After 19 years with JLL, Mary feels the culture now more than ever.

A new workplace shows physical and organizational growth, but once construction is over and your people are moved in, what do they really think? No two employees are the same and though surveys and studies paint a nice overview, there’s no substitute for direct feedback.

From executives to accountants and the concierge, we’re talking to JLLers who work in our redesigned office to see how the space really works. Join us as we discover how employee experience can differ in the very same space, which workplace features meet which needs—and how to help when they don’t.

Meet Mary Davenport, Senior Program Manager.


What’s your role and where do you work within JLL’s headquarters?
I just started a new role in business planning and program management for JLL Business Services (JBS). I’m working with a Global team on transforming our Shared Services platform. It’s part of a broader strategy to enable productivity and support innovation for JLL and our clients. This is an opportunity for me to work with JLL colleagues around the world. I’ve always had Americas-based roles before so this is very exciting for me.

I’ve been at JLL for 19 years on and off (!) and I currently sit on the 43rd floor of the Aon center. I first worked in HR, then changed careers to start a communications role on a client account. I left the firm for a bit to experience life with a start-up (HomeMade Pizza Company), but I missed it here. I was thrilled to come back in 2009 in a project management role.

This was fall of 1998 after my promotion from HR Assistant to HR Associate. So much privacy and storage and wood paneling. Most of us sat here in Aon, and collaboration outside the office was pretty limited. When I look back, it was a very silo-ed way to work, but it was really all we knew. A desktop computer, a dot matrix printer and a phone.

Has the new space changed the way you work?

Absolutely. What’s made the biggest impression on me is having flexibility to work anywhere while feeling like part of a team. New technology definitely helps me stay in touch, and I feel more connected to my colleagues across the business.

When I first started working here I couldn’t work remotely because I had to come in every day for that giant computer. I remember writing what was at the time our first flex-time policy, thinking wow, wouldn’t this be nice. Later I could use a dial-up connection from home, but that was sluggish at best. When I worked with clients, I was at other offices and rarely came to Aon because it was hard to connect. Flash forward to now, I have access to phenomenal technology and a variety of work spaces so I can be productive anywhere. I work with people in all areas of the business, not just the ones in the cubes around me. Because we can meet anywhere, I don’t have to be chained to my desk.

That’s where I see our rebranding and renovation playing a huge role. JLL has always had that collaborative team culture, but now you can feel it and see it. Even if you’re not always here. The new space definitely makes me want to come to the office, but I’m still connected when I’m not at Aon.

Do you think they captured the feeling of JLL accurately?

Oh, definitely. It’s funny, at one point we had something like nine core values. I’m glad they distilled it down to three.* Those absolutely resonate with who we are and that’s reflected in the physical space now too.
*Teamwork, ethics and excellence, if you’re curious.

What’s your favorite feature of the redesign?

If it’s a physical feature, it has to be the Club. To have a space like this within our floors is so convenient when you’re busy. Some days, just taking an elevator down to Starbucks to meet with someone feels like it takes too much time. Now, this amazing social space is three floors away at most. You can feel the energy, but it’s not noisy or distracting. I occasionally go there on my own to get things done.

And I love that you can connect with people that you might not see otherwise. Networking is so important. I’ve had three careers in this building and I didn’t get there by sitting at one desk. You have to get out and get up and meet people during the day. For your sanity and for your work. The Club encourages that.

Lastly, tell us a quick story from your first weeks getting situated.

I had been dying to get into the new space. When the renovations started, our floor was the first to move out and the last to move in, which meant my team spent 18 months in the swing space. That gray, uninspiring, non-designed rental floor. Blah. We were literally counting down to Move Day. Of course once we finally did move, I didn’t get to sit at my new desk until the end of that week. I was in back-to-back meetings—good thing all the conference rooms were renovated too!

Interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Hear more employee stories:

Eddy – the traveling executive
Deanna – the broker
Jose – the receptionist

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About the author


About the author

JLL Staff Reporter, Behind-the-scenes
A team passionate about delivering valuable content and tools about workplace to help you deliver the best experience to your employees.

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