Food courts to work courts

Submitted almost 2 years ago by Alan Barry

Food courts to work courts

There was the world before COVID (BeCo) and the world after COVID (ACo)
BeCo; the working world was rigid and driven by decree through a hierarchy by a management structure in every firm. Yes, there were the exceptions to the rule, some firms are outliers that tried to utilise technology to improve productivity but generally it was driven by the firm for the good of the company bottom line. Very rarely did firms altruistically take decisions to improve working conditions beyond the minimum to provide a comfortable productive environment for their employees.

ACo; during COVID employees experienced a level of trauma and uncertainty that no one expected or prepared for, COVID was the ultimate black swan! People now want more from their lives, they no longer want to be employees commuting and working long hours in dreary office space. People want a richer life that includes family with more time for themselves and are refusing to waste hours commuting as employees.

People want to be people again not employees
Pandoras’ box has been opened, the cat is out of the bag, the bird has flown the coop, the horse has bolted, call it what you will everyone now knows most people can do their old office job wherever technology is available.

BeCo was a Firm centred world where the company’s interests were served, ACo is a People centred world where the Firm has to serve the people to obtain what they need to survive and prosper

Firms who are in denial will lose the best and most productive staff to firms who do understand this, shown in the Hassels global survey of 2500 office workers in 2022, where they found 19% of workers required to in the office full time were thinking of quitting. In the survey Hassels found a strong correlation between views on quitting and workplace style.

Remuneration no longer has the value it did, people are going to be people now, and prioritise their own interests over a job and firms must cater to this to get the best staff.

Besides making technology available to the people, firms have to provide a working environment that will attract people and want them to use the firm’s facilities when they cannot complete a task outside the work environment. The amount of time that this situation will arise is definitely the minority of the working time each employee puts in every week. The firm must also make the work environment attractive to give people the option of choosing whether coming to the work environment is simply more attractive than staying home.

Shopping centres led the way, sometime in the 1990s shopping malls began to realise across the world they needed more than just shops and some amenities and a little entertainment to attract more traffic to their malls. Entertainment has become the theme of the shopping malls that have survived the last 20 years so that ACo shopping malls place an emphasis on all types of entertainment.  Food and drink are still the most attractive thing that bring people in, and are a form of entertainment in their own right.  Food courts have evolved from a hall with some take out kiosks into entertainment places, with themed restaurants and themed areas, that serve the best quality food, food courts now have licensed restaurants and bars in pleasant landscaped surrounds with play areas for children. People now go to shopping mall food courts for entertainment aka food and drink.

So how does this become relevant to an office work place, well just like a shopping mall firms must now attract people to come to the office or lose them. Firms must morph their office space into “Work Courts”. 

What is a “Work Court”, it is a place for people not employees. 
In the Hassell’s 2022 Workplace Futures Survey when asked what features employees would want in their office, once it was safe to return, the wish list was topped by free lunch and food, followed by fresh air from outside, access to gardens and green spaces, good coffee, distraction-free space, a private gym and space to take a nap or rest.

The work court will become a place that the firm’s people want to, and need to attend when it suits them. 

What should you have in a Work Court, here are some ideas, make of them what you will and come up with some of your own that your people want, better yet get their input into what spaces they want:

·       Meeting space
·       Conference space
·       Fun space
·       Learning space
·       Quiet space
·       Eating space
·       Interactive space
·       Creative space
·       Exercise space
·       Work space


Benefits to the firm
Yes, no firm will do this if they do not benefit so here are three very real benefits that translate directly to the bottom line.

1.       Rent can be substantially reduced as the firm will find they need far less office space, the bigger the firm and the more expensive the office space the more money the firm can save which will translate to an immediate increase in profit.
2.       A new fit out will demand capital expenditure, but if the work court is done really well, the fit out could be attractive to a future tenant or to the Landlord, better still involve the Landlord and get this written into the make good clause that can save the firm a huge amount of money at the end of the lease, if no make good is needed.
3.       We mentioned before that a well done work court will attract the best people which will translate to the bottom line with more productive and happier people, the firm will find it easier to manage and prosper.

Contact Alan Barry for more information on this topic

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