The idea of Purposeful Presence is something that caught our eye when reading a recent news article from Cigna, the global healthcare company, based in the US. In the article, Cigna shared the approach to their return-to-work strategy and the ethos they are taking with their employees.

It’s here that they talk about Purposeful Presence; a concept that performance is based on outcomes, not physical presence in the office. Cigna go on to look at what Purposeful Presence in action could look like. An example they gave was when their employees got together at a connection-focused event, where they spent time listening, learning and engaging with colleagues across the business. For many, this was the first time meeting face-to-face in two years and the opportunities this brought in terms of connecting, building trust and strengthening engagement was huge.

It’s safe to say that the vast majority of businesses have reviewed their working structure post-Covid and really questioned whether their old set-up was the right one moving forwards. Does everyone need to be in the office every day, or can they work just as effectively, and perhaps even more so, by splitting their time between the office and home?

What seems clear – both in the US and here in the UK – is that being able to see colleagues is regarded as the best ‘perk’ of office working. This is evident in recent research conducted by King’s College London which found that London workers agree that the best benefit of purposeful office working is being able to see, meet and collaborate with co-workers.  This was also mirrored at Cigna’s connection-focused event, where they said the joy of meeting colleagues face-to-face was clear to see.

Many of these connections, meetings, informal chats and general catch ups will take place in the office hospitality areas, over a coffee, a mid-morning break or lunch. And so it’s really important that workplaces review their hospitality set-up and ensure it’s enabling these connections to take place as easily, and as much, as possible.

For example, it could be through creating spaces in the office where colleagues can sit down near the coffee machine and enjoy informal catch ups. Or it could be by investing in larger, shared tables in the dining area or outside spaces for groups of colleagues to meet and sit to enjoy lunch together. Equally, it could be looking at your meeting room hospitality provision and installing tech solutions so a variety of hot drinks can be ordered via a tablet, as opposed to just shared pots of tea and coffee being made for the room. We could go on, but all of these considerations, which are relatively easy for a workplace to implement, would have a significant and positive outcome on staff.

Many offices are adapting their ways of working and are making sure the time spent in the office really counts. The hospitality provision has a big part to play in this, as it’s central to so many of the times that employees will be meeting and engaging with each other.

To find out more about how we can help your workplace operation thrive email us on