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Office space has been a trending topic over the past two years. Executives have been forced to ask the question “Why are we paying for office space?”. For some, the office is simply a place you go to work. Physical space is just a box to check, and cost is the primary driver of real estate decision making. For others, the purpose of the office has been reimagined and redefined. Forward-thinking companies recognize the office is a place that, when approached thoughtfully and utilized strategically, is a major tool to help solve talent challenges, enhances company culture, and infuses organizational energy by bringing people together.
If you’re an employer or decision-maker, how do you view your office space? Is space a tool for your company? Or just a place to go? 82% of U.S. decision-makers agree that the office will remain central to their organization’s ecosystem over the long term. So, it’s crucial to know where you stand compared to others in your industry.
To help the dollars make sense (or should we say cents?), let’s take a look at how the office can be used as a tool to:
- Solve top talent needs
- Connect to the company vision
- Empower employees to do their best work
- Enable the new purpose of the office
Solving for top talent needs
When solving for top talent needs, employers tend to consider wage increases and bonuses first. However, CCI Consulting’s 2022 HR Insights Survey finds a toxic culture is 10.4 times more likely to contribute to attrition than compensation. How might your office be used as a tool for building culture, recruiting top talent and retaining the amazing team you already have?
- Promote work flexibility. Flexibility is not a passing phase. Organizations need to transform their workplace model to accommodate hybrid work. Examples of these changes include having dedicated technology-enabled collaboration spaces, enhanced connectivity and Wi-Fi, and flexible hours during the workday.
- Embrace mental health and wellbeing. Mental health and wellbeing have become more important than ever. 59% of employees expect to work at a company that supports their health and wellbeing, ranked second in priorities at work after quality of life. In the future, providing access to gym facilities will no longer be sufficient. Employers will have to take care of their workforce’s minds by managing their stress levels and shaping a safer place of work for them.
- Promote career development opportunities. The office continues to be an effective way to gain mentorship from managers and company executives. 52% of people agree that the office the best place to learn and grow and 70% agree it’s the best place to manage or be supported by management. Positioning your office as a tool to help develop younger talent will be crucial for long term success.
Connecting to the company’s vision
Work is now expected to provide a greater meaning in people’s lives and a stronger alignment with personal values. This is especially true for Generations Y and X that are more likely to question the role that work plays in their lives. Employers have an opportunity to acknowledge this and create new career development paths and enhanced working environments that that not only invite people to learn but also to share their knowledge and skills.
More generally, employers can take advantage of the importance of work in people’s lives through creating meaningful and inspiring workplaces. heir offices must become destinations where employees can experience a strong community, sense of belonging, and alignment with a common purpose.
The built office is an opportunity to physically display a company’s vision. At JLL, our vision to “See a Brighter Way” is embodied in our built space as you transition from a traditional, suburban office building lobby to our 11th floor entrance with a modern, edgy buildout that includes biophilia, our culture wall that shows personal and professional pictures of the team at work in the community, a functional café / coffee bar, and a dynamic, collaborative work area that exudes the energy we bring to our clients. We aren’t just telling you who we are – we want you to experience it yourself.
Empowering employees to do their best work
In a dramatically changing world where people are reassessing their ways of working and living, priorities are shifting.
Do you know what your employees need to do their best work? Today, 25% of employers require a percentage of time on-site each week, yet our research indicates that by 2025, most work schedules will be employee-choice. To get there, employers and employees will need to have a mutual agreement around work expectations. Trust will be crucial between both parties – that there is a reason to come into the office and that the employee is empowered to manage their relationship with their workspace.
Enabling the new purpose of the office
Many organizations are thinking through ways to entice their employees back to the office. People are going into the office to connect with their peers, interact with leadership, and collaborate with colleagues.
Today, offices need to serve a multi-faceted approach, with less “me space” and more “we space,” encouraging movement and connectivity. New offices are incorporating informal gathering spaces for celebrations, flexible workspaces resembling the comforts of home, shared conference spaces for collaborative conversations and green space or outdoor access to support mental and physical health.
You will only unlock the true value in your office if you spend the time to be thoughtful about the new purpose it serves to your organization. Your office can bolster your company’s culture, provide space for innovation, support your talent attraction and retention efforts, and help employees connect with their teammates. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, modern data and a human perspective can guide your strategic efforts and help you determine what’s right for you. Your office space should support your company’s vision and initiatives, and if you need help, we’re here.
Matt, Meghan and Alicia serve on the Indianapolis-based JLL Tenant Representation team as trusted workplace and real estate advisors. They help organizations navigate the world of hybrid work, identify the right space in the ideal location, and deliver an inspiring workplace experience.