Empowering peope and businesses with Vital Spaces

Published on : 11/25/20
  • Julie Ennis, CEO of Corporate Services at Sodexo UK and Ireland, reflects on the ways in which organisations can support their employees to work and feel their best through Vital Spaces.

    The past months have forced every organisation to reflect on the ways in which they can support their employees to work and feel their best.

    Workplace trends we knew were already there – such as movement toward flexible, hybrid working environments – have accelerated at a pace no one could have anticipated.

    We’ve tracked this through external research and via regular conversation with our clients and it is clear that, if they weren’t already, workplace strategy and people strategy are high on the agenda for executive teams in all sectors.

    As they review those strategies, businesses face significant questions.

    How can we maintain a sense of purpose and connection when we’re more distant than ever?

    How do we attract and retain the right people in this climate?

    How can we create sustainable, cost-effective experiences that resonate with people and provide consistency whenever and wherever people work? 

    How do we repurpose our resources to cultivate a culture of well-being in our environment?

    To support organisations to answers those questions, Sodexo is building out from traditional workplace services and refocusing its activities through the lens of employee experience.

    Vital Spaces brings together everything we can do support our clients with a 360-degree, people-centred approach to workplace experience. Whilst traditional models of FM and food at work are still key components of what we do, and what our clients need us to deliver, Vital Spaces allows us to bring a compelling mix of services that take us beyond the four walls of a workplace. By drawing on the breadth of Sodexo’s wider expertise – in consultancy, space design and planning, benefits and rewards solutions and employee-focused services like concierge – we can support our clients to address workplace challenges, in the short term and into the future.

    As we’ve introduced Vital Spaces to clients, three words have been recurrently coming to mind: adaptability, convergence and transformation.


    In ongoing studies, we’re seeing how the sudden shift to remote work has impacted mental health, well-being and productivity of employees on a global scale. The pandemic has been unique in that we’ve all had to adapt.

    At the beginning of the pandemic, our clients found themselves in many different stages of adopting people-focused strategies to support hybrid states of working. Some had implemented remote work policies, some had leveraged concierge services, workspace design or food programmes to support their employees’ experiences.

    Since March of 2020, we have been able to step in alongside them no matter the stage of their journey, helping them articulate and recommend services that can evolve with their employees’ changing needs.

    Clients are exploring new real estate strategies, optimising their energy and space management, investing in technology and implementing services that support and engage employees – all underpinned with a focus on safety and health.


    In talking to clients, we asked: Are your individual departments and C-suite collaborating more closely on employee experience and workplace strategy?
    Without question, the answer is yes.
    The evolution of the workplace is bringing about a convergence; silos that once existed between real estate, HR, finance or commercial functions are being broken down in the name of collaboration and connection.

    With the rapid move to hybrid working models, flexibility and agility of services are high on the agenda. And decision-makers are taking recommendations and feedback from a wider stakeholder group of functional teams. In a convergence of perspectives, expertise and resources, we’ve worked with these key internal stakeholders to collaboratively identify opportunities and create productive, inspiring spaces.

    Vital Spaces allows us to view our range of services with this new context in mind; employees are now working in different spaces, but that doesn’t mean the organisational experience has to be any different. Vital Spaces is an ecosystem and framework that spans every aspect of the workspace, keeping employees connected whenever and wherever they work.


    Often, when we’re pushed to transform and rise to the occasion, we discover the strength of our values and promises. This year, every organisation has had to transform, including ours.

    For Sodexo, we set out to challenge the norms and be true partners in the most uncertain of times, drawing onto the strength and breadth of our global organisation to support our clients. On a personal note, I am hugely proud of our organisation – particularly in the ways we’ve respected people and clients throughout this time.

    Through the people-focused lens of Vital Spaces, Sodexo is providing consultation to aid transformation – finding solutions that connect teams, optimise performance and create thriving work environments. And we are constantly evolving our approach using up-to-date research and trends.
    In December of this year, we will be sharing more insights in joint effort with Harris Interactive that can further help our customers transform their workplaces in meaningful ways. Until then, I encourage you to explore the capabilities of Vital Spaces   and Harris insights for yourself.

    We look forward to providing workplace and worklife solutions that connect teams, optimise performance and create thriving work environments.


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