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Five ways to revitalize, refresh and renew your company’s workplace

Standing still isn’t an option in our warp-speed world. A workplace must transform with its people, or risk becoming a dinosaur. At JLL, we offer workplace strategy services—so when we committed to a renewal of our own global headquarters in Chicago, we knew we had to call in the experts: our people.

We didn’t want a top-down, “one-size-fits-all” approach. So, our first task in our employee-led transformation was to arm our best strategic experts with insights from the people who influence JLL’s success most, our employees. We look to the people who work in a space every day for wisdom; they have the best instincts for what enables their productivity and collaboration.

The employee input we gathered informed every aspect of our headquarters reinvention. With the first phases coming online in the Summer and Fall of 2016, we’ve now applied our employee input on a grand scale: we’re renewing six floors, 200,000 square feet of offices for 1,200+ people over 18 months.

When complete in spring 2017, our space will have been revamped from top to bottom to incorporate the latest strategies in workplace design, including many of the best practices we already use in our work for clients, and features inspired by direct input from our workforce. JLL has created a space that reflects our culture and values, and inspires employees to rally around business performance. We are using workspace and technology to further connect employees, improving their ability to work productively to achieve superior results for their clients and attain higher levels of job satisfaction.

However, the same rules apply even if your project is on a smaller scale. Whether you are transforming 1,500 or 100,000 square feet, one floor or ten, have 50 employees or 1000, your business will undoubtedly face similar challenges. To help, we’re sharing best practices you can use for your own workplace revitalization. We’re also giving a behind-the-scenes look at how we’re doing it for ourselves.

We learned a lot, because we listened a lot. Of those lessons, many apply to most businesses, so here are five things to think about as you begin your own journey of revitalization:

  1. COMPANY CULTURE: The company’s culture affects every facet of its operations, including the character of the workplace—where culture is most clearly felt. Being on top of workplace trends can help you create a space that reflects the kind of culture you want to foster and maintain.

  2. SITE SELECTION: After you decide whether to move or stay, you’ll want to use sophisticated technologies and expert analysis to select the best location for your organization. Your headquarters city, neighborhood and building can have an enormous impact on your brand, your people, your shareholders and your company’s future. At the same time, it’s a major investment of your firm’s financial and human capital. You want to feel confident you’ve secured the optimal solution.

  3. WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY: Different spaces work for different faces. Even the most modern workplace may not suit your organization. Make sure the space you’re designing enables your business and is suited to the way your employees want to work.

  4. BUILD-OUT: Choose the right architect and construction firm, and engage a project manager with the skills and experience to ensure that each phase of the renovation is executed properly. Real estate and construction decisions are often fixed and long-term—exactly why your layout shouldn’t be.

  5. MOVING IN: Once your project is complete, prepare your employees to transition into their modern office and enjoy all its new features. Check out our week-by-week moving checklist to make for a seamless transition.

Sure, workplace revitalization is a process. Nearly always, it comes with a long timeline and requires careful planning. There will be many surprises, disappointing setbacks and satisfying victories. In the end, however, creating a workplace that will thrive for years to come is priceless.