Reinvent Your Office in 2015: Workplace Strategy Tips

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By: JC Pelusi, Market Leader, Managing Director, JLL 

Incredible, innovative and intelligent workspaces exist in our own Midwest backyard. Fast Company highlighted the recently renovated and re-designed Quicken Loans office in downtown Detroit, for example.

The physical workspace is an indisputable factor in employee satisfaction and production. A strategic office space can drive cost reduction, attract and retain talent, and fuel employee engagement. It’s the backbone of any business, and the home-base for big decisions and milestones.

That’s why JLL’s regional team decided to conduct a survey to learn more about what businesses in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania prefer when it comes to office space.

Pinpointing Trends: Open vs. Closed Office Space

Do cubicles accelerate actual production of work, or do they limit creativity? Does real estate even matter when professionals are job searching? These are the types of questions we asked local professionals. We weren’t surprised that 80 percent said their dream office would include a good mix of open and closed space.

A few other trends uncovered include:

  • Fifty-one percent of respondents work within a mix of open and closed space, and another 36 percent work in a traditional office.
  • Thirty-five percent said open, collaborative office space hinders individual productivity. But, 16 percent said it fuels productivity.
  • When considering a new employer, real estate is a factor in 70 percent of respondents’ decision-making process.

The future of your business will be influenced by your space, but remember that there is no universal rule for the perfect space. Every business should observe its particular work styles, and build in amenities and features that cater to those preferences.

4 Tips to Improve Workplace Strategy in 2015

1.  Set goals. Does your organization heavily rely on straightforward, individual, work? Or, rather, does your team seek to create a more collaborative and open environment? Seek to identify the intent of every workspace utilized by those that drive your organization. Consider how office space impacts bottom-line business performance goals, such as cost savings, output, productivity, portfolio management, occupancy, and so on.

2.  Optimize your office portfolio for cost savings. Assess how your space is being used, and which (if any) areas may be underutilized. New research from JLL recommends attention to the following:

  • How many seats and desks are allocated? Are any of these areas primarily vacant throughout the day?
  • Who uses the office, and how many people primarily work out of office?
  • Does the office receive frequent visitors? How does this affect your space?
  • What’s the intended environmental culture – focus on individualized work or a collaborative environment?
  • Is the office density maximized? How many seats exist per square foot?

3.  Reframe and rethink. Create a space that fosters valuable work. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every business. Evaluate which types of office spaces will appeal to your prospects and customers—while enabling your employees’ best work. Our best recommendation is to provide a mix of spaces—open, busy, collaborative, creative, private, quiet—so every work style is accommodated by an ideal environment.

4.  Remain agile. Keep your options open; iterate based on employees’ rapidly evolving workplace preferences. Remaining flexible will help your business keep up with the latest office trends—and outpace competitors at a minimal cost.

How will your office space fuel business growth in 2015? We’d love to hear your thoughts or see pictures in the comments below!

For details about workplace strategy, download JLL’s latest white paper putting a new model for real estate to work.

JLL Reinvent Office

About the Author

JC Pelusi_Headshot_webJC Pelusi is an International Director for JLL and works out of the Pittsburgh office.  As the leader for JLL’s Great Lakes region, JC has extensive experience in a variety of areas, including Corporate Account Management and Transaction Services.