Home / hybrid working / Human connection is missing link to building a future-proof workplace

Human connection is missing link to building a future-proof workplace

UK employees still prefer remote working and are more cost-conscious than ever, according to Sodexo’s new Work Experience Tracker research.

The research conducted in collaboration with YouGov, revealed that out of the 3,000 respondents in the UK one in five were dealing with poor mental and physical health, 20 per cent are quiet quitters and 23 per cent stated they wanted to quit.

These issues are likely to impact business performance and business leaders need to reflect on the causes and take action to improve employee experience, says Sodexo.

A big question for many employers in 2023 still remains ‘how do we bring people back to the office?’ Sodexo’s research reveals the top reasons which would help draw workers back in, with synergy between people, space and sustainability core to building a future-proof workplace, driving business performance and employee experience.

Two thirds of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their current working pattern. Fifty-eight per cent continue to work a hybrid pattern, however 36 per cent stated they would come into the office more to connect with other people.

This is corroborated in the 71 per cent of those questioned stating the greatest satisfaction in their workplace experience was from team spirit and collaboration. Thirty-six per cent said they would like the opportunity to socialise, a similar number (35 per cent) noted that they would like to be offered free or subsidised commuting, and 23 per cent said the same about food.

Julie Ennis, CEO Corporate Services, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “Interestingly the tracker research shows us that 43 per cent of workers are only somewhat satisfied with their workplace experience. This is a risk for employers as these workers could move to become quiet quitters, but why is this group being overlooked? The question we need to ask ourselves is what piece of the puzzle are we missing?”

The survey also found that of the 20 per cent of respondents who appear to be quiet quitters – those who say they will stay in their job and do the bare minimum – 43 per cent of them work a hybrid pattern and the greatest proportion (38 per cent) are boomers.

With the research revealing differing preferences for quiet spaces or lively, creative and collaborative environments, Sodexo states it is “essential” that business leaders adopt a balanced approach factoring in wellbeing when looking at remote and in-person work and avoid adopting a one-size-fits-all approach when developing their workplace strategies.

The YouGov findings were also validated by Sodexo’s own observations through sensor data at its London head office which shows the consistent motivation for workers going into the office is about seeing their work colleagues.

Ennis commented: “Before the pandemic, we were already witnessing a shift in the nature of workplaces and the need to be future ready. To help businesses adapt, we developed Vital Spaces – a strategic approach to transforming workplaces and preparing for changing futures.

“Using Vital Spaces we redefined our London head office during the pandemic. Early surveys hinted at a new trend for the office to become a social hub, a place for health and wellbeing and a crucible for culture. Using data sensors from the office we are seeing this trend come to life with people gravitating towards the collaborative areas rather than the traditional workspaces.”

The final cornerstone for building a future-proof workplace is sustainability. Sodexo’s Work Experience Tracker examined the drivers around employment choices and found that 78 per cent of those surveyed find sustainability personally important and half of respondents expecting their employer to act responsibly. Specifically, responsible energy use, waste management and reduction of plastic usages at workplace are the top three expectations from employees.

At a recent virtual summit held by Sodexo Corporate Services, Ennis and special guest renowned futurist Anne Lise Kjaer discussed the research and what factors business leaders need to consider to future-proof their workplaces

Kjaer is CEO and founder of Kjaer Global which has been providing businesses and governmental institutions with insights to drive new models for innovation for three decades. She shared her predictions to simplify the complex trends of future, business and innovation, and her thoughts on tomorrow’s future-proof organisations being those that realise the future is now and which are adopting an approach which factors in people, planet, purpose alongside profit.

Ennis concluded: “This latest research and the insights discussed at our recent virtual summit with Anne Lise lay clear that a future-proofed workplace centres on a human-centric approach with the interplay of people, space, and sustainability at the core. The future of work is about adapting to these pillars and proactively evolving with them.”

Sodexo has taken the results of its Work Experience Tracker and produced a report which can be downloaded here: https://sodexouki.info/WorkplaceExp2023



About Sarah OBeirne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *