JLL re-opens Chicago headquarters, bringing office openings across U.S. to more than 75

Company targets 100 U.S. office openings by end of July, focuses on employee safety and well-being in post-pandemic environment

June 18, 2020

CHICAGO, June 18, 2020 – As local governments continue to lift restrictions to allow companies to bring employees back into workplaces, JLL has re-opened more than 75 offices in the United States, a little more than half of its total portfolio, including its flagship headquarters at the Aon Center in Chicago. The company is on track to re-open nearly 100 U.S. offices by the end of July.  

The re-openings follow the company’s moves outside the U.S., where most of its facilities have welcomed employees back in partial capacity over the past few months. JLL employs more than 94,000 people across 80 countries and, to date, has opened 84 offices in Asia Pacific and 78 offices in EMEA. The firm is utilizing learnings from those regions as it continues its re-entry in the U.S.

Consistent with its advice to clients, JLL is implementing shifts to reduce the number of employees in the office at one time. For example, at Aon Center the firm is bringing back no more than 25 percent of employees during Phase 1, which is also in compliance with both city and state restrictions.

“The majority of our employees have told us that they are eager to return to the office, and we are pleased that many of them now have that option in the United States,” said Mary Bilbrey, JLL’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Head of Corporate Real Estate. “Our people tell us that that being in the office makes them happier and more productive.”

Bilbrey acknowledges that a return to the office is a personal decision.  “We recognize that some employees view re-entry differently depending on their personal circumstances – such as their commute, family obligations and personal health situation – and JLL will continue to support work-from-home arrangements for employees. It’s all about listening to our employees’ feedback and concerns as we navigate the ‘next normal’ together.”

JLL employees’ desire to return to the office reflects larger trends around the world. According to JLL’s global survey of 3,000 office workers from corporate occupiers, 58 percent indicated that they missed the office. Despite some headlines around the future of technology companies’ office needs, 69 percent of those people surveyed from the tech industry indicated that they’d like to return to the office. Younger employees were also more likely to have a desire to return, with 65 percent of those 35 and under indicating a yearn for a return to office life.

JLL is implementing a phased approach to re-entry that emphasizes employee health and safety as its top priorities. Revised space plans to promote social distancing, signage that outlines safe hygiene practices, rotational shifts, cleaning protocols and distribution of cloth face coverings to employees are some of the practices in place.

“We are taking an active and pioneering role in demonstrating effective re-entry strategies that support employee experience, engagement and safety,” said John Gates, CEO, Markets, JLL. “We, along with many of our clients, are certainly rethinking space requirements, but not the need for the office.”

Over the past few years, JLL’s annual Occupancy Benchmarking Report has shown that organizations have been increasingly allocating less square footage to individual desks. However, the current need for social distancing has led to the requirement of greater “de-densification” of office space. As of mid-May, the JLL occupancy planning team had developed social distancing plans for nearly 150 million square feet of client space, with nearly half of those clients reporting a loss of 50 percent capacity or more for their floors.

“Ultimately, it could be the need to de-densify space, combined with office worker’s desire for human interaction that drives the “next normal” of offices around the country in the near-term, as longer term needs are being assessed,” Gates concluded. 

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $18.0 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 94,000 as of March 31, 2020. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit