Can vending machines help freshen up your key workers?

By Jay Jackson

Take a look at a new way of working for key workers around the UK, and how vending machines are the perfect solution to the problems we’re facing.

“Key workers”, as a phrase, is one that we’ve become accustomed to since the global pandemic. However, as we settle into 2023, we are, hopefully, closing the book on coronavirus and starting afresh in a drastically different world. In this new world, key workers are no longer limited to healthcare and logistics staff. They are the staff that help private and public sector organisations survive and thrive, from cashiers and stockists, to office workers, construction specialists, and beyond.

Flexible working: the new norm.

Do you work remotely? Well, the chances are that at some point in the last three years you may have done so. In 2020, companies were forced to rethink their strategies and offer remote or flexible working options for their employees.

This may have been born out of a global tragedy, but the trend has created a generation that’s comfortable with Zoom calls and motivated enough to work from their own front rooms - and, whether you’re an advocate or not, it’s here to stay. In an ongoing study by ONS, 40% of UK respondents in February 2023 stated that they had worked from home in the seven days prior, a huge rise from a similar study in 2019 that hit just 12%.

In fact, our love of dressing gown board meetings has opened a new land of opportunity when it comes to job hunting, too. With employees being able to work anywhere, at any time, we’ve seen the rise of the ‘Great Resignation’. Employees are taking back the power, free to shop in a global jobs market from the comfort of their own home, assessing benefits packages, remote policies, and career progression, to name a few.

A competitive job market is forcing companies to offer new ways for their staff to perform their roles, and it’s taking its toll on our high streets.

“40% of UK respondents in February 2023 stated that they had worked from home in the seven days prior, a huge rise from a similar study in 2019 that hit just 12%.”


New working and it’s high street impact.

With change comes impact. Now, four times as many people regularly work from home as they did pre pandemic, and high street shops have taken a drastic hit on footfall as a result - think about the all-too-classic extended lunch breaks, or ‘coffee shop meetings, that were once so popular. Areas once filled with office workers spending their cash became barren wastelands during the pandemic, and have been hit hard with a fallout, too - for example, Manchester reported a 32% decline in spending between 2020 and 2022.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though; there has been a natural migration back to the office over the past 12 months, as companies start to adopt a hybrid approach to working, offering flexible hours and employees the chance to come and go when they please.

Now companies are changing to an ‘always-on’ approach, fitting out offices with speed gates and automated turnstiles, and allowing their staff to come and go as they please - assuming they get the job done, of course. But here lies a new opportunity for retail businesses in the form of automated retail.

Vending Machines: The Opportunity.

An unpredictable migration back to the workplace is a good thing. It means our city streets are once again filled with corporate speak, and we’re only hearing the phrase ‘I think your mic is on mute’ half as often as we’ve become accustomed to. It’s also contributed to a surge in foot traffic and seen our offices open for much longer to accommodate flexible working.

While traditional retail stores may struggle to adapt to erratic work patterns, there is a 24/7 solution that can work in tandem with an always-on approach, and that is the use of vending machines.

Vending machines can be placed in areas of light or heavy footfall, inside office buildings, or in communal areas, meaning that they are the perfect replacement or supplement to traditional retail stores with regular opening hours. Vending machines, in particular new-age smart vending solutions, offer a number of benefits for retailers and catering businesses, including:

- Increased efficiency and convenience.

Smart vending machines enable remote workers to access a wide range of options without the need for human intervention, streamlining the process for both employees and catering companies. In theory, this could mean quicker meal breaks and increased productivity, too.

- Cost-effective and eco-friendly.

Smart vending machines eliminate the need for a full-scale canteen, reducing operational costs, human labour, and waste. Depending on the product ethos, they can even include recyclable packaging options - ticking that all important ‘green’ box that’s becoming increasingly important in the modern age.

- Real-time data and inventory management.

Smart vending machines provide valuable insights into consumption patterns, enabling companies to better understand the needs and preferences of remote workers. This data-driven approach allows for optimised inventory management, reduced food waste, and a more tailored catering experience.

Consider this. You’re pulling an all-nighter in the office, you’ve got a thirst to quench, and the cafeteria is closed out-of-hours - where is the first place you head?

The Mother Solution.

At Mother, we specialise in offering managed and white label retail solutions, using our own smart vending machines built with the very latest innovations in technology. If you’re a retail business or you’re selling independent products that you want to push into new areas, or if you're a caterer needing to manage your client's food and beverage offerings, we can help get you there.

Get in touch to discover more about how we can help you and your business use vending machines to freshen up new-age key workers.


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