Article by Michael Bouwens
CEO & Founder bij bouwens&
With the end of the year in sight, I want to take a moment to reflect on 2022 and on everything that we achieved together. After a slow first quarter, bouwens& shifted gears and grew with an amazing near 20%.
Today’s corporate landscape: changed for good
In January 2022 we saw government corona measures slowly being dialled back. Eventually, the last restrictions were lifted in March. Since then, corona has been playing a secondary role in our lives.
However, the corporate landscape changed for good. Hybrid working is here to stay, but finding the right balance between working at home and at the office is turning out to be more complicated than we all thought. Demanding work and blurred lines between work and personal life make leisure time and a focus on health more important than ever.
Working from home remains the top choice for employees. People spend less time at the office than expected. The office is transforming into a place where people meet, connect, work together, find inspiration, and build relationships.
Where are we going?
So, the office is becoming a meeting place. This means that companies now see the wow-factor become more and more important in their buildings. I expect next year to be about transcending expectations in a ‘quality environment’. That’s how we will help employers bring their people back to the office.
With hybrid working as a new constant, organisations will require less square meters on the long run. During the pandemic there was abundant speculation on reducing office capacity, but for now substantial cutbacks remain rare. This could mean that reduction is to be expected in 2023.
What are we bringing?
This last year (and 20 years of entrepreneurship) has taught us that our organisation has the ability to move in the direction of our clients’ challenges. If they wish to scale up or down, we make it happen. If they thrive, we thrive, and vice versa. This flexibility goes without saying, it’s a fundamental condition for our daily operation. The large number of contract renewals in 2022 I think clearly shows their appreciation of this mind-set. I see these as proof of the powerful partnerships we build with our clients.
Technology for the right insights
At bouwens& we fully embraced technology as a part of our services. Our privately developed platform Arrived@ is enjoying a growing interest from third parties. The insights into the requirements and desires of users we gain from this technological aid allows us to surpass expectations. Here as well, we are ambitious! We want to know what the guests need, before they realize it themselves. For this purpose, Arrived@ lets us identify valuable patterns, without compromising people’s privacy.
Since January of this year bouwens& grew with double digits; almost 20%! This success is merely a reflection of the confidence of new and existing clients in our company. But this results would never have been possible without so many engaged and passionate professionals on the work floor; you!!
We’re keeping this focus and momentum in 2023 as we’ll welcome a number of valuable new clients. We can’t mention any names yet, but we’ll be adding a leading financial institution and a global staffing agency to our roster. Impressive partners, who we’d never have been able to welcome without your efforts.
In the fall we presented multiple new services, such as Integrated Facility Management (IFM), Concierge & Lifestyle Services, and Business Support. These additions help clients create an adequate response to the ever changing labour market and the shifting balance between remote and office work.
In December we took another important step. By incorporating Receptel, market leader in hospitality and reception services in Belgium, we are now a leading party in the Benelux.
All these recent developments show that we are the designated hospitality partner for companies and organisations that want to outsource their facility services. Due to our unique ‘Armonia Life’ corporate culture, that focuses on customer satisfaction, excellent service, and the human touch, clients know that they can count on us.
2023 marks our 20-year anniversary. I started alone, in my student room, with not much more than an idea. I never imagined we’d get this far! But this does not in any way mean we are ready to take it easy and sit back. We’ve only just begun and we still have a lot of work ahead of us. I see so many ways to do better and so many opportunities to grow.
A sincere thank you!
I want to end by saying “thank you!” to all of you, out there on the floor and in our Emmaplein headquarters. I fully realize that our success is to be attributed largely to your dedication. And I also realize that your (and my) family members at times have to make compromises due to the demanding and sometimes unpredictable nature of our work. I am so proud of what we’ve achieved together so far. And because I know that we’re shooting for the stars, I confidently welcome 2023. Bring it on!
Again, I want to thank you personally for your efforts and commitment of this year! I hope you and your family spend the holidays in good health, in harmony, and surrounded by love. Rest, enjoy, and recharge! In 2023 we will continue conquering the world, the Benelux are merely our warm-up laps!
I look forward to meeting you personally in the new year, at our clients, in the office, or elsewhere.
Photo: The Slufter on Texel is a place I love to visit. A unique area in open connection with the North Sea. The area consists of a creek system that is sometimes flooded after a storm. You will find a wealth of plants, birdlife and marine animals such as crabs and shrimps. In summer, flowers colour the whole area purple.