physical Offices: Understanding the Differences [+Benefits]

Physical offices in Dublin to compare against virtual offices
In this article

Why choose virtual offices?

Are you thinking of choosing a virtual office? You’re in good company.

Virtual offices are a smart choice for businesses looking to save money while keeping a professional image.  They reduce common overheads like rent, utility bills, and office maintenance.

And since the pandemic, more professionals are choosing virtual offices than ever. In Ireland alone, 59% of workers engage in hybrid work and 38% operate fully remotely. As more people work remotely, virtual offices are becoming a convenient choice for business operations.

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about virtual offices to help you decide if it’s right for you—from definitions to how they compare to physical spaces, to their benefits, drawbacks, and regulations in Ireland.

What is a virtual office?

A virtual office provides a business with a physical address and office-related services without a physical office space. 

Virtual offices are suitable for professionals who want a presence in Ireland without the overheads of physical office space. That includes startups, entrepreneurs, enterprises, freelancers, remote workers, digital nomads, and company directors.

How do virtual offices work?

Virtual offices in Ireland work by offering different functions and services designed to support business operations effectively:

  • Real Irish street address: Your business gets a credible, professional address in a reputable area, which can be used for official documents and maintaining a professional business image.
  • Post handling: Services include daily or weekly forwarding of your post, mail scanning to email, and use of the address for registered documents.
  • Irish landline number: You receive a local telephone number, which helps establish a local presence.
  • Call handling by trained receptionists: Irish-based receptionists manage your calls and forward your messages. It provides a professional front for your business while keeping you in the loop about all important correspondence. 
  • Customised packages: Some virtual office providers will offer a custom combination of virtual office services depending on your business needs.

Virtual offices vs physical offices

Deciding between a virtual and a physical office boils down to your business needs regarding costs, facilities, and how you operate day-to-day.


Virtual offices are a wallet-friendly choice. They cut out the hefty expenses of renting a space, utility bills, and office furnishing. 

On the flip side, physical offices come with all these costs but provide a dedicated space that might be worth the investment for some businesses.


If you opt for a virtual office, you’ll get a professional address and post-handling services without the actual space. 

However, physical offices offer a permanent home for your business with the opportunity to brand your workspace and foster a stronger sense of teamwork among employees.

Operational logistics

Virtual offices support remote work, which widens your talent pool and fits a more flexible work model. 

Physical offices, however, simplify certain tasks like supervision and immediate team collaboration, which is suitable for businesses that thrive on in-person interactions.

When is it better to choose a physical office? 

Not all businesses can or should go virtual. If your business requires frequent face-to-face interactions with clients, houses sensitive information, or you’re in an industry regulated to operate from a designated space, a physical office is likely a necessity.

Key takeaways

  • A virtual office provides a physical mailing address and office-related services without a dedicated physical workspace.
  • The popularity of virtual offices has grown thanks to the rise of remote work and better technology like videoconferencing and messaging.
  • Virtual offices have lower costs than physical offices, making them an attractive option for all kinds of professionals and businesses.
  • Virtual offices broaden employment possibilities, allowing businesses to hire from a wider talent pool and offering employees the flexibility to work from various locations.

Virtual offices vs home address

If you’re working independently or freelancing, you might wonder if using your home address for business is a good idea. There are a few things to consider:


A virtual office in a respectable location boosts your brand’s credibility, making a strong impression on clients and partners. 


Using your home address can blur the lines between personal and professional life. A virtual office keeps your private life private, stopping your home address from being linked to your business dealings.

Business image

Virtual office services like receptionists give a more polished and professional impression than a home address. It shows that your business is properly set up and established.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of virtual offices?

The appeal of a virtual office lies largely in its cost-effectiveness. With none of the maintenance, upkeep costs, or staffing requirements typical of physical offices, virtual offices like those offered by Dublin Mail Drop provide a more affordable solution. 

Starting at just €29 per month, these setups offer the flexibility of month-to-month leases, allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changes without the burden of a fixed lease.

However, there are drawbacks too. Virtual offices aren’t for everyone. For example, businesses that require in-person work, or work that requires frequent and direct personal communication, might find virtual offices limiting. Additionally, virtual offices are less suitable for businesses in industries with strict data security and compliance regulations.

Regulatory considerations in Ireland

There are a few things to consider before setting up your business with a virtual office provider in Ireland:

  • Before you set up your business, consider taxation rules
    Stay aware of tax laws, especially if your team is in multiple locations. These laws determine where taxes should be paid and can get tricky if employees work from different countries.
  • Choose a virtual office provider authorised to do business in Ireland
    Make sure your virtual office provider is properly licensed. In Ireland, providers must be approved by the Department of Justice and Equality. This involves a detailed application and a thorough check to ensure they meet all requirements.

    Choosing a licensed provider makes sure your virtual office is not only professional but also legally sound. This gives you peace of mind that your business operations are fully above board. Luckily, Dublin Mail Drop has this license, meaning we comply with all necessary regulations.

If you want to set up a virtual office in Ireland for your business, consider choosing a Dublin Mail Drop package –– we’re the leading provider of Irish virtual offices for over 12 years. 

View our virtual office packages