Workplaces will look very different as businesses adapt to a new era and a new reality. We know working patterns are changing, and that new food models and services can help unlock the potential of people and the spaces they work in. So how are businesses actually delivering these changes?

In one of our previous articles, Julie Ennis, CEO of Corporate Services at Sodexo UK and Ireland, explained why hybrid working is here to stay. Insightfully-developed elastic offices will become the gold standard, because they facilitate meaningful work and collaboration.

The right technology is key to maximising the success of these workplaces because it can ensure a seamless employee experience if deployed well. And enhanced services like innovative food offers create opportunities for connection, making sure the workplace is somewhere people truly want to be.

But realising each of these goals, and balancing them in a way that works for a company and gets the most from its people, takes expertise and commitment.


Designing an elastic office

One of our clients was concerned about providing a safe environment for its employees’ return to the office, while making sure the building was optimised for people to do their best work.

Our starting point was to investigate the site and its usage in depth. To do this properly, our workplace design consultancy, Wx, conducted a deep dive into the user experience for the 4,000 occupants of the 60,000 sq m national head office.

Detailed customer journey mapping allowed the team to identify and develop unique solutions based on how and when the space is used, rather than making ill-informed assumptions.

We deployed over 400 sensors to gather real-time, anonymised occupancy and usage data. Presented through dashboards, this continues to inform the FM team’s priorities and helps users see where space is available, providing the reassurance they need to feel confident and safe.

Occupancy analytics not only helps people adapt to new ways of working, but also prepares real estate teams by providing insight and predictions about future utilisation. Such a data-driven approach has also clearly demonstrated a positive impact, with analysis by Wx revealing that:

  • Cleaning time was reduced by 22%.
  • Space usage was optimised by 37%. 
  • Employee engagement net promoter scores increased by 15%.


workplace of the future“The dashboards allowed us to identify which meeting rooms needed cleaning,” the client told us.

“They also allowed us to manage the ramp up in occupancy and estimate the space requirements as employees gradually returned to the office.”

Now more than ever, organisations need to reflect on the ways in which they can support their employees to be able to work and feel their best and keep teams engaged and productive - but what does this actually mean?

Read our article on Elastic Offices to find out.



Technology that seamlessly supports

Tech-enabled spaces enhance the delivery of a seamless experience, as long as systems are chosen with the users and the purpose of the space in mind. 

Sodexo’s partnership with TSK allows us to deliver that experience as part of our Vital Spaces service.

In the case of one city centre ecommerce company, for example, the design of a new office needed to support productivity, collaboration and innovation. Going further, the firm wanted the space to stand out as something that would help attract top talent.

TSK takes a five-step approach to such projects:

  • Strategy - Understanding the workplace, and the people who will occupy it.
  • Design - Developing concepts that reflect the company’s vision and the way people will work best.
  • Build - Using professional teams for high-end, complex fitouts.
  • Activation - Helping people understand how to get the most from a space.
  • Evolution - Continually adapting and improving as the workplace and the needs of its people change.

This systematic process allowed us to identify several themes around which technology solutions were developed. Themes including ‘team working’, ‘customer centricity’ and ‘rhythm and rituals’ were defined and prioritised to guide decisions on what would help the space perform better.

They led to initiatives and technological advancements such as the introduction of a digital wall that shows employees in real time the impact they are having on customers.

The result for this 23,000 sq ft head office is a new tech hub that is more efficient, collaborative and effective. It is a more intuitive environment, where technology seamlessly supports people so they can excel at the work they do on a day-to-day basis. 


Healthier workplace, happier team

As more companies embrace insightful design and tech-enabled spaces, greater attention is also being paid to how the workplace environment affects human health and wellbeing. 

A healthier environment can be a key differentiator for leading companies in a post-pandemic world, but delivering it successfully requires significant expertise. That’s why a global sports brand worked with Sodexo to develop a space that would reflect its core values of “creativity, communication and collaboration”.

The company was moving to an integrated facilities management model for the first time in an effort to simplify its supply chain and improve the effectiveness of all services. As a leading provider, we had the expertise to ensure a smooth transition. We were able to continue delivering ongoing support, while introducing innovative new solutions.

Convenience was key for the brand’s young employees, particularly when it came to food service, with the average age at various sites ranging from 26 to 32. Apps, easy ordering and fluid experiences are familiar, and usually expected. Especially by the younger generations.

Our Twelve app helped meet and exceed those expectations, offering employees the ability to order ahead with click and collect or scan to pay when choosing their food. The technology underpins our Modern Recipe food service, which was chosen because it combines healthy, interesting meals with a contemporary, vibrant space. 

And this was just one element of the WorkLife Services created for the brand’s four sites through our Vital Spaces workplace ecosystem.


Bring your workplace to life

Return to work guide

Each of these workplace evolutions was possible because Sodexo was able to understand the people who work in each environment and what they want and need.

Realising the full potential of new ways of working requires partners who can acquire and use insight in an actionable way, as well as delivering new solutions and keeping them running efficiently.

Our report, Breathing Space: A new workplace comes to life explores more ways businesses are adapting and bringing their workplaces to life through transformations that will help them succeed in this new era.



Vital Spaces

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November 23, 2021