Proximity takes precedence

BDO opens NWoW office in the heart of Brussels

Lion De Clerck, Copywriter BDO Marketing & Communication

At the beginning of July, we opened a new office on Stassartstraat in the centre of Brussels. Not just an office, but a pleasant place to work and meet, easily accessible by public transport, stylishly decorated with attention to the new way of working (NWoW) and the well-being of our employees and clients. ‘Stassart’ – as people like to call it – is a new link in our office network through which we cover the entire country, close to the client.

Adapted to the new way of working

The new office is a friendly meeting place for our clients and colleagues, and at the same time is set up to allow us to work in a focused way. In the centre of the capital and yet easy to reach by public transport. Forget the idea that offices have to be located along approach roads or in a business park. “Stassart was designed during the first and second coronavirus waves, and makes the most of the changed mindsets of employers and employees about the new way of working (NWoW),” says Stephan Vandewiele, Operations and Facilities Director at BDO Belgium. “We’ve noticed that younger employees in particular like to go shopping or grab a bite to eat with colleagues during lunchtime or after working hours. With this office, we offer that extra experience between and after working hours.”

“The working environment as a meeting place and the location of the company are crucial assets in the war for talent.”

Stephan Vandewiele, Operations en Facilities Director BDO Belgium

Room for creativity and productivity

You will no longer find purely open-plan offices at BDO in Brussels. Many employees namely become distracted too quickly and find it difficult to concentrate in open spaces with separate workstations. As you enter, the octagonal table at the centre of the room immediately catches the eye. Tailor-made, it can accommodate just as many workstations. If you need to brainstorm, you can do so in a separate, enclosed space where you can even ‘write’ on the walls. So no more flipcharts. On the 1,000 m² floor space, two alcoves with long work tables have also been created. Employees can use them whenever they want.

Sustainable and pleasant

One of the decisive factors in choosing the centre of Brussels is accessibility by public transport. Both a metro stop and Brussels Central station are within walking distance. There is no private parking for cars. In this way, we discourage car use in the city, which fits in perfectly with our sustainability policy (see the cover article ‘From ego to eco’ in our previous issue of To The Point) . If you come by bicycle or scooter, you can park it safely in the bicycle shed. Mobility solutions are therefore an asset. Stephan: “The new generation(s) of employees looking for a job are increasingly attaching importance to the values and standards conveyed by the potential employer. Sustainability, in the broadest sense of the word – weighs heavily in their choice. Just as the atmosphere of the working environment as a meeting place and the location of the company in a lively and bustling city environment have become crucial assets in the war for talent.”

According to Stephan, the central location near the atmospheric Guldenvlieslaan, where there is always something to experience, is an additional asset. “Try to find a cosy place in a business park where you can still have a drink or chat with colleagues after your working day or have a drink with a client. Everything is so close that you can easily go shopping for an hour at lunchtime. In short, with the new location, we are breaking with an office concept that is less in line with the new way of living and working in 2022.”

Three birds with one stone

If we open new offices in the future, we will focus more on smaller but well-distributed offices. The new Antwerp-North office (formerly Beirens and Wellens) that was integrated into our BDO Group in April 2021 was a first, clear step in this direction. The new BDO office – which does not require you to go through the Kennedy Tunnel – is an asset for “employer branding” and will act as a kind of hub or beacon to attract clients and employees from the surrounding region. The location of the office near the port of Antwerp thus fits perfectly into the development of a finely-meshed, flexible network and BDO’s proximity vision. Stephan: “We want to avoid commuting for distant colleagues and long journeys for clients. That’s why we are aiming for a radius of about 25 to 40 kilometres for colleagues and clients to come to the office. That way we all save time, promote human contact and reduce our ecological footprint.”