Unlock employee and profit potential with individual-friendly work space

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Do you think employee happiness is just a nice to have? Think again. Employees are a company’s most important asset, and happy employees just might mean higher profits. This USA Today article uncovered that publicly traded companies in the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list have gained an average 10.8% a year since 1998. Many of the publicly traded companies named as Best Companies to Work For in 2013 saw impressive stock performance, including Whole Foods which soared 31%, vs. 13% for the S&P 500.  Marriott gained 28%.

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These companies invest in employee happiness year after year. But where do you begin, when work is evolving at neck-breaking speed? The Staples Advantage Workplace Index revealed five trends that will significantly impact how we work, which provide a practical framework to leverage the physical workspace to boost employee engagement.

At JLL, we recognize that office design is about more than just aesthetics, which is why we’ve made strategic investments to redesign our headquarters at Chicago’s Aon Center to adapt to the new way of working and maximize employee engagement, productivity and happiness.

Even small updates can make a big impact – especially when it comes to helping solve the conference room conundrum! We make updates to many offices across Ontario, West LA and Downtown LA. And the most requested upgrade? More conference rooms!  Ensuring the office is outfitted with the appropriate spaces for employees to convene and share ideas has had a positive impact on collaboration, productivity and creativity.

Here are the five trends to consider when creating a place you want to go to work, not just the one you have to:

Fueling productivity through wellness:  Employee wellness goes beyond good health. Wellness initiatives make sure employees have access to the medical care they need, the resources to navigate and understand the programs offered, and the motivation to prioritize their wellbeing.  At JLL, wellness also encompasses behavioral and mental health services, access to discounts on gyms and fitness centers, nutritional counseling, and a wellness coaching program.  Employee wellbeing helps create a harmonious workplace where employees are happy and healthy enough to be their most productive selves.

Wielding sustainability in the war for talent:  68 percent of employees surveyed say that a company’s sustainability practices factor into their career decisions.  “Greening” the office and creating one where employees are inspired to do their best work are no longer separate activities. Daylighting controls and adjustable LED lighting are just two of the ways that JLL, and other companies can provide the greatest environmental impact and bottom line value while also creating an ideal experience for employees.

Matching freelance flexibility: The desire for better work-life balance means two important changes for the workplace:  the need to make room for non-traditional or occasional workers and support for the alternative workday, whether that means connecting outside the office or during odd hours. Ample unassigned workstations, a variety of spaces to support impromptu workers with dedicated space, and advanced teleworking technology are a few of the accommodations at JLL’s new HQ.

Bridging the telecommuter gap: The more technology evolves, the greater the expectation on employers to support out-of-office work. Telecommuting improves work productivity, work-life balance, and boosts employee happiness.  Advanced video conferencing and whiteboards allow freelancers to actively contribute to presentations and other documents, whether they’re working from home on an iPad or viewing from a smartphone on the road.

Designing for a diverse workplace: Workplace design is evolving to reflect a more diverse and mobile workforce, and employees say it improves their creativity, work ethic and interest, too. To accommodate a diverse workforce, space should offer small phone rooms, mid-sized huddle rooms, larger conference rooms and shared “neighborhood” spaces. A variety of furniture styles can let people work and socialize as they prefer.

Being on top of workplace trends can help you create a space that reflects the kind of culture you want to foster and maintain.  Companies that optimize their physical space and embrace their company culture create a greater opportunity for employees to optimize their potential as well.

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