Jones Lang LaSalle’s move to activity-based working

by FM Media
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Why and how Jones Lang LaSalle moved to activity-based working at its Sydney office is shared by CHRIS HUNT from Jones Lang LaSalle. Activity-based working (ABW) has become a real buzzword in real estate circles. But what this means for facilities managers responsible for the ongoing management of these sites has received less airtime. ABW has the ability to change the facilities management landscape and presents new challenges for facilities management teams in the management of the workplace. If an organisation is embarking on an ABW project, it is critical for the facilities management team to get involved right at the start of the planning stage to give input into how the space will function on a daily basis.


Jones Lang LaSalle recently launched a new a workplace at our largest office in Australia at 420 George Street, Sydney. This new workplace is based on the principles of ABW. Our corporate solutions division developed the WorkSmart model in-house, our project and development services division completed the fitout, and our integrated facilities management team now manages the space. WorkSmart is an ABW model that incorporates enhanced mobility and flexibility through multiple activity settings and work locations. Using non-assigned desks we have increased the work points for our employees from two work settings (desk or meeting room) to eight different settings (desk, meeting room, quiet ‘hush’ room, discussion pod, team table, café, floor hub and touch and go areas). Our WorkSmart concept is about giving our people the choice to select work settings that best suit the type of work they are doing. There are spaces to collaborate or concentrate. In the development of our new workplace, our people were involved every step of the way, shaping the future of the organisation. For ABW to be successful, communication and commitment are crucial. In order to dispel the challenges that arise from adopting ABW and to ensure a seamless transition between work environments, we engaged our employees from the beginning, ensuring they were equipped with the necessary information and tools. We appointed a corporate concierge and extended our own facilities management team to look after our new space. Our corporate concierge assists in enabling the business to unlock and access the full potential of the WorkSmart environment, coordinating and organising the common or shared areas of the WorkSmart environment to support user activities and requirements. It is vital that once the investment has been made in ABW to ensure the proper ongoing management of the space. WorkSmart fits perfectly with the Jones Lang LaSalle culture, significantly increasing the efficiency of our teams through collaboration of employees, brand visibility, improved morale and reinforcement of values. Improvements in technology have also resulted in a six percent reduction in paper storage and a 66 percent reduction in energy consumption.


One of the many lessons we learned was that technology is critical. Technology underpins the WorkSmart concept. We migrated our entire Sydney workforce to laptops enabled with a wireless network, allowing people to work from any location within the tenancy. Other technology features include a wireless guest network, enhanced audiovisual and digital collaboration tools, a sophisticated meeting room management system, VoIP (voice over internet protocol) telephony and improved data management. One of the things we are most proud of is that we delivered WorkSmart@420 ourselves. Jones Lang LaSalle specialists were responsible for creating our workplace strategy, negotiating our lease and fitting out the space, and are responsible for the ongoing management of the facility. We also used our own change management resources to make sure the workplace change ‘sticks’.


Practical tips to consider when dealing with an ABW environment

  • Constant tracking of utilisation: as employees are not sitting at an assigned desk, it is harder to track space utilisation. Time needs to be invested in monitoring space usage patterns over time to identify any changes or trends.
  • Hospitality style services: the focus shifts from space to service. There is an increased focus on providing a service, rather than just managing space given the multitude of settings and the way in which the space is used, as well as the typical increase in front-of-house space where clients are invited to visit.
  • General maintenance and repairs: there needs to be a greater level of proactivity as individuals are less likely to report a fault if they do not have their own dedicated work point as they simply move to another location.
  • Reinforce workplace protocols and etiquette: facilities managers play a big role in maintaining the protocols around the way in which employees use an ABW environment. Issues include cleanliness, noise and the use of common areas.
  • Greater security and safety: given the freedom both staff and visitors have to move around an ABW space, there is a heightened security requirement. After-hours space management is also a consideration; for example, encouraging employees working out of hours to locate in one particular area of the office not only has improved security benefits, but also sustainability benefits as multiple floors do not need to be in operation.
  • Enhanced concierge function: greater visibility is afforded to the organisation’s client base. It is critical to have a dedicated resource managing the front-of-house space.

Chris Hunt is Jones Lang LaSalle’s head of Integrated Facilities Management for Australasia.

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