The year 2022 for HUONE was much about ‘rebuilding’ and anticipating what’s to come. It was a year full of anticipation and optimism, however, it did not lack challenges; waves of sick leaves, global inflation, and a high level of uncertainty. Many companies had to reset how we work in the new normal, and HUONE was no exception. Looking into the new year 2023, however, with the record sales months behind, Evon, founder of HUONE, is confident HUONE’s growth story will continue.
The year reminds me of the aftermath of fire; you are first devastated by the fire, but then after a while, you have to let it take its course. Then once it’s finally over, you start assessing the damage, picking things up, and setting a new course again–like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
I believe it was a year of finding new ways of working together in the ‘New Normal’ for all of us. Flexible work arrangements challenged traditional relationships with employees and employers, not to mention the world now facing a wide range of crises.
HUONE 2022 in numbers*
- The year 2022 is HUONE’s 10th anniversary!
- In 2022, we’ve hosted: 59286 guests (147% of last year’s)
- In 2022, we’ve hosted: 4142 meetings/events (155% of last year’s)
- Top 3 Most organized event types: workshops, training, and internal team meetings
*Global numbers combined from HUONE Singapore, HUONE Helsinki, and HUONE Copenhagen
‘New Normal’ for me are…
- the question: “Are you working from home or coming to the city?”
- The fact that it is more ‘human’ when we meet
- Conversations about working space & meeting space, and the new level of attention to the meeting experience
The question: “Are you working from home or coming to the city?” is the new normal for me
Before the pandemic and remote work, when I had a meeting outside of my team, the question was “your office or my office?” Nowadays, the most asked question is “are you working from home or coming to the office?” It is a sign that the hybrid way of working has really settled into our working lives. (Of course Singapore, it is a little bit different due to a different cultural aspect)
It’s more ‘human’ when we meet
Another thing I notice is that people are more ‘human,’ which means they are more present and caring. They really want to treasure the time being together, get more done efficiently, and be engaged. If you imagine having a meeting with 5 team members virtually, you could have an agenda, and items to go through, and there won’t be any casual ‘checking in’ so to say, because you don’t want to waste others’ time. However, it’s very different when people are back meeting face-to-face, that’s what I mean by meetings being more ‘human’
The distinction between working space & meeting space
I hear more and more people discussing the distinction between the working space and the meeting space. Also about the meaning of an office, working environment, and different types of meetings. This attention to the meeting experience is a very positive trend I see, and I feel finally many are joining me in the same discussion– how do we have better meetings? Especially when it comes to in-person ‘meetings,’ you want to go to a different place, plan it properly, and do it right.
Highlights and Challenges
House was finally full again! The best moment for me in 2022 was when I started seeing HUONE’s house full again. There is again a buzz in the venue. There is an instant upbeat energy for our clients as well when they are in the environment. However, the recovery pace for the business meetings and events was not as fast as I had hoped. Globally, we were hit by waves of sick leaves one after another, and not to mention, the global macroeconomic situation with inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine add another layer of uncertainty. Sometimes I feel frustrated for not being able to plan longer term, however, I know I’m not alone in this challenge as many leaders are going through the same.
Vision for 2023
I’m looking forward to being ‘strong’ again as a company and as Evon.
What I mean by it is this: no matter how strong I wanted to be the last couple of years, I was always answering the question, “How are you holding up?” or ‘How are you managing?’ Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate every single person who approached, cared, and was sympathetic. BUT I’m done playing the victim with the pandemic and personally, with cancer. The year 2023 feels like it could start with a clean slate again. I’d like to lead my team in the front strong and to make sure they are all winners, proud to be working together for this amazing story we are creating.
So, back to the growth story– what HUONE set out to do 10 years ago.
In the last year’s letter, I poured out both my frustrations and gratefulness about all the events that had unfolded; I stressed the importance of having trusted people around you, and the importance of transparency in communication. That hasn’t changed. As cliché as it sounds, most importantly I would like to thank my team. The best reward as a leader and the proudest achievement of managing the crisis in 2022 was to see my team members stepping up and growing as a person.
It is so easy to celebrate success, but to me, it is as important to celebrate learnings from failures and challenges. – Evon Blomstedt