The modern office layout has transformed the way we interact with colleagues, and there’s more we can do to improve staff productivity and wellbeing
A positive working environment is key to getting the most from your employees. Comfortable stylish furniture, quiet rooms, workspace areas and food and drink facilities to name a few can provide tangible benefits for a workforce.
Ten years ago when I joined King Sturge as an associate, it was only the equity partners who had an office within the floor plate. Now in 2014, I lead a team of 130 at JLL and don’t have my own desk. I do however have a locker, personalised by art postcards in defiance of the absence of personal desk space.
Today the working environment in which I operate could not be more different from that of my early working years.
Hierarchies of management are swept away by the simple reality that the first staff in get the first choice of desk. For those whose preference is a spot by the window
The traditional workplace has transformed over recent years. The conversion to a hot-desk environment comes with significant financial benefits to a business in growing rental markets but it can also introduce cultural change to an office. Hierarchies of management are swept away by the simple reality that the first staff in get the first choice of desk. For those whose preference is a spot by the window, this may mean an early start. There may be clusters of colleagues who gravitate around a fixed administrative desk layout; but the flexibility provided is a great way for a large team to meet and get to know each other.
Some control is needed especially around graduates and new joiners who need the discipline and support of the team and their line managers but the mobility throughout the floor creates an exciting buzz and greater awareness around skills and clients.
JLL recently unveiled its newly designed Warwick Street headquarters in London’s West End - designed to inspire employees, increase productivity and nurture talent. The new office design has enabled people across all areas of the business to easily integrate with one another. We have quiet rooms for concentration, or confidential calls and spacious breakout areas for quick informal meetings. A large creative zone has been introduced which can be used for flexible working and team meetings. A rather exciting addition is our new coffee bar run by external company Department of Coffee and Social Affairs which has proven incredibly popular and brings a taste of the outside into the office.
As well having an office that supports the wellbeing and productivity of its staff, the quality and layout of our new office accommodation provides an amazing insight into the approach we can take with clients, particularly occupiers. It is a great working example of the kind of workplace we can create for them and demonstrates that we practise what we preach.
Helen Gough is head of JLL’s Buildings & Construction team