Workplace Experience Trends for 2024

About the author : Joe Ganci

President, Corporate Services Food

Published on : 2/22/24
  • The workplace experience is undergoing a transformation like never before. Over the past few years, I've witnessed dynamic shifts that have reshaped the way we work – and I am certain that 2024 holds even more change. As we collectively navigate these workplace changes, I have been reflecting on how food services will impact workplace experience in 2024. Here is a glimpse at some of the trends that I think workplaces will see more of in 2024.

    1. Fostering Meaningful Connections

    As we embrace the future of work, companies are recognizing the need to focus more on creating genuine opportunities for socialization among employees. It’s no secret that the impact of the pandemic has caused profound changes to what is typically considered the “traditional” working environment – and statistics from a 2022 McKinsey survey show that over 75% of employees report that they connect with others less often, have smaller networks and spend less time and effort on relationship building since the beginning of the pandemic. In response, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are emerging as key components of an organization's overall employee value proposition. They are not just about meeting a checklist; they're about embedding diversity into the organizational culture.

    Through this lens, we are also seeing the value in creating connectivity in comfortable spaces designed to facilitate connection through dining experiences – especially ones focused on delivering diverse cuisine options. It’s clear to me that employers who deliver authentic experiences and an employee value proposition that embraces engagement will see improved employee retention and attract the best talent to their organization.

    2. Embracing Nontraditional Work Schedules

    In 2023, many businesses were still recovering from twists and turns from the pandemic and developing return-to-office strategies that they believed would help them retain their culture, talent and mission. As we look ahead, the acceptance of nontraditional work schedules, such as 4-day work weeks and flexible hours, are becoming more prevalent and even expected by employees. Employees like remote and hybrid working because it saves them time and money, enables better work-life balance and gives them space to focus. According to a 2022 YouGov survey, a hybrid work environment is acceptable to 64% of employees globally, while only 30% of employees find it acceptable to be asked to work in an office full-time. The statistics on employee satisfaction in a hybrid work environment are certainly compelling, and the balance provided by flexible schedules benefits both employees and companies.

    In 2024, flexibility will be key when it comes to workplace dining. I expect to see an increase in the availability of on-demand food and dining spaces that provide flexibility for employees throughout the day. Whether that is a quick pickup service for employees to take back to their workspace, a grab-and-go mobile coffee service, or a more relaxed culinary experience where employees can sit and foster connections, it’s important to understand your employees’ needs and create experiences that enrich them.

    3. Prioritizing Health of People and the Planet

    Employees understand that the food they consume during the workday has an impact on their health, performance and longevity overall. In the coming year, we'll see a shift toward more holistic food offerings that also support their health priorities. But food experiences in the workplace will also need to support employees’ sustainability values. Sodexo recently released the first international sustainable food barometer, and within this report, 49% of US respondents said they wish to eat more sustainably at work than at home.

    At Sodexo, we're crafting menus with an increasing variety of food options that address dietary needs such as reducing salt, sugar and processed ingredients, while also emphasizing plant-forward options for a more balanced diet that’s good for your people and the planet. This health-centric culinary shift is aligned with authenticity and sustainability demanded by consumers today. In addition, connecting with local and authentic restaurants in the community brings diversity to employees' on-site food options. Food is flexible and helps build relationships with minority business owners and local suppliers. This shift not only reflects our commitment to shaping workplaces that prioritize the well-being of both individuals and the planet but also honors DEI initiatives by offering diverse and inclusive menus.

    The workplace of tomorrow isn’t just about the physical space; it's about the experiences that connect and enrich the lives of employees. That’s why at Sodexo, our commitment to fostering meaningful connections extends to every level of the services we provide. We stay up to date on market and consumer trends and partner closely with our clients to understand their needs – today and beyond. Throughout our shifting landscape, our focus on human connection as the ultimate competitive advantage is not a nice-to-have, it's a strategic imperative.

    See how Sodexo’s food experience brand Modern Recipe can help your organization create memorable workplace experiences and stay ahead of culinary trends.

    This article was originally published on Joe Ganci's LinkedIn profile