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Sustainability in Business is Driven by the Will of the Employee, Says JLL

Business Sustainability is Driven by the Will of the Employee, Says JLL
27 January 2021
 

Professional services firm JLL puts the global shift towards sustainability as being driven by employee demand.  

The report, "Reimagine: the new future of work to shape a better world" also predicts that the future of work will involve companies prioritising the health, wellness and mental wellbeing of employees.

There will also be a great transformation of the workplace, with the traditional office evolving to become a central hub redesigned for employee interaction, collaboration, innovation and education.

Insights from the report were covered in a virtual event attended by ThisWeekinFM, featuring industry experts from Barclays, Discovery Inc and Vodafone, who highlighted the trend towards hybrid work ecosystems that include flexible, office-based and remote working. 

 

“The question businesses now face is how to get the hybrid model right. We know people want a choice between remote and office working. This will require investment in what we refer to as ‘the club’; the headquarter space, to ensure the experience and environment that employees are looking for to drive performance exists. We’re starting to see decisions being made and a shift in both business models and portfolio choices to reflect the new way of working.” 

–Sue Asprey Price

Head of UK Corporate Solutions and Occupier Clients, JLL

 

Climate Change Action not Just a Government Mandate

 

With the built environment estimated to account for more than 40 per cent of global energy consumption, and for approximately one-third of the world’s carbon emissions, real estate has huge role to play in net-zero goals.

Not only will real estate planning have to meet zero-carbon initiatives, but people also want to be a part of a company with a purpose and commitment to a more sustainable world.

This issue was recently echoed by Atul Bansal of Sheila Bird Studio, who managed several office refurbishment projects in Manchester. He spoke about buildings needing to have a “pulse” a real social purpose and shared values to attract the right occupiers. 

He said: “As social and environmental responsibilities become critically important in the corporate world, meaningful investment is about more than bricks and mortar and short term thinking. 

“Words that were considered soft and fuzzy like health, happiness and creativity are now being seen in customer briefs. Location and square footage are always going to be important, but organisations are questioning the values of a building, and whether it aligns with theirs as a business.

 

Workforce-Centric Model 

 

Community, creativity and health are three key pillars of Sheila Bird Studio’s office designs, and this aligns well with JLL’s assertion that the future of work is hybrid with a firm focus on the employee.

Companies are searching for ways to reinvent the office and give employees reasons to return to their workplace and a new report by JLL says the focus must be on the workforce.

“As we look towards a post-pandemic way of life, it’s important to compare experience and share best practices. The panel discussion confirmed the seismic shift towards a workforce-centric model and a renewed focus on what is important to employees, such as quality of life and well-being,” said Mark Caskey, CEO JLL Corporate Solutions, EMEA.

 “A new purpose for the workplace is emerging and employers need to evaluate what that means for their business model. We must collectively build toward a more connected, sustainable workplace which aligns with employee expectations.”

 

Sue Asprey JLL

Picture: a photograph of Sue Asprey Price. image credit: JLL

 

Hybrid Work Ecosystems Here to Stay

 

As the trend toward hybrid work ecosystems advances, offices continue to act as collaboration spaces and centres of innovation. Employees still retain a strong affinity for the office. JLL data found that 70 per cent of employees find the office environment is more conducive to team-building and creative collaboration. Remote work patterns will likely consist of two days a week in the office, while many employees (74 per cent) are considering a four-day week.

“The question businesses now face is how to get the hybrid model right. We know people want a choice between remote and office working,” said Sue Asprey Price, JLL’s Head of UK Corporate Solutions and Occupier Clients speaking at the event. 

“This will require investment in what we refer to as ‘the club’; the headquarter space, to ensure the experience and environment that employees are looking for to drive performance exists. We’re starting to see decisions being made and a shift in both business models and portfolio choices to reflect the new way of working.” 

 

Health and Wellness a Huge Area of Investment

 

Perhaps the greatest legacy of the pandemic is the deepened focus on individual health and well-being.  The health and wellbeing of the workforce, including a safe and healthy working environment, are paramount to business success. In 2021 and beyond, new styles of management will continue to evolve, prioritising innovation and inspiring company culture.

“The pandemic is a human problem, so it is little surprise there is increased focus on what the workplace can do to support wellness and wellbeing,” said Mara Cummings, Senior Vice President, Global Real Estate Planning & Development, Discovery Inc. 

“It’s important to take a considered approach to next steps; to gather all the right data and make small changes along the way, given the pandemic continues to evolve. Not everyone’s experience is the same and so businesses need to listen and apply a tailored approach.”

Picture: a graphic showing a series of silhouettes with speech bubbles above them

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 27 January 2021

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