Employees’ expectations of the workplace have changed

I am a big fan of Simon Sinek. He talks about how leaders must articulate their businesses’ ‘why?’ The workplace research organisation and publisher of the Leesman index talks about the need for companies to also articulate their workplace ‘why?’

I have been leading BM for nearly 25 years. I believe we’re at a special moment in time. Visionary leaders will capitalise on this moment.

BM recently held an event where we considered all the ways companies can create great workplace experiences. We all agreed that the benefits of being in the office need to be obvious. And compelling. Why should employees spend £20 to travel to the office? Some firms ask teams to come in to work and they find themselves on Zoom all day. They head home wondering ‘why did I go in to work?’

Place and culture

The average UK commute is 54 minutes, in London it’s 74 minutes. We spend a lot of time and money getting to the office. Alongside this is a sense that for a lot of firms that their teams seem more disconnected than ever before. It’s a challenge to stop young workers resigning in large numbers or others ‘quiet quitting’. So how can companies build culture?  You won’t be surprised that it’s possible to build a culture one meal at a time. Spaces can be created where knowledge can be exchanged and ideas flow, using food, drink and hospitality. And don’t just take my word for it. Professor Tracey Camillieri of Saïd Business School carried out research that showed participants were more engaged when they shared a meal. She also showed that teams sharing lunch before a meeting improved their collaboration and creativity.


Respected thought leader on the future of work, Bruce Daisley recently published a book – ‘Fortitude’. He contends that resilience is a much-misunderstood concept. But what we learnt from Bruce’s book is that resilience comes from a sense that ‘we’re all in it together’. What better way to create a sense that you’re not alone than to sit down and share a meal?

Tailored and bespoke

One size does not fit all. Decision-makers will consider: what people are doing in the workplace; how much time they spend there; and in which space types? And the question to answer is what value needs to be created in the office? Is it for focus, teamwork, social, culture, learning, privacy or other activities we haven’t yet considered?

It’s just the beginning…

In a post-covid workplace, hybrid working has become the norm. We could make the mistake of thinking that we’re at the end of the workplace story now. But we’re not! This is the beginning. This is the moment for organisations to decide what they want their culture to be, and how they are going to create it.

From hotelification to alchemy, we have researched possible workplace scenarios that could unfold. If you are considering options for your future workplace, contact us if you would like a copy of our workplace experience book.

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My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

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