Over the past four weeks, I have spoken to several operators and facility managers to get a feel for the direction of the workplace. Opinions vary and a new slogan has emerged when it comes to the percentage of employees who will eventually return to the office: 70% is the new 100%.
Leave your comfort zone
A note of encouragement for operators: many employers want as many people as possible to return to the office. When an operator serves this type of customer, he must do what he can to support the “recovery” effort, even if it means stepping out of the comfort zone of a typical operator.
Quite the new HQ
Andrew Barrett-Weiss is a senior operations executive at GoodRx, a healthcare company based in Santa Monica, California. His title – Director, Workplace Experience and Build Out the New HQ Guy – is indicative of the creativity of the work environment at Good Rx, where they are determined to bring employees back.
Barrett-Weiss explained the thought process: “If you create an environment that people want to come back to, they will come. Will it be a 100%? No, it won’t be 100%. What we’re finding is that some people want to be here every day and some people want to be here three or four days a week, and some people never want to set foot in an office again.
Everything does not work well at home
Barrett-Weiss explained the challenge like this: “If all of your work is execution, you can probably do it at home. If your job is ideation, developing new ideas, creating new programs, and interacting, you need to be in the office most of the time.
What is GoodRx doing to bring people back to the office?
See the video. In this video interview, Barrett-Weiss gives us a quick tour of GoodRx’s equipment-laden facilities. We need more businesses that think like GoodRx.
But wait, there is more
Barrett-Weiss noted that as his business opens there will be catered breakfasts daily, the addition of a yard for more work outside in good Santa Monica weather, a indoor games will be added along with classic 1980s games, a fitness area that also includes programs to improve mental health and, as Barrett-Weiss said, “many more good things to come”.
The power of FOMO
“We’re making it a place people can’t resist,” Barrett-Weiss said. “We’re really open to whatever we can to get them back to the office. It is absolutely with the intention of encouraging people – not to make them feel that they have to come in, but that they want to come in. I think FOMO – afraid to miss – is very powerful. “
Operators: it’s time to step up
What can operators do when customers like Andrew Barrett-Weiss ask the question, “How can you help me get people back?” According to some operators, this question is asked regularly. On the OCS side, there are a lot of good answers and as I noted earlier that sometimes means that an operator has to step out of their comfort zone.
Here are some ideas for office coffee service operators to promote FOMO and help customers ‘get them back’. Consider:
- Work harder to make offerings from local roasters an important part of your product line. Make sure you know the story behind each one.
- Invest in brewing from grain to cup. If the customer has been reluctant to get one, now is the time to gift a coffee maker and see your income increase. And fill those hoppers with beans from top-of-the-range local roasts.
- Come up with the idea of a pantry service with “training wheels”. Free drinks to start and a modest selection of snacks. When this type of equipment appears new in an office, it’s a big deal.
- Take the opportunity to present premium teas, flavored creams and cold brew coffee. If a customer is ready to shake off their pre-COVID frugality, make plenty of suggestions.
- Countertop ice makers are a nice addition to any office. How about adding the FRIIA water dispenser? This sleek little dispenser pays off as a long-term annuity for the operators.
- For offices like GoodRx (there are plenty of them), there is virtually no limit to improving the employee experience. Consider VICKI, which sells CBD products as part of an unattended turnkey retail program from Chemesis International, led by Josh Rosenberg, president of NAMA. ViaTouch Interactive Media developed VICKI and awarded Chemesis the exclusive rights to use the kiosk for the CBD unattended retail market. CBD is all about wellness. In some offices, it fits perfectly.
A strong case of FOMO
Look on the road …
- ColdSnap will soon introduce a countertop machine that makes everything from ice cream and frozen yogurt to drinks to coffee. Prototypes will soon be launched. The ColdSnap unit is environmentally friendly, poses no cleaning problems and is fully recyclable. For the convenience-hungry office, ColdSnap may be the answer when it becomes available.
- Earlier this month, I wrote about the griin Micro Roaster – a compact unit that enables clean, quiet, AI-based green coffee roasting in the workplace. So advanced that it looks like science fiction – but the griin is real, and it will soon arrive at skilled operators. For operators who embrace it and locations that want the thrill of having the freshest coffee possible, griin offers an exciting solution that will promote a strong case of FOMO.
Recover those lost dollars
By January 2020, some customers were starting to curb spending, forcing operators to sharpen their pencils after years of strong growth. Many of those same office managers are now looking for ways to increase their spending to make the workplace more attractive to their employees.
Operators must help them. Now is the time to expand the deals and start recouping some of those lost dollars, even if 70% is the new 100%.
ABOUT BOB TULLIO
Industry Consultant and Editor-in-Chief Bob Tullio (www.tullioB2B.com) is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience industry on how to build a successful business from scratch and advises vendors on how to successfully connect to operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “grow your business in two minutes”. Tullio is currently developing an online course, Leverage the Power of LinkedIn to Grow Your Business.
As a recognized industry expert in business development and sales, NAMA retained him to write and narrate their online course, “Selling Convenience Services,” which is now available. Use coupon code B2B10 for an instant discount and for free access to upcoming Tullio Q&A webinars in the months to come. Here is a free sample of the course.
On Tuesday August 17th, at the NAMA Show in New Orleans, Tullio will present a 3 hour pre-conference session, “Selling Convenience Services: A Playbook for Sales Professionals”.