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 Eddy Wagoner, Global Chief Information Officer
I’m JLL’s Global Chief Information Officer of Corporate Solutions, so I’m responsible for all aspects of JLL’s technology for corporate occupiers, including their business strategy, marketing, development, deployment and support.
I work from everywhere. When I’m not in the office I’m often working in a client space, hotel, airport or elsewhere. When I’m in the office, I hotel at an unassigned workstation near my team. And we have a clean desk policy for executives, which means we take nothing away from the space and leave nothing behind.
I’m 6-5 so I love the standing desk. I stand up all day long, and my lower back pain has disappeared. The average desk and chair aren’t made for all body types. From a typing perspective, I’m able to raise or lower it and keep my arms parallel. If you had told me I’d choose to stand all day, I’d have said you’re crazy. But since day one I haven’t sat down. Now when I’m working from home I catch myself thinking about switching my desk out.
Yes, the ability to collaborate on the fly is invaluable because I need to move at the speed of our clients.
In the office, I can see my entire team just from where I stand. As opposed to having to make appointments, I can get an answer immediately. Either in the open or in a breakout space. The activity-based layout reduced the cubes and gave us a lot more conference rooms, breakout rooms and one-on-one rooms. From where I stand, I can see three major conference rooms and a handful of drop-in rooms and know if they’re available by the light on the keypad. That saves me so much time. I’m also finding that it shakes things up a bit, because you’re running into people from other teams more often.
Outside the office, the conferencing technology has been game-changing. We eliminated the need for cords so people can connect digitally and start presenting sooner. And when I’m on the road, they’re sharing editable documents in real time. It’s really revolutionizing the way we hold meetings.
Also, the flexibility makes working remote less of a puzzle because we actually have room to accommodate people. We used to trade days because there weren’t enough unassigned desks.
I think most employees’ initial reactions were positive, but I’ve noticed a few are still getting used to the new layout. Individual workstations are smaller, so if you’re not used to a flexible workstyle like I am—and always working at a desk—then it’s a bit of a learning curve.
You have to learn to tune out noises or find your space for detailed work. That’s the biggest challenge I think: getting people to realize they can work from anywhere in the office and have the permission to do so. I tell my people not to do everything in the same seat, to find the space that works for what they need to do that day, or that moment. Some people have been tied to a desk for ten years, so this is a total shift in mentality. We’re helping to retrain them and let them know that it’s okay to sit in the coffee lounge, a high top or a phone room.
We’re not bound by a rigid corporate structure. We’re much more empowered, but we need to help some folks adjust.
I recently took my boss to the Club for a meeting—I’m part of the global team and he’s a member of the Global Executive Board—but it was casual. Employees across every level of the company walk through the Club, so to see two global execs in a relaxed space lets them know we’re approachable. Even if they didn’t talk to us, they saw us. That’s powerful transparency in a company this large.
Or let’s say I meet with my direct reports. When I take someone into a conference room to talk about client issues, challenges or even just for coaching, it takes on this formal air. There’s a whole psychology that comes into play subliminally.
That’s why the Club is so inviting. It’s not corporate space. It’s like a high-end restaurant lounge. People are more relaxed, and conversation is more collaborative and open.
Interview has been edited for clarity and length.
JLL Staff Reporter, Behind-the-scenes
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