Habits, motivation and key-drivers - new trends in worker patterns post-COVID revealed by The Global Eating at Work Survey by Restaurant Associates
Hospitality experts Restaurant Associates commissioned a Global Eating from Work survey earlier this year, and the data extracted has revealed some interesting trends in workplaces post-COVID.
The survey showed that most businesses have remained flexible post-COVID, with a ‘more often than not’ presence in the office based on a 5-day working week. Most businesses have projected this as being the workplace pattern for the foreseeable future. The survey showed that in Europe, over half of workers cited “Flexible working hours” as one of their Top 3 employee benefits, with 23% ranking it as their number 1 priority, both higher than the Global average. The three-day week has already trickled down into producing key trends for food and beverage outlets - indeed, results show that hospitality levels are strong; so much so that some customers have reported frustrations around room or space constraints, Tuesday to Thursday, inclusive.
Food and drink are a key-driver of bringing employees back into the office, outlets and offerings are widely used when people are in work, alongside other perks. Many employees are drawn to the social aspect of food and drink through the return to the office, with 73% hybrid workers across Europe finding the engagement with colleagues higher whilst being in, and 65% of UK workers agreeing that “having a chat with colleagues over lunch helps me build stronger relationships”. The social aspect is fortified by work breaks, with 84% of people believing “that taking regular breaks throughout the working day improves overall productivity” - however, the data shows those in the office are seen as working longer days with fewer breaks compared to those continuing to work from home.
Sales are on the up in Restaurant Associate-operated venues and vendors in offices with more customers spending more, more often. This necessitates further agility from the providers regarding service levels compared to pre-pandemic operations. Within the UK&I, 52% of workers are happy to order food & drink via an app which is not echoed so much when compared to the global average where workers generally are less open to digital tech when ordering food.
Despite UK workers typically eating breakfast before arriving at work, plenty of workers - particularly Gen Z - are motivated by convenient and free-issue feeding throughout the day. Whether this is an open pantry, a breakfast bar or similar - it is something that continues to motivate workers and contribute to an employee’s return to office and ongoing war for talent in respective industries.
Matt Thomas, Managing Director of Restaurant Associates, emphasises the value of the survey findings, stating, "The survey has proven to be an invaluable asset, providing us with crucial insights into emerging trends and habits. This knowledge is essential to maintain our credibility as trusted partners and ensure customer satisfaction. Our goal is to optimise the entire workplace dining experience, streamlining it to be smooth, efficient, and conducive to maximising employee productivity. However, we also recognise the continued significance of social eating spaces and shared experiences, which are integral to fostering a sense of camaraderie and preserving the human element as employees return to work."
“Furthermore, the collected data has strengthened our client discussions surrounding employment agility and the digitisation of services. Armed with this comprehensive understanding, we can offer our clients the best management advice tailored to their specific needs and goals. These insights empower us to drive strategic improvements and enhance the overall dining experience for our clients."