Creating a Thriving Work Environment: Sodexo’s Digital Maturity Journey

Julie Ennis, Sodexo’s CEO of Corporate Services in the UK and Ireland, spoke to Ricoh about their highly successful digital workplace transformation project, and how finding a like-minded and complementary supplier helped deliver a 4.8 out of 5 employee satisfaction rating.

In a world where workplace and employee experience are key factors for business success, Sodexo, an integrated facilities management company, had to find the right transformation partner to deliver solutions that met its unique needs. With operations in 45 countries, over 430,000 employees, and  80 million consumers served daily, Sodexo understood the importance of providing an enhanced experience for employees in their London office.

In this conversation, Sodexo’s Julie Ennis outlined the challenges they faced, the partnership provided by Ricoh, and how Sodexo elevated their digital maturity to create a thriving work environment.

“Our people are benefiting from the outcomes of this transformation, and in turn our business benefits through increased wellbeing, productivity and collaboration, I look forward to continuing the journey and partnership.”

Julie Ennis – Sodexo’s CEO of Corporate Services UK and Ireland


transformation with sodexo

Sodexo and Ricoh’s people-first ethos

Julie recognised that where people work affects their productivity and well-being. Global changes to workplace culture demand a people-first digital strategy — one that’s both flexible and agile. As such, Julie’s team identified early the need to adapt their workplace for the ‘new normal’ — and, more importantly, for the future. Attracting and retaining talent was becoming increasingly costly and challenging, so Sodexo needed to differentiate itself with environments and digital experiences that fostered creativity and well-being.

Julie went on to explain how she was first drawn to Ricoh as a complementary partner for Sodexo, as both organisations shared a similar, people-first belief system. Ricoh’s emphasis on Fulfilment through Work empowers teams to work smarter and enhance their quality of life. The founding principles set out in Ricoh’s Three Loves — “Love your neighbour, Love your country, Love your work” —  align perfectly with Sodexo’s core tenets of loyalty, transparency, integrity, and respect.

Furthermore, both Sodexo and Ricoh see digital maturity as a step further than a ‘one-and-done’ project, and agree that digital transformation is an ongoing process; it’s critical that organisations prioritise and grow their digital maturity to enhance the experience of employees, suppliers, and customers.

Read the Raconteur article on Digital Maturity: Transformation Comes of Age

How to roll out successful transformation

At the tail end of the pandemic, Ricoh worked quickly to implement a virtual receptionist system to greet visitors. The reception area now also has drop-down audio-visual and digital signage equipment for town hall meetings. Adjacent areas have Ricoh smart lockers, hot desks, and work pods for informal meetings and individual working.

The single-floor office has been split into three zones. A highlight is the open-plan collaborative area that also functions as a town hall. Employees can enjoy solo working desks, smaller meeting rooms, and a showcase area with larger meeting rooms.

Similarly, there are meeting rooms for two, five, and ten people equipped with Microsoft Teams Room solutions and conferencing equipment. One feature Sodexo particularly appreciates is the smart hubs that instantly connect laptops to conferencing equipment. Now, people no longer need to scrabble around for leads.

Leverage data insights for transformation success

In the background, IoT sensors collect data on people’s flow and facility use. The sensors measure air quality (better air increases productivity), time at a desk, and number of people in a meeting. This data can show that in one month, a room was used 73% of the time at 60% occupancy. The figures can be analysed to help make decisions on fine-tuning spaces to meet employees’ needs. Future innovations include an app to book desks and meeting rooms using a live, real-time, 3D view of the workspace.

Sodexo combined its existing resources with Ricoh’s specialist input and technical integration skills for long-term success. They ensured people were central to every decision. Ricoh’s installation expertise, project management, and problem-solving helped deliver the new workspace on time and budget. This was possible because they understood their existing digital maturity and used that to inform and set tangible goals.

“For organisations with ambitions for similar transformation projects, I strongly recommend having quantifiable KPIs in place, in order to measure your success and see how far you’ve come.”

Julie Ennis – Sodexo’s CEO of Corporate Services UK and Ireland


Knowing your goal, and how you will measure success, is critical to successful digital workplace transformation. It’s also necessary to understand your current digital maturity, as this provides a valuable starting point when calibrating your goals and gives you a frame of reference to see the extent of your success at the end of your project.

Measurable success

Sodexo has an existing workplace services team (who are tasked with implementing workplace strategies), and a corporate services team. They worked closely with Ricoh’s consultants, facilitators, installation experts, and project managers. This ensured the technology and solutions implemented would help Sodexo achieve its goal of creating a welcoming space. Now, employees can drop in and connect with colleagues and have a showcase space for clients. The redesign has saved 400m2, reducing the office size from 1200m2 to 800m2, but still supporting the same staff numbers.

“Ricoh has delivered what we wanted, within budget and without cutting corners.”

Harpreet Cheema – Senior Director Digital Development & Data, Sodexo USA


By implementing innovative technologies and streamlining processes, Sodexo enhanced its workplace and employee experience, ultimately driving business success. Sodexo’s London HQ is now an innovative workspace powered by technology solutions. Data backs up these solutions. This improves employee well-being, maximises space use, and makes their technology as efficient and effective as possible. Sodexo has managed to decrease desk numbers from 200 to just 22, while simultaneously increasing office occupancy from 35% to 50%. The workspace now achieves a 4.8 out of 5-star employee satisfaction rating.

Read more about Sodexo’s digital workplace transformation in our eBook.


Click to read Sodexo Case Study

Julie Ennis

CEO Corporate Services UK & Ireland and Country President Ireland at Sodexo