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How And Where People Work Is Changing Are You Ready?

How many business and industry locations do you serve? Have you noticed any big changes in these workplaces?

A May 15, 2018 Wall Street Journal article, Don't Get Too Used to Your Own Desk, described the continuing trend of offices converting from assigned seats/desks to a more flexible group workspace concept. Many companies provide lockers for their employees to store personal items and pending work materials and files.

Employers have made these changes for several reasons:
1.    Companies with staff who travel frequently or permit people to work from home can operate in a smaller workspace – less square footage required.  
2.    Individual staff members have their own laptops, tablets and smartphones. There is less demand for fixed assets – desktop computers, file cabinets and assigned landline phones.
3.    People working on a project can sit and work together as a team. This reduces the need for conference rooms – another space-saving opportunity. During the day individuals can move to sit with another group on a different project.

Younger employees, "millennials", tend to enjoy this new working style. Older work cohorts are probably less comfortable with this new set up. The Wall Street Journal article gets in to how companies and individuals are adapting to these changes. You can be a positive resource to your clients as they make these transitions. There'll be more about that later.

Are you aware of any of your client locations shifting to this new workplace set up? For you to have seen these changes would require two very specific actions:  
1.    Observing and learning: You must visit your key locations on a regular basis to observe how well you are doing. Are you meeting the needs of your client, the location management? Are the people who work there satisfied with the products you offer, pricing, promotions and merchandising? How are you doing with the folks who purchase the products you offer for sale?  
2.    Business reviews: In my article, Your Best And Worst Locations: Do You Know The Difference? we recommended that you "Do a business review of every account on a regularly scheduled basis. It should be printed out and presented in person each quarter at your best accounts…" Why should you do these business reviews? To find out, hopefully in advance, that a client plans to convert to an unassigned seating office concept.

This can be a huge opportunity for you. You can bring ideas to your clients. Show them how to deploy the services you provide in these new workspace set-ups. Help your clients plan:
1.    Where should OCS service be placed to maximize convenience and save time for people working in different areas? Be prepared with recommendations and the rationale for what you are proposing.  
2.    Has the location been designed to allow for deploying vending, micro markets or onsite feeding? Thoroughly detail the advantages of each alternative. If you have experience serving these new office configurations, be certain to explain the successes and challenges.  
3.    Has the location management team included employee input in the decisions concerning OCS, food, snack and beverage services? If you have a questionnaire you've used at locations, you should offer it to your client. If you do not have one, shame on you. This is a critical tool for anyone in our industry.

This emerging trend in B&I locations can be a big plus for you. People are snacking more frequently every day. Snacking is our "sweet spot." (The pun is intended.) If you can play a positive role when B&I clients convert to unassigned seating, you'll be in a good position to sell more stuff.

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Paul Schlossberg is the president of D/FW Consulting, working with clients to merchandise and market products in impulse-intense selling environments, such as vending, onsite foodservice and convenience stores. Based in the Austin, TX area, he can be reached at or 972-877-2972 or

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