Belgacom SA

With 5.5 billion euros in revenues and 24,000 employees, Belgacom reigns as Belgium's largest phone company. Though privatized, it's still majority-owned by the Belgium government (50% plus one share).

Home to Belgacom are two 28-story blue reflective glass towers situated a 15-minute walk from Brussels' famous Grand Square in the city center. The lobby area is huge with two receptionists and a security guard manning the reception desk. How huge? Big enough to easily engulf the display of a man standing on the ground with a pulled-open parachute hovering way above him. After checking in with a receptionist I take a seat on one of 16 black chairs. Three flat screen televisions keep visitors occupied or else one can check for emails (like I do) using one of the three computers perched on kiosks. Three flags (Belgium, European Union, Belgacom) are displayed and I note the royal seal of Belgium hanging on the wall near the reception area which essentially means Belgacom has been given the two thumbs-up by the King of Belgium to be the official supplier of telecommunications to the royal family.

Gilberte Geerts, Corporate Communications Coordinator, answers questions and shows me around. Roughly 5,500 employees work in the two towers. Senior management gets reserved parking spots, there are no onsite recreational facilities, meeting rooms are named after famous doctors and smoking in the building is not permitted. There's covered parking for those riding bicycles to work, one of Brussels' main train stations lies just a stone's throw away and there's no formal dress code. Employees eat in the company cafeteria with management enjoying the view and food from the top floor Sky Club. I can't see CEO Didier Bellen's office because "he's in".

In the picture accompanying this story you'll notice near the top of the two buildings a connecting walkway (skywalk). We're crossing the skywalk and stop in the middle as Geerts points out various landmarks in the distance. As she's talking I look down and suddenly get very, very nervous. Why? It's the realization that there's nothing between the ground and me except for a piece glass under my feet. Thankfully Geerts lets me make a beeline to the other side.

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