Build a Workplace That Nurtures Corporate Culture & Employee Productivity

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By: Rob Roe, Managing Director of Jones Lang LaSalle, Great Lakes Region

Today’s leading businesses are rethinking their workplace strategies. Companies are looking to design and occupy spaces that better reflect and serve end goals. This post is the first in a series based on newly released research from JLL’s Workplace Strategy team on trending changes in office space. 

JLL research recently discovered that 72% of CRE executives are now being held accountable for improvements in workplace productivity. As a result of this trend, executives have sharpened their focus on cultivating an environment that encourages creativity, focus and teamwork.

So, how do you create the ideal workplace–where employees have the freedom to collaborate, yet also retain the focus to innovate?

While building (or renovating) your space, we suggest incorporating the following 5 principles into your workplace strategy–taken from JLL’s new whitepaper What Makes a Workplace Great?

5 Ways to Increase Workplace Productivity

1. Encourage Open Collaboration 

The traditional cubicle model is no longer functional. Cubicles separate–fostering individual work and, possibly, silos. They also limit flexibility for changes in space utilization. According to JLL research:

“The “ownership model” of assigning a seat to every employee is no longer sustainable, given that 50 percent of desks will be vacant on an average day in a typical company.”

Yes, individual space is necessary and critical for deep thinking and intense focus; however, the modern workspace must also provide a common area, aside from a formal meeting room, to encourage open collaboration among team members. Collaboration is key to problem solving, and also fosters a more creative atmosphere where employees can share ideas and build relationships with one another.

2. Foster Company Culture

Your office space should be reflective of company culture. The look and feel of your space mirrors your culture, and will most definitely impact first impressions–whether it be a customer or a partner.

The workplace is the permanent residence of employee production and innovation. It’s critical to nurture a culture that reflects a company’s mission and values­–one that bonds employees with the brand and the business. This will likely boost employee retention, along with productivity. According to JLL, “A shared mission—not specific policies—creates a resilient, high performance organization.”

3. Empower Your Employees

People are more productive when they have the freedom to choose which space is most conducive to the task at hand. To provide this luxury, integrate different zones into the environment–including formal meeting rooms, casual collaborative areas and isolated spaces. Employees can then choose surroundings that best contribute to productivity. Additionally (an added benefit) people are typically more loyal to companies with this type of structure.

4. Build For The Future 

Investing in office space is often a long-term commitment. Build a workplace that will be sensitive to future growth, or likely, changes in technology. A rigid model may limit access to additional employees or updated technologies–resulting in a move, and consequently, more spending. From JLL:

“Organizations need to ensure that they have the appropriate infrastructure, not only to support their current business but also to support their future growth.”

Technology is constantly evolving. Make sure your space can adapt to new upgrades to your networks, security systems, data collection, etc. Otherwise, you’re likely to lose a competitive edge in your industry, as well as your ability to excel beyond current operations. 

5. Make the Office the Desired Destination  

Because of new technologies, many have the ability to work from a remote location, also known as telecommuting. This does offer convenience for some, but it lacks key traits of a great workplace–including “cultural identity and sense of community.”

If done right, the workplace should be the ultimate destination for all employees. It should be the perfect mix of social interaction and isolated focus­–ultimately creating a space where they feel most productive and most in-tune with the corporate community.

Your workplace strategy will truly have a lasting impact on business success. The quality of your workplace will impact productivity, as well as employee retention. Those who feel inspired and connected with team members are more likely to find happiness in their place of work. A happy team is a productive one. According to JLL’s What Makes a Workplace Great?:

“Integrated teams provide a smooth flow of information shared decision making and an appropriate allocation of resources. This translates into the right people in the right space with the right tools available at the right time: a formula for success.”  

Download the full whitepaper, What Makes a Workplace Great?, or visit the second post in the workplace strategy series on the growing role of office space

Are you rethinking your workplace strategy? Contact me for more information at

About the Author 


As managing director, Rob’s responsibilities include real estate transaction representation and consulting services for Jones Lang LaSalle. View Rob’s full bio to read up on his experience and recent transactions, or connect with him on LinkedIn.