As we start a new year, we are looking forward to welcoming more and more of our customers back to our restaurants, coffee bars and catered meeting spaces as increasingly people start to return to office life once again.
Our clients have all taken their own individual approaches to phasing their teams back into the office; some have left it to employees to choose whether to come back to the office or to continue working from home, some have invited everyone back to the office whilst others have invited only specific teams back and many have now adopted hybrid working practices where employees work some of their week at home and some back in the office.
Working Life Has Changed
Undoubtably working life has changed for many, but we are increasingly hearing from clients that they do want to encourage more people back to the office environment, whether that is full time, part time or on a flexible basis. The reasons for returning to the office are many but the overall themes are to help with mental health and wellbeing, to reignite team spirit, improve productivity for some, to increase collaborative working and to foster company culture all of which have their limitations for most, if everyone works remotely from one another all the time.
Rather than take a forceful approach of “get back to the office” clients have been looking for ways to make the decision to come into the office a positive choice for employees. Some have improved the office experience; perhaps taking the opportunity of closures during lockdown to revamp office and meeting spaces, develop more collaborative working spaces, improve lighting and tech or to offer additional onsite facilities not offered before.
Of course, food has always played a big part in working life, so we have also been working with clients to develop ideas and concepts to help entice and welcome employees back into office spaces. For some this has meant providing catering for welcome back events such as team BBQs (when the weather was kinder!), for others some or all of the catering offer has been provided for free (funded by clients) for a short or longer period of time to encourage employees back and we have also provided some welcome back packs which include tasty treats.
Memorable Office Experiences
This has enabled us to develop and create a menu of “Memorable Office Experiences” with a brochure of ideas for clients to choose from. The experiences could include:
Team Treats – like delivery of some devilishly good doughnuts, brownie boxes or a drama cake to celebrate a birthday or team success.
Pop-Up Events – like a popcorn or a candy floss cart, a street food offer, or an authentic Global cuisine in conjunction with Migrateful who help to celebrate and empower refugees on their journey to integration
Educational Masterclasses – to encourage team collaboration with options like tea and food pairing, 15-minute lunch masterclasses or a cheesecake masterclass.
Health and Wellbeing – such as our “Re-Turn Boxes” offering some healthy treats to welcome people back, wonky fruit boxes, energy boxes or maybe a voucher for a protein pancake from the restaurant.
Whatever the reason or incentive for individual customers returning to the office, we and our teams are certainly delighted to see them back and we are looking forward to seeing many more familiar and in some case new faces!