Studies have been done into how the hospitality provision can inspire productivity and contribute to a more effective workplace. It’s quite interesting and certainly gives workplaces a lot to think about when it comes to investing in their hospitality set-up and the benefits they stand to gain – not just from a thriving hospitality operation but also a more productive workforce.

One of these studies was led by Nestle Professional on their ‘Smart Coffee’ hot beverage model. With behavioural scientists and academics, they identified four key behaviours of workplace productivity; one being ‘Unplanned Interaction’. This refers to the spontaneous exchanges that take place – for example, when you bump into a colleague in the car park or when you’re both in line for coffee.

According to the Smart Coffee research, these micro meetings are the foundation of the ‘strength of weak ties’ theory that this behaviour is built from – sparking ideas between people who might not ordinarily work together, but who could provide true value in this moment of unplanned interaction.

Another of the key behaviours identified is ‘Team-to-Team and In-Team Collaboration’. One of the insights from the Smart Coffee concept is that face-to-face communication is 32 times more effective than any other form of workplace communication. Face-to-face interaction and communication can be facilitated over a coffee or bite to eat.

In the evolving workplace that we’re all operating in, with hybrid working now the norm across many businesses, it’s really important that the benefits of office-based working aren’t forgotten.  The culture that can thrive when colleagues interact, the connections that can be made over lunch or in the breakout areas with a hot drink, the brainstorms and ideas that can take place when together.

These seemingly simple social encounters are often seen as the icing on the cake, but as Kristi Woolsey, behavioural scientist and associate director of Boston Consulting Group, says they are far more than this. She notes a study which looked at 800 research papers and projects about productivity and found the number one correlating factor for team productivity was social cohesion.

There are many ways that workplaces can encourage these behaviours that lead to enhanced productivity; ways that are of minimal cost to the business. This could be through the introduction of smart break out areas which have coffee machines and light snacks available or the creation of pop-up lunch stations throughout the office.  Or it could simply be enhancements to the current dining area that makes it a nicer experience such as autonomous checkout (AI-based image recognition or ‘vision checkout’), where recognition of what is on the plate takes place within half a second – far quicker than any other checkout set-up – and brings a whole new meaning to ‘grab and go’ in this new digital world.

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