The 4-Step Approach to Future-Proof Your Workplace

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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 fifth in a series based on research from JLL’s Workplace Strategy team, focusing on preparing your office space for the future.


It’s no secret that today’s workplace is rapidly changing, fueled by forward-thinking office space trends. Successful companies need the agility to future-proof their workplace, but what is “future-proofing” and how can it propel your business’ competitive advantage? JLL’s research team defines future-proofing as: “The process of anticipating future developments and activating solutions in order to seize opportunities and minimize possible negative consequences.”

This concept enables companies to proactively change with industry advances, rather than reactively trying to keep up. Planning ahead and tailoring your business model accordingly is a cost effective and efficient way to maintain business success.

While you can’t predict the future, there are steps you can take to help you prepare for it. Below, I’ve outlined four basic steps to consider when future-proofing your workplace.

4 Ways to Start Future-Proofing

Step 1. Identify and prioritize the most likely drivers for workplace change in your immediate future 

JLL identified the top drivers for workplace change:

  • Demand for cost reduction
  • The need to engage employees
  • Attracting and retaining talent
  • The debate on in-office attendance vs. telecommuting

Business drivers often remain the same; however, finding new and innovative solutions to these issues is critical for your business to withstand a dynamic environment. For example, new technologies have allowed employees to work from home, but many employers prefer face-to-face, in-person teamwork. JLL’s workplace strategy experts noted, “This renewed focus on being present leads to different workplace solutions.”

Step 2. Consider how the workplace can set companies up for success during changing times 

Does your company have flexibility within your existing workplace? If not, it’s something to consider when establishing your future-proof plan. If more (or less) space is needed at short notice, a dynamic space will allow companies to better adapt to demands with less money, and in less time. For helpful tips on ways to transform your workspace, check out my previous post, Build a Workplace That Nurtures Corporate Culture & Employee Productivity.

Step 3. Leverage industry best practices to get ahead in the game

Identify the best practices within your specific industry, and find ways to maintain a competitive advantage. Consider what other leading companies are doing to get ahead. What’s working (and what’s not)?

Those who successfully proof for future success often focus on (among others):

  • Ways to keep employees engaged and productive.
  • Aligning space with company goals, culture and vision.
  • Offering employees flexibility in their workspaces (mobility).

Step 4. Start today

If you don’t have your future-proofing plan in place, you’re already behind. Don’t get left in the wake of the rapidly changing workplace—start planning for the future today.

In the words of JLL’s workplace strategy experts:

“The physical work environment affects just about every part of an organization: finances, culture, work process, productivity, human capital, the ability to meet the expectations of the workforce and the ability to adapt to change.”

Consider the consequences of not being prepared to meet future developments creatively and efficiently. What happens when businesses, or sometimes even entire industries, cannot maintain a business model because it has not been adapted for the future? They are not sustainable, and often fail. To ensure that your employees, space and technological capabilities align with your business goals and the evolving business world, you need to consider a plan to future-proof your workspace.

For more information on future-proofing, download JLL’s Future-Proof Your Workplace whitepaper.

Have questions on how to future-proof your workplace? Contact me for more information at


About the Author 

Rob_RoeAs 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.