Companies have a hard decision to make. Cut services and costs but maybe hinder engagement and productivity.

It has been proven that informal face to face time leads to less anxiety and higher productivity.

Foodservice has a leading role to play as business rebuilds.

There have been a number of studies been published which have shown that that is almost a direct correlation between the decline in informal social time and the decline in productivity. The less face to face time employees have with colleagues, the less productive they are.

It is hardly rocket science but many companies have been concerned about the fall in productivity and rise in stress, anxiety and illness. It may well be that the answer is as simple as ensuring that there is a stronger internal focus for people to come together, socialise and talk about problem areas and concerns. It has been estimated that 40% of solutions to problems come from accidental, informal discussions within the workplace.

It is a quiet conversation but many have enjoyed working from home and have found they have more money in their pockets as a result plus less tired from commuting. It is going to take a strong value proposition to re-engage many back into the office for more than 2 days per week.

It is not hard to therefore mark a strong case that a strong food service office is of real benefit to companies. One could pull together a strong argument that rather than looking at food service as a cost, it should be invested in as the more that it can bring together teams and people, the more it can be a vibrant social hub then the more that it can support employee productivity and reduce illness and presenteeism and even retain talent.

It used to be argued that the loss of a middle manager would cost a company 5x their salary in order to replace. The average middle-level salary today lies between £65-80k so to replace that person would cost between £325k to £400k. That is one solitary person. Retain 5 and add in increased productivity, and less sickness and it is not a hard argument to make that companies should be investing in a service level that may well just make a difference.

But there is a stronger argument still.

During Covid, it has well evidenced that many have found new joy and contentment in localism, in communities, in connecting with something that has genuine meaning. It has been well reported that one of the challenges of getting employees back to work is that they have discovered they can work at home, in a place which makes them feel safe and productive and they have no desire to return to the workplace as was. Companies need to find a new way to engage these talents. Creating social and collaborative hubs for socialising, networking, communicating and also bring good service into play can go a long way to rebuilding lost cultures and re-engaging teams.

Of course, companies are under pressure and will be seeking to cut as many costs as is possible. The problem is that costs are unseen on a P&L and are hidden. However, cut services and it may well harm the process of re-engagement.

Companies will need strong cultures and to have positive places of work as they rebuild. There is a strong argument to be made that foodservice has a major role to play. It won’t be an easy argument to make but the facts and the science are there.