FSH meeting on Sodexo Workplace Trends 2016

It is always wonderful for people who share the passion on futures when companies and organizations want to share the results of their trend and foresight work and start conversations on how the future might look like and what trends are shaping our current environment.

Trend reports and scenarios help make sense out of data and a huge amount of signals that might be otherwise fuzzy or even overwhelming. Sharing is very valuable for companies also since conversation and dialogue create fresh new ideas and allows companies to see new perspectives. 

On April 24th, we had a great opportunity for dialogue and new perspectives since Futures Specialists Helsinki and Sodexo hosted a morning event to discuss the Sodexo’s latest Workplace Trends –report.

The report has been published annually since 2012 by Sodexo’s US based Innovations 2 Solutions network and this year it’s introducing nine interesting trends and phenomena that shape the way we work, live and play. As with previous years, the report leveraged Sodexo’s six dimensions of Quality of Life as a strategic lens.

The Nine Trends

  1. Population health management: a new business model for a healthier workforce
  2. Workplace Violence and Terrorism: Best Practices for a New Reality
  3. Stories of Urban Transformation: The Rise of 18-Hour Work/Live Communities
  4. Big Data in the Workplace: Can It Enhance Employee Productivity and Quality of Life?
  5. Reaching Every Employee in an Organization: Engagement Through Recognition
  6. Smart Energy Management: A Win for the Environment, People, and Business
  7. Humanizing the Workplace: Using Design Principles to Inspire Workplace Thinking
  8. Gender-Balanced Teams Linked to Better Business Performance: A Sodexo Study
  9. Creating The Lab of the Future: A Shift Toward Greater Agility, Flexibility, and Efficiency

All the trends are hugely interesting and it was quite a challenge to pick only a few for further discussion. 

Participants were especially eager to discuss the way work, live and play are integrating and how that changes our workplaces. Co-working spaces are transforming into co-living spaces offering a variety of services and large companies are opening their facilities for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and startups. In fact, facilities should be seen as a tool for marketing and communications, not as a cost. 

Also, the big changes in corporate culture increased the need for diversity and what kind of leadership these shifts require was highlighted. 

From the daily business perspective, the topic around using Big Data for productivity purposes was interesting. Can organizations make individuals value data gathering?  

Also, employee engagement or in fact employer disengagement is one of the biggest hurdles for successful business performance today. Over 60% of employees lack the elements (support, tools, recognition) required to be highly engaged. 

The feeling of belonging, recognition, trusted communication and organizations capability to support work and life integration were some factors taken up during engagement discussion. On the other hand, not everybody wants to, for example, integrate work and life. Therefore, it is clear that one size or one type of activity does not fit all, no matter what the topic is. 

We also came up with one certain conclusion; future is to be co-created.

Elina Yrjänheikki, Sodexo & Mervi Rauhala, OSG Communications
Writers are Futures Specialists Helsinki members & promoters of futures thinking.