Research reveals human connection is missing link to building future-proof workplace

New research reveals employees still prefer remote working and are more cost-conscious than ever.

New research from Sodexo reveals employees still prefer remote working and are more cost-conscious than ever.

Sodexo’s new Work Experience Tracker research, conducted in collaboration with YouGov, revealed that out of the 3000 respondents in the UK, one in five were dealing with poor mental and physical health, 20 per cent are quiet quitters and 23 per cent stated they wanted to quit.

These issues are likely to impact business performance and business leaders need to reflect on the causes and take action to improve employee experience.

A big question for many employers in 2023 remains ‘how do we bring people back to the office?’

Sodexo’s research reveals the top reasons which would help draw workers back in, with synergy between people, space and sustainability core to building a future-proof workplace, driving business performance and employee experience. 

Two thirds of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their current working pattern. More than 55 per cent continue to work a hybrid pattern, however, 36 per cent stated they would come into the office more to connect with other people.

This is corroborated in the 71 per cent of those questioned stating the greatest satisfaction in their workplace experience was from team spirit and collaboration.

Thirty-six per cent said they would like the opportunity to socialise, a similar number (35 per cent) noted that they would like to be offered free or subsidised commuting, and 23 per cent said the same about food.

Julie Ennis, CEO corporate services, Sodexo UK & Ireland, said the tracker research shows that 43 per cent of workers are only somewhat satisfied with their workplace experience.

“This is a risk for employers as these workers could move to become quiet quitters, but why is this group being overlooked? The question we need to ask ourselves is what piece of the puzzle are we missing?”

Fifty-eight per cent of those surveyed are working a hybrid pattern, while 20 per cent of respondents appear to be quiet quitters, those who say they will stay in their job and do the bare minimum. Interestingly, 43 per cent of quiet quitters work a hybrid pattern and the greatest proportion (38 per cent) are boomers.

The YouGov findings were also validated by Sodexo’s own observations through sensor data at its London head office which shows the consistent motivation for workers going into the office is about seeing their work colleagues.

“Before the pandemic, we were already witnessing a shift in the nature of workplaces and the need to be future ready,” Ennis said.

“To help businesses adapt, we developed Vital Spaces – a strategic approach to transforming workplaces and preparing for changing futures.

“Early surveys hinted at a new trend for the office to become a social hub, a place for health and wellbeing and a crucible for culture.

“Using data sensors from the office we are seeing this trend come to life with people gravitating towards the collaborative areas rather than the traditional workspaces.

Sodexo’s Work Experience Tracker examined the drivers around employment choices and found that 78 per cent of those surveyed find sustainability personally important and half of respondents expecting their employer to act responsibly.

Specifically, responsible energy use, waste management and reduction of plastic usages at workplace are the top three expectations from employees.

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