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Are Workplace Well-being and Experience Part of Your Business Strategy?

JLL report highlights increased benefits of focusing on employee well-being over tactical wellness programs

CHICAGO, Oct. 19, 2015 – Onsite fitness classes and free activity trackers are nice, but they’re just tools for building a successful workplace wellness program. To make a more meaningful investment in employee health—and gain the productivity uptick that typically comes with it—companies need to move beyond wellness and think about the more comprehensive concept of well-being.

In a new report by JLL released today at the CoreNet Global Summit in Los Angeles, Bernice Boucher, Managing Director-Americas of JLL’s Workplace Solutions team, advises looking at more than people and their physical health to drive engagement and productivity. Evidence shows investments pay off when tangible steps are taken to address the workplace surroundings and overall experience.

“There are a number of steps companies can take to transition from tactical wellness programming to a productivity-focused well-being strategy,” Boucher said. “These can start with keeping employees focused on work instead of distractions like lighting, temperature and noise. You can then take it a step further by progressing to more strategic initiatives like designing programs that give employees a sense of purpose while connecting them to their work and the organization’s strategy.”

JLL’s 2015 Global Corporate Real Estate Trends (GCRES) survey found that corporate real estate (CRE) teams have a growing interest in workplace well-being and productivity as a measure of business strategy. More than 80 percent have executed programs that “improve the quality of the workplace” during the past three years. The survey also reveals that 62 percent of CRE executives are experiencing increasing demand from leadership to facilitate more flexible forms of working for employees, while 76 percent are seeing high expectations from the C-suite to enhance overall workplace productivity.

“Fostering improved employee well-being means making thoughtful decisions about the nature of the workplace environment,” says Boucher. “It’s important to take into account all of the different components that contribute to the experience of work and well-being. This usually comes back to avoiding what I call ‘crimes against productivity.’ They exist in almost every workplace and can have detrimental effects on employee experience and productivity.” 

Boucher points to three repeat offenders in the crimes against productivity category that can be captured through comprehensive well-being programs, including:

  • “It’s too hot” or “It’s too cold.” Physical comfort can profoundly impact workplace productivity—and is sometimes easily addressed by processes that don’t require capital investment. 
  • “I can’t find a meeting room.” If innovation happens when employees collaborate – what happens when they waste time waiting for a place to work together? Designing offices with a substantial supply of collaboration and meeting spaces can reduce employee annoyance while supporting strategic objectives like driving innovation. 
  • “I don’t have the quiet or privacy to get my job done.” Concentration is critical to productivity, yet sometimes under-valued in today’s open plan offices. People who work in open areas frequently complain that they’re unable to concentrate, that there’s too much noise and distraction to get their job done. For employees who need to protect confidentiality, there’s an added layer of concern that their jobs are not being performed with the proper amount of due diligence.

To quantify the results, some corporate real estate teams are now using sophisticated data and analytics techniques to determine which initiatives are helping so they can make decisions on how to continue to support employee well-being.

“With today’s tools and techniques, we can combine real estate metrics, such as total occupancy costs, with human resource measures, such as employee satisfaction survey results, to see which facilities are most conducive to high performance,” explains Boucher. “Using analytics can help a company make smart facility investments to foster well-being and ensure they are fit for the future.”

A leader in real estate outsourcing, JLL’s Corporate Solutions business helps corporations and public institutions improve productivity in the cost, efficiency and performance of their national, regional or global real estate portfolios by creating outsourcing partnerships to manage and execute a range of corporate real estate services. This service delivery capability helps corporations improve business performance, particularly as companies turn to outsourcing of real estate activity as a way to manage expenses and enhance profitability.

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About JLL
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $4.7 billion and gross revenue of $5.4 billion, JLL has more than 230 corporate offices, operates in 80 countries and has a global workforce of approximately 58,000. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 3.4 billion square feet, or 316 million square meters, and completed $118 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2014. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $56.0 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit