Employees increasingly expect to have personal deliveries sent to the workplace. But they want other concierge-style services too. In a Facilitate and NeoPost/Quadient webinar, we highlighted the challenges and advantages of providing personalised services.
Employees shopping online - and increasing their purchases during peak consumer periods such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the run-up to Christmas - has placed additional burdens on workplace and facilities managers.
But the workplace's capacity for receiving personal deliveries is one aspect of a wider conversation about providing personalised services. Last month, Facilitate hosted a webinar, sponsored by Neopost, which is soon to be known as Quadient, on the changing demands placed on workplace and facilities managers to provide concierge-style services.
Of particular interest, was secure storage - lockers that when filled notify the recipient and provide them with an access PIN - and how this can help to solve the challenge of the increasing number of parcels employees are having delivered to the workplace.
Attracting and retaining staff/students/customers
Organisations want to attract and retain employees and they see the provision of personal services at the workplace as a key means to achieve this. Services include tailoring, dry cleaning, personal deliveries, shoe repairs, haircuts or even takeaways delivered to the desk.
From a university perspective, Lucy Black said the physical education estates is increasingly becoming a key component of a student's decision to study at a particular institution. Indeed, the student-as-a-customer mindset has also shifted the type of services offered and how they're delivered.
Personal delivery challenges
As more parcels arrive on site, few FM teams are suitably staffed or are able to spend more on labour to deal with the increased load. Plus, space is an issue, especially if recipients cannot be found on-site or fail to collect their items.
Cousins said: "We're definitely becoming a personal post office for everything. And the timing that these packages are coming in is being extended as well." The demand is putting strain on storage capabilities, requiring a diversion from the reception to a side entrance.
More parcels can result in longer delays, which can be a problem in some sectors, such as those handling medical supplies, explained Neopost's Senel Sowerby. Security and data privacy are also issues, she said, so secure storage can help to safeguard against any breaches and provides an audit trail of users and access times.
Black pointed out that the university relies on a manual secure-and-sign system for deliveries but noted that automating this process could be beneficial.
'Uberisation' of workplace services
At Lazard, Jason Cousins said they've looked to improve bespoke services such as making calling a cab easier but adopting an app-based provision.
But it's not just taxis that are becoming app-based. Cousins explained that almost every service Lazard is offering is moving towards an app-based system even cleaning and maintenance.
Cousins envisions a near future in which employees can even receive a massage or consult with a doctor or dentist on site, booked through an app.
More generally, there has been a real appetite for personalised services. "There's a whole range of new elements of service you have to include that you just weren't doing two months ago," Cousins said.
For instance, there has been a significant increase in the number of food deliveries. "We're getting 50 food deliveries an evening; we're now thinking how do we keep them warm? So what's our responsibility and how do we put controls in place to do that?" asked Cousins.
- Changing expectations: Employees think of their place of work, not their homes, as a destination for personal deliveries - Sowerby.
- Boost for productivity: Personalised services help to keep employees focused on their work, with less time wasted completing the tasks offsite - Cousins.
- Digital dependence: There's a growing digital dependence (particularly from university students) that is reshaping the way FM services should be delivered. The services themselves may not change but how users can access them needs to - Black.