To facilitate understanding of the new needs and requirements of workplaces of today, Longitude, a Financial Times company, conducted a survey for a leading quality of life service provider in February 2021. 300 key decision makers and influencers were the chosen respondents; they were working as senior HR, operations, procurement and food, facilities executives in large corporations, based in six countries of Canada, China, France, India, UK and US. Several interesting trends emerged from the survey.
New employee needs
Health and wellbeing turned out to have assumed maximum importance over the last 12 months with 96% of decision makers in India affirming this. 96% of respondents in India also felt that access to healthy food options in the workplace has gained in importance. 85% felt that access to healthy food options at home was more important too. These figures clearly emphasize the fact that employees are much more concerned now about safety, good health, physical and mental wellbeing as well as nutritious food, both at home and in the workplace too.
Barriers to improved employee experience
Technology (to access information remotely), budget and lack of collaboration are the three main barriers to improving employee experience, said the leaders. 31% of respondents in India felt that inflexible legacy technologies and tools were the biggest barriers to improving employee experience while 22% were of the opinion that outdated workplace design was to be blamed. Thus, there is a need for extensive technology integration at the workplace to ensure that employee experience can be enhanced.
New workplace requirements
Virtual and flexible spaces will become more important workplace elements in the future, as expressed by the respondents. 82% of decision makers in India felt that collaborative workplaces like co-working zones will be really important when a widespread return to physical workspaces becomes possible in the post-pandemic era. 80% expressed that employees will certainly look forward to food and catering facilities like workplace restaurants too being made available to them. Thus, employees will expect more flexibility in working; they can operate either from the workplace or remotely from home or any co-working space, with proper food facilities being available to them in all these options.
Future approach to employee experience
Mental wellbeing and freedom to experiment with new working practices are the two main areas of employee experience that organizations have in mind for the future. 95% of respondents in India believed that their role equipped them to lend a unique perspective to future transformation plans; and that their employees expected them to invest more in policies that supported mental wellbeing. Employees are thus increasingly accepting that their productivity is directly proportional to their mental wellbeing.
COVID impact on real estate
The leaders expect that workplaces will need to provide an equal mix of experiences in the next 12 months’ time. While the decision-makers believed that their place of work would continue to provide similar collaborative, sustainable, and inspiring experiences in 12 months’ time as in the pre-pandemic era; there would be a drop-in inclusive, engaging, and productive experiences at the workplace in 12 months’ time as compared to the pre-pandemic era.
Clearly, as these trends depict, there will be a visible change in the workplace landscape in a year’s time. The pandemic has forced the organisations and employees to change the concept of workplace, to rethink and re-evaluate the needs at the workplace, to reimagine new possibilities in enhancing employee experience; and there will be no going back.
Sodexo Onsite Services India, a leading service provider of food and facilities management solutions that impact the Quality of Life of clients and its employees. With 100+ service offerings, a robust QHSE framework, and a sustainable business model, Sodexo is touching the lives of over a million consumers daily in the Auto & Ancillary, Pharmaceutical & FMCG, IT & ITES, Industrial & Infrastructure, and Diversified business segments; Oil & Gas; Healthcare and Schools & Universities.