SPONSORED CONTENT: Over the last few months we’ve seen huge disruption in workplaces and workplace services, as office workers have swapped their desks for kitchen tables and home offices. Adrian Evans, Food Transformation Director at Sodexo UK and Ireland explains the impact the latest government advice has on the catering industry.
We need to embrace the reality that workforces are more dispersed than ever and are likely to remain so. Whilst most desk-based workers are working from home, many of our clients, for example in R&D and manufacturing, still have employees on site.
We’ve therefore had to quickly adapt our services, both to manage reduced capacity in offices, but also to deliver Covid-safe catering and retail in those environments. A great example is at a large pharma site at which we quickly switched to a ‘grab and go’ food delivery model to feed 4,000 staff after closing staff restaurants in response to the Covid-19 lockdown.
At the same time, we’re also looking at some big changes in food service and hospitality, driven by consumer adoption of technology. Who would have thought a year ago that we would now be routinely ordering food and drinks in pubs and restaurants via apps?
Everything we are seeing in the consumer world will have an impact in the way we work in business settings. Technology has an important role to play, not only in providing convenience, but also to support consumers to feel safe and comfortable.
Consumer insight is playing a vital role in helping us adapt our workplace services and deliver against the needs of more fluid work/home lifestyles.
Research we carried out with Harris Interactive revealed that of those who are working from home, a reality now for many for the next few months at least, around two thirds would like their employers to consider making available a food delivery service for lunch and snacks (65%) or a good quality coffee delivery (64%).
75% stated that food delivery for live virtual employee meetings would help keep them engaged and motivated when working remotely. In many markets Sodexo is starting to bridge the gap between workplace food and home food by offering at-home meal delivery linked into employee benefit apps.
A lot of people think technology is just about click-and-collect and wave-and-pay, but it's more than that. By using this insight and providing sophisticated solutions in response to the new normal we are able to help businesses differentiate themselves in the future as an employer of choice.
We recently forged a new partnership with food technology expert Dynamify to support the implementation of digital retail and hospitality solutions for our clients. A new Sodexo app, powered by Dynamify, will enable employees to buy from their workplace restaurant and retail outlets, or to access delivered-in options at the touch of a button, as well as ordering hospitality for meetings.
This ability will come from apps on personal devices, which provide real-time information about how many people are in a space. These apps will also provide allergen and nutritional information at a glance, improving efficiency and the overall experience.
We are looking at other forms of technology for delivery too. For those in a workplace, collection mechanisms like hot and cold locker facilities are being considered so people could order through their app and we’ll deliver to those spaces. At their allocated delivery time, they can simply use their phone as a contactless ID to unlock the locker.
We continue to develop our food services to adapt to the changing and differing needs of our clients and customers, whether they are working from home or the workplace. Find out more about how we are supporting our clients here.