JLL Creates Workplace Of The Future At Revamped HQ

The sweeping skyline views remain the same, but the perspective inside is changing as JLL employees begin moving into two newly reimagined floors at the company’s corporate headquarters in Chicago’s Aon Center. The firm just completed the first phase of a total office renovation that covers 200,000 square feet on six floors and impacts 1,500 employees who were instrumental in shaping the revitalization.

JLL corporate headquarters culture
Source: JLL

When complete in spring 2017, JLL’s space will have been revamped to incorporate the latest strategies in workplace design, including many of the best practices it already uses in its work for clients and features inspired by direct input from its workforce. Following principles outlined in its recent Fully Engaged report, JLL has created a space that reflects its culture and values, and inspires employees to rally around business performance. The company is 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.

Connection, Choice, and Agility

Early in the process, JLL found through a survey of all employees at its office in Aon Center that they thought they were mobile 30 percent of the time — but seat sensor data confirmed they spent nearly half of their days away from their desks. Additionally, almost 25 percent said they wanted more opportunities to interact with colleagues in other business teams. JLL leaders combined this data with input from focus groups to work with Gensler, its architectural partner, to design a cutting-edge office that would satisfy the four generations of employees who work there.

“Our workplace strategists collected a wealth of information and crafted a plan that addresses three things we found our workforce values most – connection, choice and agility,” said Greg O’Brien, JLL’s Americas CEO. “The result is a workplace that works for our employees. We found that our people want to connect more, so we designed our space to drive that aspect of our culture and give our employees what they need to be happy, productive and successful.”

JLL corporate headquarters culture
Source: JLL

Dan Ryan, Midwest Market Director for JLL, added: “What makes this office especially exciting for our employees is the ability to work in a space that is as innovative and customized as the offices we help our clients create. It’s great to live by our own best practices and see how our workplace helps our employees drive even better outcomes for our clients.”

JLL’s new corporate headquarters features a dramatic two-story reception area with breathtaking views where employees and visitors will feel welcomed and energized from the moment they arrive. The new Client Experience Center is an interactive space that will showcase JLL’s innovative commercial real estate tools and technology.

The key to improving employee productivity and stimulating collaboration is offering the latest in innovative space design and “in-workplace” technology, including:

  • Workplace studios: JLL’s new corporate headquarters features activity-based neighborhoods called “studios” that offer far more flexibility and productivity than other open-plan offices. These work areas feature adjustable-height desks to encourage standing, large adjustable monitors and sound-absorbing privacy panels that move up and down with desktops. All furniture is on casters so employees can shape their spaces rather than be confined by set layouts.
  • Productivity and technology: Technology will connect every facet of the new headquarters space, including new phones that efficiently perform “first-ring hunts” to reach desks first and then mobile phones. In conference rooms, employees will use smart whiteboards to collaborate with colleagues in other locations and dual monitors to view web-based content and presentations simultaneously. Remote meeting attendees can participate via enhanced video conference capabilities and contribute content to presentations using laptops, smartphones or other devices. Employees can reserve rooms with easy-to-use tools, including touchscreens for making reservations on the fly.
  • Focus on sustainability: Consistent with its focus on green environments, JLL will seek LEED certification for its healthy workspace. To support long-term ecological balance, the office will feature LED lighting and sensor controls that automatically dim lights for a 40 percent reduction in energy and low flush and flow water fixtures that yield a 35 percent reduction in water use. Additional ecological features include zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and sealants, FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) wood from sustainable sources, increased recycling stations on each floor and composting bins to collect organic waste for delivery to a nearby composting facility.
  • Choice and agility: JLL dramatically increased the number and variety of meeting spaces. JLL’s studies showed that more than 80 percent of meetings occur with two to four people so there is an ample supply of reservation-based huddle rooms for these small groups. There also are conferences rooms for meetings with larger groups and smaller rooms for private, quiet work and phone conversations. The cafés on each floor have been designed for dining as well as meetings and social get-togethers. In addition, the new office fosters “workplace collisions” with open areas that spur engagement and connection between groups, consistent with JLL’s collaborative culture.
JLL corporate headquarters culture
Source: JLL

“Our workplace is about giving employees choices and helping them connect,” said Ed Nolan, Senior Vice President for Workplace Strategy at JLL. “Today’s workforce is collaborating more than ever. Our employees need to be less tethered and more agile. With flexible workstations, leading-edge conference room technology and welcoming café spaces, we’re providing settings that will energize our employees and support their productivity and health.”

Connecting Employees To Culture

Research has shown that companies that successfully connect and engage employees yield almost 150 percent higher earnings per share compared to their peers. What’s more, companies that actively develop their culture return 516 percent higher revenue and 755 percent higher income.

“The one-size-fits-all model is no longer relevant,” Nolan said. “If you’re not using the workplace to engage your people and offer them choices, you’re missing an opportunity to connect them to your organization’s culture. That, after all, is the fabric of any successful business. It has to be a ‘one-size-fits-one’ approach to be effective.”

To learn more about the process JLL undertook to create its space, visit, a website that showcases JLL’s headquarters project and contains valuable information and resources for companies exploring similar projects.