June 30, 2020

Creating confidence as you reopen your workplace

Every employer knows that workplaces are much more than places to work. On average, we spend a third of our lives in them and, as a result, they need to fulfil multiple roles.

At their best, workplaces inspire people to thrive, attract great talent and create positive experiences for employees and visitors alike. They also become busy hubs of social interaction, from collaborating on a project to sharing news and discussing home life.

Now, as the world shifts in response to COVID-19, workplaces need to work harder than ever before. In the midst of global uncertainty and unpredictable future events, they need to instil the sense of confidence and assuredness that they have been missing.

Understanding the hierarchy of needs

Designed to codify the elements of human motivation, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs describes the relationship between all the things people need to self-actualise and be all they can be. Physiological needs like food and water become the foundation for safety, which in turn provides a foundation for a sense of belonging, and so on.

Maslow’s hierarchy identified five key needs on the path to self-actualisation:

  • Physiological (air, food, water)
  • Safety (like health and financial security)
  • Social (like friendships and community groups)
  • Esteem (to be valued by others)
  • Self-actualisation (living to your fullest potential)

It’s in the interest of every employer to promote self-actualisation – not just morally, but in order for people to do their best work. But the challenges of our new normal mean that these complex needs all need to be addressed in new ways.

Workplace safety is fundamental

64% of people working from home during the UK lockdown have lost sleep due to worry, according to the Institute for Employment Studies. Many fear for their physical health. To add to that, experts like J.P. Morgan, anticipate a significant financial cost as the global pandemic continues to unfold, adding financial concerns to the list. Sudden shifts in global spending are leading to recession on a global scale, introducing new risk to jobs and financial security for employees.

Before they can create real confidence, employers need to take immediate steps to address these fundamental needs. Initiatives like PPE, new workplace design, health checks and revised processes will be vital. However, it is equally important that employers continue to build trusting relationships with their people on issues like job security, getting closer even while we are physically more distant.

Safety is just the beginning

Today, we are helping clients around the world reopen with our rise with Sodexo initiative. But while we offer the reach and expertise it takes to implement new policies and keep people safe, we recognise the need for more widespread support.

COVID-19 has prompted a global shift in working. This has called many long-held beliefs into question, from whether people really need to be in the office to what a workplace should look like. After experiencing a more flexible approach with increased work from home, many are wondering why they should go back.

As more businesses reopen around the world, the challenge is two-fold: to give people an empowering, inspiring experience in the workplace, while also recognising the need to enhance Quality of Life outside of the office.

Thinking outside of the workplace

Quality of Life is not something that is contained to the physical dimensions of your workplace. So enhancing Quality of Life needs to happen everywhere your employees go, whether they are working in that moment or not.

Traditionally, efforts to improve and reinvent the employee experience have been focused on the workplace. Now, it is the right time for a more holistic view.

Your employees might start by planning their day from home. They could work in your main office or choose a shorter commute to a more local base. They could be travelling globally or checking their email on the way to the gym.

Every one of these moments is an opportunity to connect with your people, building their confidence and empowering them to thrive. In this way, our new normal is a continuation of a path that most organisations have been on for some time – the shift to a more people-centred, service-based approach.

Understanding your user journeys

Through a team of workplace design and optimization specialists at Wx, a Sodexo corp-up, we use data analysis and empirical insights to capture, monitor and improve user journeys.

In part, this can take place in the office through observation, Internet of Things devices and data science. However, it also stretches beyond the boundaries of your workplace to encompass those hard-to-measure moments outside your premises.

Clear employee personas and effective user journeys recognise the trends and patterns in behaviour across your organisation, as well as the nuanced differences from individual to individual. These insights can then be used to inform your decisions around workplace design and optimisation, building confidence on a significant scale.

Building confidence with Sodexo

At Sodexo, we’ve been safeguarding, promoting and enhancing Quality of Life for over 50 years. Our expertise and services mean we can help lead you into the new normal with a systematic approach.

Rise with Sodexo is our program of support for our clients in this challenging time, covering five key areas:

  1. Prepare: Preparing your site and employees for reopening
  2. Protect: Implementing enhanced cleaning, health checks and contactless services
  3. Enable: Supporting your employees with catering, digital services and more
  4. Support: On-site health checks and wellness services
  5. Optimize: Physical distancing, space management and environmental efficiency

In part, these stages represent a package of support that guides our clients from first steps to long-term agility and flexibility. However, they also offer an opportunity to truly embrace the new normal – not just to reinstate old ways of working, but to evolve in ways that influence employee confidence and promote greater productivity.

For us, rise with Sodexo is not just about reopening your workplace. Our aim is to optimize your workplace and empower your people – and your organization – to rise to the challenges ahead.

Start with your people

A successful organization is the product of combined effort from confident, capable employees. In the same way, employee confidence is the product of quality in every interaction and every moment.

Our workplace optimization specialists at Wx. have prepared a comprehensive look at the human impact of COVID-19 and the quantum shift in work. Whether you are planning your reopening or want to be sure you are addressing important needs, it is valuable reading.

Inside, you’ll learn:

  • What today’s user journeys really look like
  • The trends Wx anticipate in response to COVID-19
  • Short, mid and long-term measures recommended by workplace specialists