The Role of Micromarkets in Workplaces of the Future
Global competition, digitisation and flexible time models are fundamentally changing the face of future workplaces. Companies are increasingly taking employee satisfaction into account and developing modern office concepts to create a better work environment. MicroMarkets are playing a decisive role in these improvements.
What exactly is a micromarket?
The US pioneered today’s concept of modern workplace design. Companies such as Google, Apple and Netflix continuously develop new models and even agile start-ups are becoming increasingly invested in the design of future workplaces. Here, one specific trend stands out: micromarkets. Enticing shelves and chilled units stacked with healthy and nutritious snacks, cereals, soups and salads are there for employees to self-service to their own desire. Even smoothies, soft drinks and various types of coffee are available around the clock and at a fair price. As such, micromarkets can be seen as small, in-house, self-service supermarkets.
Healthy employees are happy employees
Micromarkets are a company’s way of responding to the challenges of employee catering: while employees may find the atmosphere and food selection unappealing, a staff canteen can also prove to be a large expense for any company. In addition, canteens are typically only open at specific times, which means that anyone who wants to grab a bite between meetings is either left empty handed or forced to fall back on vending machines.
As workloads increase, the desire to stay healthy and productive comes to the forefront and nutrition plays a major role. Companies are not only duty bound to assume responsibility, but they will also profit from steps taken towards creating a healthy environment: ultimately, employee wellbeing and productivity are undoubtedly linked to the type of catering their employer has to offer. Companies should become more active in terms of health promotion and develop concepts that match the company’s own culture. The 2018 Global Human Capital Trend study by Deloitte shows that even though employee well-being is emerging as a strategic priority for many employers, substantial gaps between desire and offer still remain in many areas. For example, in regard to healthy snacks, the discrepancy between what employees value (63%) and what employers offer (32%) is over 30%.
Flexible workplace, quick and easy exchange
In addition to health and nutrition, workplace design is becoming a more relevant topic in the modern office. Companies in Silicon Valley are putting the concept of desk sharing to the test: rather than having fixed workplaces, management and employees work side by side in an open-plan office; desks are selected based on availability, and personal documents are stored in movable containers. The idea is that teams will automatically gravitate towards each other and find it much easier to interact when they are not separated by cubicle or office walls. This renders time-consuming and often unproductive meetings redundant, as information is shared freely and without restriction.
It remains unclear whether this type of office layout will become standard in the future. Most employees want their own fixed workplace that can be designed based on their personal needs. One plausible solution would be an agile combination of fixed and flexible workplace. For example, Brody’s Work Lounge features swivel-mounted desks surrounded by three walls. A lighting fixture informs colleagues if the respective person is currently in concentration mode and does not want to be disturbed. These types of workplace models allow employees to switch between both modes: team work with open exchange can easily shift to highly concentrated independent work. MicroMarkets can support this kind of flexibility: teams are able to meet in a relaxed atmosphere, discuss projects and are free to take breaks whenever needed – and not at a specified time.
Promotion of self-responsibility as an executive function
Creating a flexible work culture should not be limited to office interior. A workplace of the future also requires a different attitude – and this is often a question of management culture. Modern leadership is more characterised by trust, encouragement and self-responsibility and less by rigid rules and constant control. Not only are employees increasingly claiming their right to co-determine where they work, but also when. Wage and salary models would then become less dependent on hours worked and more on actual achievements and successes.
Employee satisfaction promotes innovation
In order to remain competitive, companies should search for models and concepts that allow them to benefit from the working world’s increasing flexibility. It is also important to take staff input into consideration at a very early stage and to draw on their suggestions, since employees often develop the best ideas for their work environment. Still, this can only succeed if employees feel generally valued and are able to identify with their employer – in short: when they’re happy.
Healthy nutrition at a fair price plays a big role in that happiness. By designing attractive catering facilities, companies can create an atmosphere where employees like to work – and deliver their full potential.
Please contact us, if you would like more information on how MicroMarkets can increase employee satisfaction.