Our current offices reflect the culture of LeasePlan
This year LeasePlan is celebrating its 50th birthday, the ideal moment to look back at the evolution of our offices. Because of the company’s rapid growth, there are quite a few of them. We searched and found two employees who have been part of LeasePlan from the very beginning. In 1982, Patrick Vandevelde and Erik Vannitsen walked into the office on the Woluwelaan. That is where their careers started 40 years ago. From offices with ashtrays to home offices with online meetings: in this blog they explain how their workplace has changed over the years.
- 1972: opening first office Avenue de Tervuren in Brussels (5 employees)
- 1979: opening office Woluwelaan in Vilvoorde (25 employees)
- 1985: opening office Excelsiorlaan in Zaventem (60 employees)
- 1986: opening LeasePlan rent office on Weiveldlaan in Zaventem
- 1986: opening of LeasePlan Antwerp (first on Noorderlaan, then Uitbreidingstraat)
- 1989: expansion of the Zaventem office with winter garden
- 1991: opening of LeasePlan Boortmeerbeek with hub for Keddy Car & Truck – smaller branches in Deerlijk, Dilbeek, Liège, Kortrijk, Wavre and Aartselaar
- 2019: opening of the current office in Diegem (Telecomlaan 9)
Ashtrays, calculators and paper
“The very first office? This was a small apartment on Avenue de Tervuren. The cars were parked in the surrounding streets. LeasePlan was still in its early stages. The office on the Woluwelaan was also small but pleasant.” Patrick and Erik talk with nostalgia about the first years of their careers. “When we arrived in the building, we used the elevator to go to the second floor. Behind the doors, Chantal was waiting for us at the reception desk”, says Patrick. There was not much luxury but the colleagues had everything they needed. “Only the management had a separate office. Our desks were part of an open space. We had nothing more than a table, a chair and some paper. Everything was done manually. Quotations were sent by Telex and post.” Erik adds, laughing: “Don’t forget the ashtrays! There used to be one on every desk. Fortunately, we don’t have that anymore.”
It did not take long before the offices became too small. LeasePlan grew to a team of 60 employees. In 1985, the office opened on Excelsiorlaan in Zaventem and soon a second branch was added on Weiveldlaan. “Our growth was incredible: not just in the number of employees, but also in cars. We needed more and more space to store our cars. We also felt that customers needed regional contact, so it became LeasePlan’s vision to be closer to those customers. First there was the opening of the office in Antwerp, and then various small branches were gradually added all over Belgium. We went from 3,000 to more than 10,000 cars a year. Of course, we could not park those cars in the surrounding streets anymore.”
Feeling at home
LeasePlan’s growth continued steadily. In addition to the rental activities, leasing became particularly popular. “We had become well-known, popular and omnipresent. Business came to us directly, so the local contact faded into the background.” The answer to this rapid growth was a central hub in Boortmeerbeek (1991) from where the rental fleet vehicles were dispatched. In the large parking lot, end of contract vehicles were stored. Until 2019, the headquarters remained in Zaventem. Then the company moved one last time. Final stop: the current office in Diegem.
When we ask colleagues if they feel at home in the office, the answer is clear. “LeasePlan has always paid a lot of attention to the quality of the environment: beautiful offices, well-equipped meeting rooms … Enabling good and pleasant work was high on the agenda. The employees were always involved. Before moving to our current office, we could choose between three different buildings. It feels good that our opinion is valued.” The office in Diegem reflects that open culture. The building is modern and open, with lots of light. “On each floor there is the possibility to drink coffee and catch up. In this way, all teams are connected.” As part of the electric strategy, the office is also equipped with 37 charging stations. Patrick and Erik conclude: “We work in comfort and have everything we need. We look forward to going back to the office without worries.”