The office as an experience

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July 20, 2017

By: Katie Rodrigues, Vice President, JLL Strategic Consulting

Recently, I made a presentation at the AVI-SPL TechExchange. The information shared was on the topic of the changing nature – and design – of the corporate workplace. Considering our largely IT audience, how technology has totally changed where and how people work was the primary focus.

A big part of the reason for this is the impact technology has on worker mobility and productivity.  According to Gartner, 70 percent of enterprises see providing more mobile support to employees as a high or critical priority over the next 12 months.  Where once employees used to be asked to adapt to new technology in the workplace, now employers are tailoring technology to employee and workplace requirements.

Along with this change in approach to technology, companies are realizing that the office can become an experiential place for employees.  This is morphing the traditional office into an organic, less structured, more flexible environment with a focus on employee engagement and well-being.

Tech Enabled Experience

 

Ten years ago, IT represented about 7% of a typical tenant’s interior construction budget.  Today, IT and audiovisual requirements can routinely exceed 25 percent of total build out cost, not to mention the technology that is allocated to individual devices. Digital Experience is one of the key factors driving workplace trends. JLL’s new Future of Work website takes a deep dive into workplace topics like human experience, innovation, operational excellence and financial performance.

The alignment of technology and how people want to work continues to be lacking. That’s typically because IT is one of the last pieces of the workplace design process.

Not only is it important that technology is considered earlier, but that the people who will actually use the technology are engaged and educated about what they will be provided.  “If you build it, they will not always come.”

Creating the Creative Environment

 

New office designs are incorporating gardens and exercise space to encourage employees to take short breaks that yield better overall performance and to encourage socialization in the workplace.  And, to allow employees to concentrate more efficiently while they are on the job, library-style ‘heads down’ quiet spaces are being created even in open office environments.  Meanwhile, shared space where employees can meet, mingle, collaborate and create now represents almost half of all new office footprints.  Mobility provided by technology is a critical element to making these changes work.

Improving Employee Engagement

These types of changes aren’t just being made in a bid to improve productivity inside the office, although project results suggest productivity is significantly enhanced.  What’s really at play here is a bid to actively engage employees.  According to a Gallup survey on the State of the American Workplace in 2012, 70 percent of employees were either not engaged or actively disengaged in the workplace. Why engage?  Because Gallup’s survey also showed that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share.  This means an increase in profitability and productivity.

Well-being in the Workplace

 

Another key element to the creation of a productive office environment, one that is taking hold in more corporate offices today, is an emphasis on environmental design and employee well-being.  Investments in better acoustics, more natural daylight and views, greater thermal comfort and ventilation and ergonomic chairs and desks can provide five to six percent increases in productivity.  Even here, technology plays an important role.  Customized apps for smartphones can assist employees in controlling lighting, temperature, and ventilation.  Apps can also make it more convenient to make on the spot bookings for conference and meeting rooms and order food, audiovisual support and other meeting services.

To read more about workplace productivity and improving overall office health visit these links:

About me

I specialize in workplace strategy and change management for commercial real estate and workplace interiors with a wide variety of industries and markets. I’m skilled at facilitation and implementation, training delivery, and design research and earned a master’s degree focused on design and human factors from Cornell University.

You can reach me by phone at +1 (415) 395-7207 or via email at katie.rodrigues@am.jll.com.

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