Evolving workplace food services amidst COVID 19 pandemic: JLL

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JLL and Compass Group have come together to launch a whitepaper highlighting the ideas for leaders on transforming the workplace, to meet the expectations of the workforce and changing consumer preferences. The report captures best practices for C-suite and business leaders, who are now looking for solutions in workplace food services.

The impact of COVID 19 on all aspects of our lives, including workplace environment has been the most disruptive in recent times. As India gears up for the unlock phase, workplaces are gradually prepping themselves to begin functioning with minimal staff, and with required safety measures in place. We are witnessing a major transformation in the corporate workspace wherein employee health and wellbeing is at the core. Amidst the pandemic, leaders are gearing to adapt the next normal by framing strategies to (re)imagine workplaces and create a safe and welcoming office environment.

“The rise in COVID-19 cases in the country means that organisations will need to reimagine the workplaces and facilities while they continue to work with a lesser staff in offices. The pandemic has also forced the organisations to re-think their real estate portfolios and invest in tech infrastructure. The two key pillars of this experience – interaction in office and food services, which used to drive collaboration and innovation will no longer be the same,” stated Sandeep Sethi, Managing Director, Corporate Solutions, West Asia, JLL.

A recent survey conducted by JLL reveals that of all the services that an employee enjoys at the workplace, food and beverage services always come at the top of everyone’s concern list. A Compass Group study, ‘Eating at Work’, also showed that food was chosen as the preferred non-monetary perk over of flexible working hours, onsite fitness and employee wellness programmes which are perceived as vital non-monetary benefits. As per the study, 73% ranked café meals as a top priority, demonstrating the power of food at the workplace.

However, one of the biggest dilemmas in each of our minds while returning to offices is that the workplace experience is undergoing a paradigm shift. The white paper thus, addresses the apprehensions and anxiety among employees around safety and security, and health and hygiene as they return to work. There is a need to evolve and adapt to digital technology to promote touchless dining operations. The resurrection of the workplace café will call for disruptive models of working, innovation around the food itself, embracing digital, contactless ordering, creative and smart choice of ingredients which may help boost immunity and promote wellness.

With sector-focused businesses, global best practices and experience and expertise across 450+ client locations in India, Compass India endeavours to continue to innovate and design relevant concepts to nourish workplaces and aid the transition to better workplace food habits and choices. Dev Amritesh, Managing Director for Compass Group in India says “We understand the importance of cafeterias in workplaces. A camaraderie shared over a quick coffee-break play a very important role in bringing the workforce together. As the pandemic pivoted our needs towards a healthier lifestyle and a safe environment, it is not surprising to see employees being hesitant on returning to work. There are growing apprehensions which calls for a resurrection of the workplace café through disruptive models. Through the paper, we present some innovative ideas for leaders on transforming the workplace, to meet the expectations of the dynamic workforce and changing consumer preferences.”