Luxembourg Business Centre Operator Aims to Overturn Virtual Office Ban

 

Yesterday we told the story of Henri Aronson, veteran business centre operator of the Alliance brand in Luxembourg.

Henri is a long-term advocate of the industry and one of its founding members. Having operated business centres in Luxembourg for 26 years – and counting, 72-year old Henri is constantly seeking new ways to grow his brand as well as that of the wider business centre industry in general.

As part of that ambitious drive, for the past three years Henri has been attempting to overturn Luxembourg’s ban on virtual offices.

“Several local rules have become obsolete, and so now they don’t take into consideration the evolution of technologies and way of life,” he said.

Originally from an IT background, Henri clearly understands and appreciates the power of technology to break down borders and generate new business opportunities. Indeed, the evolution of technology has enabled the business centre industry to develop significantly since its inception, and Henri believes that technology is a crucial part of its ongoing development.

Luxembourg, usually ahead of the curve when it comes to initiating and adopting new business practices, is lagging behind other European countries in that sector.

Virtual office ban

In 1999, the government passed a law requiring all commercial businesses to hold a physical office address in Luxembourg, by way of proving that the firm is legitimate and is financially healthy – in effect, “to prove their substance”.

Unfortunately, the knock-on effect rendered the use of virtual offices illegal.

Henri is seeking to identify a change or exception to this law to enable smaller businesses to benefit from virtual offices or flexible workspace, without the higher financial commitment of renting a physical office. Indeed, many commercial businesses don’t require a physical office at all – and the additional cost of hiring space is hampering their growth. According to Henri, the use of meeting rooms or shared offices is often enough.

Henri believes that the introduction of virtual offices, in the frame of an Association under a Supervisory Authority, will enable more startups to flourish, thereby boosting the business community and local economy.

“Straitjacket”

He also believes that the economic situation could help to achieve positive changes in favor of virtual offices.

But, even if Henri is unsuccessful in that matter, he accepts that in its current form, the law represents an alternative opportunity for business centre operators such as himself.

Indeed, that same law passed in 1999, which forces any commercial company to rent real offices to prove their substance, does bring clients to business centers. Should virtual offices be accepted in Luxembourg, it could create a shift in client demand and market dynamics. But that, in Henri’s view, is an opportunity for the industry to diversify and flourish.

“With the arrival of new practices such as virtual offices, we will have to develop and adopt other appropriate services,” he said. “We cannot act against the evolution.”

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