Office workers find a virtual reality

The economic downturn is turning many small enterprises onto the global trend of virtual offices.

William Willems, vice president of Regus in Southeast Asia, said there was a huge increase in demand for virtual offices in Vietnam, with an increase of more than 50 per cent year-on-year.

“This is being driven by companies who want more flexibility - thanks to technology they can work anywhere. This means that companies like small- and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups can combine a virtual office as a base for their business, while working on the road or from home,” Willems said.

He added that according to International Data Corporation - a premier global provider of market intelligence, there would be over 750 million mobile workers in Asia by 2013 and many of these would have virtual offices.

“They can use facilities on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis - so they can rent meeting rooms by the hour, or even have our customer service team work on their projects for a few hours or more. Most importantly, all the costs are broken down so tenants only pay for what they need whenever they need it,” he added.

“Many international companies enjoy the flexible office space and grow their business until they move into their own conventional office space. However, as I have mentioned above, it is also a great way for a start-up or entrepreneur to begin business,” he added.

In Vietnam, virtual office services appeared in 2006 when Regus opened its office in Hanoi. In 2007 the first domestic virtual office supplier was born with the name G-Office. Up to now, more than 30 different companies operate in Vietnam, such as PSO, Fimexco and S-Office. With rents from $50 to $120 per month, tenants will be offered professional services of a completed office. This rent was equal to 20 per cent compared to the normal office expenses.

Bich Ngoc (