What if all of those hospitality principles that we hold so dear transcended beyond the walls of the typical hotel, resort, or restaurant? Imagine an environment, whether for work or for play, where courtesy, respect, and a satisfactory outcome were experienced by everyone.
This may not require as much imagination as you may think. Today, in workplaces around the country, major US companies are challenging themselves to better understand the implications of hospitality in an office environment. We see it with more and more frequency; the Googles and Microsofts of the world providing previously-unheard of food service offerings in their cafeterias, offering de-stressing and relaxation zones for their staffs, and creating convenient and cost-effective access to so many of the daily services that typical employees need, but that usually require taking time out from work to accomplish.
What if day care, prescription pick-up, meal kits to-go, and even manicure services were all available in the next gen workplace? Well, the next gen is here, today. There is a movement in corporate America to commit the resources necessary to significantly upgrade the comprehensive work experience of its employees, not simply the job experience. Clearly, the nation’s employers are coming to grips with the fact that the injection of principles of hospitality into their work spaces can have a positive effect on their employees, and therefore on their own performance. In-house child care, fitness and yoga classes remove the need for employees to find these services outside of work hours, thereby making better use of the employees’ time while at work, and making their days more efficient—and dare I say, happier. Employers most assuredly appreciate the fact that increased employee satisfaction leads to increased employee productivity and increased employee retention.
This exciting movement creates both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity lies in the fact that more and more of the corporate America workforce is starting to be exposed to those tenets of hospitality that were heretofore “reserved” for hotels and restaurants, thereby raising the bar on the service expectation levels of that workforce. The challenge here is actually the same one; with more and more Americans experiencing fundamentals of hospitality at their workplace, the level of tolerance for sub-standard hospitality service offerings in our hotels & restaurants will decrease. Simply put, a greater exposure to hospitality in the workplace will force us to deliver a better hospitality experience in the hotel & restaurant universe.
Regardless of where you line up, everything about this phenomenon is good. As we know, a more sophisticated consumer is a better consumer because he/she forces the vendor to be better at delivering his/her product. The exciting injection of hospitality into more & more of America’s workplaces means that more & more Americans will better appreciate all that goes into the delivery of high quality service and high quality products.
Hospitality has a place, a significant place, in today’s office environments, and it is exciting to know that the notion of improving the productivity and performance of a workplace through the application of fundamental principles of our industry can truly be measured. Our challenge going forward must be to continue to raise the bar in terms of service and hospitality both at work and throughout our daily lives.