Fully engaged employees are creative and energised, and make vital contributions to their organisation. But many businesses are still failing to adjust to a changing landscape where home and work have become more tightly integrated than ever before.

Leesman’s Workplace Experience Revolution report revealed that more than 40% of employees do not believe their workplace enables them to work productively. While another survey found that 61% of people are burned out on the job. 

These figures represent a disconnect between the traditional workplace experience and the human needs of the modern employee. It’s what the Office for National Statistics refers to as UK’s ‘productivity puzzle’. Everyone is working hard, but productivity isn’t keeping pace

It’s clear that we need to find ways to promote wellbeing, while maximising work output. 

For employers, this means creating frictionless, flexible environments that provide emotional and practical support networks to drive positive human impact, both inside and outside of the workplace. In the work-life blend era, employees now actively seek workplaces that literally work for them and one solution to the puzzle is workplace concierge services.

Workplace concierge services are the answer to a culture of distraction

Whether it’s a boiler on the blink, a warning light on the car, or train tickets to be booked, the to-do list never ends when it comes to ‘life admin’. It interferes with the working day, leaving nearly 3 out of 4 workers feeling distracted when they're on the job. 

As part of its employee-focused workplace solutions, Sodexo is promoting concierge services as part of the solution to this culture of distraction and productivity loss.


“The reality is most people stay switched on throughout the evening,” says Michael Fildes, Managing Director at corporate concierge service Circles. “They’ll flick through work emails before they go to bed to see what’s going to be waiting for them the next day. The work-life balance is now a work-life blend.” 

People in nearly 70% of organisations told CIPD they have observed ‘leavism’ - colleagues using annual leave to catch up on work. While ADP’s The Workforce View in Europe 2019 reveals the average employee works 4 hours and 47 minutes unpaid overtime each week. The result is exhausted teams that are less effective and less engaged.

Concierge services offer businesses a new way to unlock wellbeing and productivity. They give employees back invaluable time and enable them to choose which tasks they want to devote their time and energy to, and which they’d rather not deal with themselves. 

Nearly 3 out of 4 workers say they feel distracted on the job.

Udemy, 2018 Workplace Distraction Report 

Michael believes this type of support will prove crucial in fostering long-term success. 

“It’s about building an environment where people appreciate what you’re doing for them. Whether a new starter, or a single parent of two, that network is always there to make life easier for them. we’re giving everyone an extra set of hands, which on average equates to 2 hours and 55 minutes time saving for every interaction.”
 
“Everyone is fighting for the best talent. If you’re able to say ‘we’re going to look after you inside work, and outside of work’, that’s a powerful message.”

Meet Personal Needs to Create Emotional Impact 

The beauty of a corporate concierge service is that it’s so flexible, employees can make what they want of it. 

“A workplace concierge can make restaurant reservations, book gym classes, advise on holiday itineraries, find a tradesman, and even source and order a child’s birthday gift. The possibilities are endless,” Michael continues. 

“Everyone needs, and wants, more time. It’s a commodity that will never cease to be relevant. The main objective for concierge is to make more of this invaluable resource available to our members - effectively we’re time traders! We enable our members to prioritise and focus on what matters to them most.”

Michael Fildes, Managing Director at Circles UK and Ireland

He gives the example of a father who sees his children every fortnight: 

“He felt his productivity suffer and his stress levels rise on the Friday before each visit, because he was thinking about his plans and how to give his children a memorable experience every time. So he started speaking to the Circles team for advice on things to do and places to go. They had information on various events and activities taking place in the city, and gave him lists of options so he could choose the things he knew his children would enjoy.”
 
Utilising Circles’ technology and insights, the team is able to make proactive and personalised recommendations, letting him know what’s coming up and what his children would like, which helps him create lasting memories. 


While all generations benefit from the solutions to support their own lifestyles, it’s having a significant emotional impact on younger generations who are able to lean on Circles to support care-giving duties. 

Michael references the example of Millennial and Gen Z workers who use the services not only for their own leisure experiences, but also to help them look after their parents. 

“From researching computer problems to finding reputable local mechanics, a concierge service is not necessarily limited to the employees themselves. When you’re also helping to improve the quality of life of the people closest to them, their family, you’re absolutely going to make the employees’ time at work easier and build stronger connections in the process. These are the things that have the biggest emotional impact.” 

Developing an enticing employer brand

Businesses are turning to Circles to differentiate themselves from the competition, by demonstrating a deep commitment to their employees. 
 
A concierge service not only sets businesses apart in their talent acquisition efforts, but also helps build a community spirit from the beginning. In today’s ‘experience economy’ people expect a different standard of treatment and a great first impression, and a seamless transition helps reinforce the feeling that they chose the right employer. 

One-third of people know within the first week whether they will stay with a company long-term, so first impressions and the onboarding process are key.

Offering advice on the local area such as help with parking and the best places to eat contribute in those first few days, but beyond that businesses are promoting wellbeing of staff by providing support for every ‘distraction’ that might come their way.

“For employers looking to attract the best teams available, Circles plays a vital role in recruitment and retainment. It demonstrates that an employer is serious about supporting and nurturing their team. It really resonates with employees.” Michael says. 

The primary benefit for users of the service is that they save time, and Michael believes the firm is reaping the benefits.
 
“Time is the one thing we want and need the most,” he says. “And it works both ways. For the employer, providing time allows people to contribute more, because they’re spending less time on life admin or the to-do list. For the employee, it’s time they can use to recharge, take a lunch break, look after their health and wellbeing, or enjoy their favourite hobbies.” 


Give productivity a helping hand

As the workplace experience evolves, the key for employers of choice will be to help their people maximise the time they have available. Not excluding personal issues from the workplace, but providing the support needed to prioritise the things that matter most to them.

And, with ACAS figures showing it costs an average of £30,000 to replace an employee, factoring in the lost productivity while a new recruit gets up to speed, the loyalty fostered by genuine emotional connection is more valuable than ever. 

Workplace concierge services can improve employee wellbeing, boost talent acquisition and retention, and invigorate business performance. While the concept may sound too good to be true, the benefits are too great to ignore.

To find out more about how Sodexo can improve work and transform workplace experience for your business, click here to contact us.

August 20, 2019

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