With the acceleration of remote work brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, corporate culture has been evolving to a more individual-focused approach that accommodates the reality that many employees will no longer be in the office five days a week for eight hours at a stretch. Rather, what these employees will be looking for from their professional workplaces when they do come in is a place to meet with team members, collaborate, hold private in-person sessions and simply socialize with colleagues.
It is an expectation that has significant ramifications for the B&I dining service, requiring adjustment in everything from how seating in dining areas is arranged to how and from where food is served. Also affecting the emerging dining environment is technologies ranging from mobile-order platforms to sensors that monitor how crowded a café space is and even where the furniture is located.
Karen Bala AIA, LEED AP, is director of design for Dyer Brown, a Boston-based architectural firm with major clients such as John Hancock and Northeastern University in the corporate, higher education and other markets. She has been with the firm for the past eight years, and in this FM One On One podcast interview, she talks about the changing corporate culture and how that affects design considerations for corporate dining venues.