Virtual Office

In the past, it might have been impossible to imagine working without having to go to the office, or having a one-room office and not having any employees at all. Nowadays, we could have all of these if we make use of the serviced office or with certain equipment – “virtual office.” This is one of the miracles that technology promises. With this type of office,an executive can be more mobile because his or her virtual office is well-taken care off.

” With virtual office, a CEO or any employees could work from anywhere” said Goenawam Loekito, marketing manager of PT SAP Indonesia. Basically, serviced office or virtual office is a service that provides instant office complete with secretarial services, telephone connection, fax and other services. Using this service, the tenants do feel owning their own offices.

After a company or a group becomes the tenant of a serviced company provider, they will be given a certain telephone number which is different from other tenants. Therefore, that telephone number can be listed on their business card.

The company name of the group can also be input into a specific software so that when there is an incoming call for them, the name of the company will be displayed on the console together with the contact person and the telephone numbers to be contacted

With this indication, the operator can answer the incoming call with the name of the company as displayed on the console and will contact the person needed. If that person cannot be reached or not willing to answer , the call will be entered into voice mail. The tenants can also access voice mail from wherever they want and whenever they want to. So if there is an important message from a client, they could follow up immediately, explained Jenny Tjendana , Director of Sales and Marketing of CEO Suite, a company that handles this business.

Basically, the service of office business is divided into two: physical office, also known as serviced office and virtual office. From business point of view, serviced office is the main business and virtual office is an side business. However, usually, every serviced office provider also has a virtual business office.

Physical office or serviced office as named, is a physical office, only minimally equipped. An office provided by the serviced office operator consists only of a office that is not very large, but equipped with furniture, telephone network, internet, even office assistance and cleaning service. The user of this type of office is usually an office that has relatively few employees or an representative office from companies that are based overseas

The second service is virtual office. With virtual office, the physical element of office is not necessary anymore. If simply put, this is using the telephone number and the address of the serviced office provider. This second type is usually used by company or people that live in remote areas. Their aim to have a virtual office is to make it easier when they are having a meeting or any business deal with their clients.

By using virtual office, they only have to order a place for meeting. After that, everything is provided by the service operator. Other than that, serviced office operator company is usually located in the easily accessible business district. “On the other hand, it will be difficult for them to make any deal in their far away and hard to access office”, said Jenny.

The other purpose is to upgrade prestige. If they use the address and the virtual office telephone number and to have a meeting in that venue, their clients will consider them as credible and prestigious.
The business of serviced office overseas has developed fast. From several serviced office operators, there are several top names.

PT CEO SUITE, the serviced-operator founded in 1997, has 2 locations in Jakarta and one in Kuala Lumpur. Even in surveying the right location, they specifically consulted Feng Shui experts from Hong Kong. ” We believe that by using Feng Shui , our tenant’s business will prosper,” told Jenny Tjendana , the Director of Sales and Marketing of CEO Suite.

Currently, CEO SUITE provides serviced office that is well-integrated, from e-mail to SMS, fax, voice-mail and others. They also provide various services such as video conference. For technology matters, CEO does not cooperate with any specific vendor but develop its own technology.

Bright Prospect

Serviced office and virtual office business could face a bright future in Indonesia. This is proven in the occupancy rate which exceeds 60 % for each company of serviced office provider. JACSO for instance, at the beginning of this year has the occupancy rate of 87%. From the 40 existing rooms, there are only five rooms that are unoccupied.

Similarly, CEO Suite also has a very satisfactory rate of occupancy. At Jakarta Stock Exchange building, the occupancy rate is 80% while at GKBI, the occupancy rate is almost 100%.

Contrarily, Viera Djawahir admitted to the decreasing occupancy rate at Executive Center this year compared to the previous year that could reach 100%. However, Viera was convinced that the future of this business was quite promising.

Indra also commented on the same thing. He said that even though the Indonesian economy was facing a downturn, there would be plenty who would use this type of service. Jenny was also optimistic that serviced office business has a high selling point. ” As a prove, we could open two branches at the same time in Jakarta and one in Kuala Lumpur,” she said. She added that this business would keep growing whether the economical situation was good or bad. If the economical situation in Indonesia is bad, there would be many companies that would down-size and cut down their expenses for office space as low as possible. If the Indonesian economy is good, there would be many foreign investors who would come and open their representative offices in Indonesia. Most of the representative offices will use the service of serviced-offices. Therefore, the serviced office can help the government in catching foreign investors. “Apart from that, also to help small, middle size companies and downsizing companies,” said Jenny.

Contrarily, Akino W. Azzaro, the provider of internet marketing www.ikonsel.com also sees the fresh breeze for the future business of serviced office business. He also sees the large profit margin. However, according to him, what needed to be done is to change the mind set of Indonesian society that still thinks conventionally. Other than that, credibility factor is also a crucial point especially in the virtual office business.

According to the observer of TI, Mas Wigrantoro Roes Setyadi, originally, the user of services office are foreign companies that will enter Indonesia before they operate or get a permanent office space. However, according to him, with the devalued Rupiah, there is a possibility, that they will change to renting a house that can also function as an office because of lower fees.

He also said that the profit margin of the serviced office business at present is not too significant, about 10% – 12 % and the biggest expense is the rental space and human resources. This business, he considered, would have difficulty to be as big as it used to be before the monetary crisis. “Before the monetary crisis, there was always an over demand, the opposite of today’s over supply,” revealed Mas Wigrantoro.

Mar 25, 2013

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