Yesterday morning EP hosted a lunch at AVEQIA with Sodexo discussing current trends in food service.
During the lunch meeting, the argument was made that many organisations find it challenging to improve their food service offer, yet with change happening in society and the way we work, companies need to think about how to improve the wellbeing of today’s employees and those of tomorrow.
With the advacement in technology, longer working hours and larger amounts of information to be processed, ensuring the mental and physical health of employees and creating social spaces for them to interact has never been more important.
Today communication is free and easy and yet it is arguably harder than ever for leaders and business to communicate their message as there is so much “noise”.
Innovation through digital technology, products and social media are in fact creating barriers to communication so there is a need to go back to the core, reconnect people and support the development of relationships.
Here some facts:
- One in two people in the US and the UK will be freelance by 2020 (BBC News).
- Digitalisation will be at its peak: by 2022 world’s first fully automated and robot-served hotel will open (The Future of Work, PWC)
- 47% of jobs in the US and around 35% of those in the UK are at risk of being automated in the next 10 to 20 years (Oxford Brookes, 2013)
At the same time, organisations will have to balance the needs and requirements of different generations. Generations with different ways of communication and doing business have then an opportunity to connect using food as a catalyst to nurture those relationships.
As a result, everyone agreed on the need to redesign, “old canteen”, the restaurants and the workspaces so they become more than just dining spaces. By making food important again, restaurants and dining spaces can become active social hubs that improve productivity and communication. By opening restaurants for larger hours, extending food offers considering the needs and patterns of employees will not only improve wellbeing but also have a positive commercial impact for companies.
Food service can set a benchmark for a companies values and beliefs and can help develop a model that is commercially viable for both today’s environment and for the future
During the lunch, Martin Boden, MD of Sodexo, also shared some insights of their recent research around Knowledge Workers. Some of the findings touched upon the need for organisations to create an engagement piece based on which service providers and employers should work in partnership to focus on consumer needs and stakeholder management. Another critical element of their research was around the need to optimise the workspace design in order to improve productivity.
According to Sodexo’s research 67% of those surveyed declared to have left their previous role because their workplace was not optimised for work.
Both research and the discussion during the event confirmed that although many organisations have a strong intention to improve the service, they are often challenged by people at the top level. Organisations face further tough decisions such as deciding on whether to invest in dining spaces or replace with desk space. As a consequence, people can be less productive, less happy and they leave.
In a very interactive and engaging discussion, it was concluded that change has to start from the top in order to facilitate a cultural shift that makes organisations more productive and creates happier employees. The way we all work is changing so it is time for decision makers to be part of that change.
If you would like to learn more about the event or to discuss further, please contact Lauran.firstname.lastname@example.org