Over the past 18 months, workers have reflected on their pre-COVID work patterns and concluded that they don’t want to sit at an office desk day after day, when they can do roughly the same work from home. The realisation that the office is no longer somewhere you have to go but somewhere you should want to be, means that the idea of the workplace as a destination has gained traction.
While facilities management is aimed at delivering an optimum occupant experience, when it comes to guest services this is traditionally been geared towards visitors, rather than employees. But given the fact that employees may need to wooed back into the workplace, this oversight, argues Bianca Angelico Director at On Verve is where things need to change.
Angelico heads the new front of house specialist On Verve from soft service providers Churchill Group, moving over from her role as Director of Guest Services at Amulet Security. She has honed her knowledge and experiences of working in a variety of guest services roles, which began with a stint working for a global conference provider. It was here she first gained some insights into the ways other countries and cultures approach the employee and guest experience.
“Travelling to Australia, Germany, Singapore and the US was a useful exposure to what’s happening [in the workplace] globally. I saw some phenomenal workplaces, for instance in Australia I got to visit the NAB (National Australia Bank) office in Melbourne, one of the first corporates that allowed clients to make use of the space to work in, which was unheard of then.
“They’d also transformed their guest services, moving away from the long reception desk to the use of podiums – which meant it was ok [for reception] to leave the desk, as there was someone else on another podium who was able to offer support, rather than that very long ‘blockage’ you get with traditional receptions.”
She then moved to software experts Condeco where she gained an appreciation of the power of workplace tech and then onto Sodexo where she eventually took the role of Guest Services Transformation Manager for Corporate Services.
After working across a number of sectors, including insurance and legal, as well as running a range of London boutique sites offering guest services, hospitality, security and hard FM, “Churchill came knocking on my door, and they’ve given me this awesome opportunity to set up and lead a guest services division, with a blank canvas to make my mark.”
As people begin to return to the workplace, guest services play a key role in reassuring both staff and visitors that they are entering a safe and welcoming environment. On Verve, which means vigour and spirit, sits alongside Churchill’s other facilities management services, such as security, catering and housekeeping, to offer either an integrated or standalone service. Ultimately though, On Verve has the core message of being ‘makers of someone’s day’ and argues Angelico, brings a fresh approach to the market.
“The reason I created On Verve was that I saw there was a gap, and there was an opportunity to bring something fresh and modern. It is not about creating a so-called hotel experience where everyone tries to translate it to offering a five-star service. I’d say, ‘what does that actually mean?’ as for me it’s more about creating energy and enthusiasm in the workplace.”
The concept is that On Verve ‘DayMakers’ serve both employees and guests, with the aim of making their experiences positive ones. Staff are fully immersed in their environments to ensure they are fully in-tune with occupants and guests, offering a personalised experience down to the smallest details. The DayMakers deliver a range of employee and guest services that include workplace and community management, event management, meeting room management, AV, help desks, concierge services, receptions and switchboard.