Sodexo launches workplace report

THERE ARE more baby boomers working in the UK than ever before; mixed-gender boards improve a company’s productivity; and badly designed open plan offices can reduce happiness and productivity – these are just some of the findings from Sodexo’s workplace trends report released today (9 October 2013).


‘How Britain works: Key Trends in a Workplace Environment’ was commissioned by Sodexo, the world’s largest services company, to understand the continuously adapting workplace environment in the country today.


Debbie White, chief executive of Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “As an employer of 35,000 and a provider of services at workplaces across UK and Ireland, it is crucial that we understand how the workplace is changing and what is important to employees so that we can work towards improving the quality of life where we operate.”


The report identifies three key factors affecting the workplace: social trends, people trends and space trends.


Social trends mean the composition of the workforce is changing. While there are more baby boomers in the workplace, the demands and technology of younger employees have a significant influence on how organisations operate. At the same time, more women are occupying senior management roles, with positive results on productivity. A greater emphasis on health and wellbeing mean companies offering employees healthy options and physical activities in the workplace see them more engaged.


  • Between 2001 and 2011 there was a 96% increase in workers aged 65 and over
  • Companies with women on boards were found to outperform those without, with 42% higher return in sales, 66% return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity
  • Technology will not only influence devices, but design of workplaces – in 2013 the cloud will account for a third of IT expenditure
  • FTSE companies that track wellbeing outperform others by 10%
  • Physical activity has shown to have a direct impact on the workforce. Physically healthy employees are 20% more productive and twice as likely not to be ill
  • Well-lit, well-ventilated and comfortable workplaces increased productivity by as much as 16% and job satisfaction by 24%.


People trends mean more employees view their work and life as one – more of a work-life flow than a work-life balance. Companies supporting employees with flexible working patterns and technology to work anywhere anytime can see a happier, more productive workforce, particularly if allowed to manage their personal lives during traditional office hours. Employees judged on output rather than hours worked are more productive.


Top facts:

  • Workplace browsing costs UK £14bn a year; 13% of workers use the internet for at least two hours a day
  • However, social media is still banned at 50% of UK and US companies
  • 75% claim flexible working is important or very important to them and 14% would change job if flexible working was taken away
  • Happy workers are up to 12% cent more productive
  • 54% of UK employees want to be measured on output.


Space trends mean organisations offering well-designed, shared workspaces and practices which encourage employees to communicate more will attract and retain talent more.


Top facts:

  • £135m lost every year as result of poorly-designed offices
  • Badly designed open plan offices can reduce happiness levels by 32% and productivity by 15% – a combination of public space and private space is needed
  • 70% of office space is individual and 30% is collaborative, in 2020 this will be reversed
  • 94% of ideas are generated outside of individual space.


Download the full report HERE