The role of hospitality in the workplace: What is the new normal?

At a time when safety, personal protective equipment and social distancing are paramount, you may ask yourself, “What role does hospitality play in the workplace and why does it matter?”

In a recent study, 58% of respondents said they feel disconnected from coworkers since going remote. So while companies must follow stringent CDC protocols to keep employees and guests safe, the need to help people feel connected and engaged is very real.

From the moment your office front doors open at the beginning of the day to someone grabbing a packaged to-go meal for their family on the way home, the complete and safe hospitality experience at work has never been more important for the confidence and morale of your team.

What does hospitality look like in these unique times?

Consider the “front-of-house” welcome

In the theater world, front-of-house simply means the part of the venue that’s open to the public. When your employees enter the workplace, it’s their first impression of the care you’ve taken to create a safe and welcoming environment. 

Details like opening doors for guests, ambassadors’ guiding employees and visitors through the safe entry or check-in process, and trained front desk staff providing vital information about onsite amenities and safety protocols set the stage for the overall workplace experience.

Healthy spaces with a smile

The first signs of a safe workplace are the smell of fresh air being circulated and sparkling clean surfaces. In the past, cleaning crews were deployed in a discreet way or after hours. They were rarely visible to employees in their workspaces. With the need for increased disinfection of high-touch surfaces, it’s important to rethink the visibility and deployment of these resources.

A team of professionals who are present and consistently cleaning is not only necessary, but a sign to your employees that their health is of paramount concern. However, the increased visibility of the custodial staff also means that these people become a vital part of the hospitality experience as they interact with your employees, clients and guests.

Training that once existed only for your front-of-house or customer service staff should now be deployed across all of your service staff. A warm, friendly interaction – particularly when it is least expected – says a lot about your company’s culture.

Great culinary experiences

After months of working from home, a memorable culinary experience has never been so important in the workplace. Fresh, locally sourced, innovative and creative menus are replacing the grind of employees cooking on their own. Rebuilding customer confidence and alleviating the fear of being with people again begins with the smile behind the mask and the spirit of hospitality.

The cafe brings a sense of normalcy and leads to guests’ feeling appreciated. Clients who ramp up some form of dining or pantry program have garnered long-lasting participation rate increases and higher levels of team satisfaction. Keeping employees on-site also reduces their risk of exposure when they leave campus.

Consider other ways you can utilize the talents of the culinary team to create engaging experiences – like live virtual events – that bring your workplace and home office teams together. Mixology classes, cooking demonstrations and culinary contests inspire team building and are a fantastic way to bring people together even when they’re working from different locations.

Perception is reality

When teams are certain they’re being thought of, appreciated and cared for, their stress levels decrease. The introduction of on-demand service requests for office and meeting room disinfection, coupled with constant availability of hand sanitizer and PPE, are the new standard of hospitality. True hospitality provides the perception – and reality – of safety, comfort and community.

About Compass

As the world’s largest hospitality company, we provide clients with end-to-end solutions that include concierge and front desk services, the highest quality dining solutions and facility services that meet stringent hospital grade standards. We pride ourselves on developing custom solutions for each client that engage your employees and guests while aligning with your culture and values.

Because business may not run “as usual” for some time, having a conversation about your needs, wants and goals has never been more important to our work community than it is now. We look forward to having that conversation and to ensuring that our commitment to hospitality is something that makes a difference within your organization every day.