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Four cornerstones of successful workplace productivity measurement

Jones Lang LaSalle offers core metrics evaluating productivity and impact on business results

CHICAGO, Aug. 22, 2013 — The right workplace strategy can boost productivity and lead to better business results—and yet, there is no single commonly-accepted set of metrics that measure this return on investment. Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) workplace strategy experts have created a measurement approach based on four potential achievements that offers a path to what some have called the workplace strategy “holy grail”: measuring productivity.

“There’s no doubt that workplace strategy influences business productivity – the critical question is how to measure this contribution,” says Bernice Boucher, a member of Jones Lang LaSalle’s global workplace strategy board with responsibility for the Americas. “Our experience is that by documenting achievements in four critical areas, the contribution of workplace strategy can be measured consistently and effectively over time, even in the context of shifting business priorities.”

Workplace productivity is a pressing demand for corporate real estate executives, according to the biennial Jones Lang LaSalle Global Corporate Real Estate Trends 2013 report, which polled 630 corporate real estate executives in more than 39 countries. Seventy-three percent of corporate real estate executives face high expectations from the C-suite to improve workplace productivity, while 62 percent face high expectations for improving people productivity.

The measurement approach recommended by Boucher and the JLL workplace team includes establishing metrics aligned with business strategy that measure the workplace’s ability to:

  1. Align Supply and Demand
  2. Channel Information Flow
  3. Enable Work
  4. Deepen Relationships

Align Supply and Demand
Corporate real estate executives often focus only on forecasting the demand for space and ensuring that the right amount of the right kind of space is available. Their success depends on three primary factors: the availability of accurate data; ongoing demand information; and how the data can shift organizational needs. Over time, one measure of successful alignment is the difference between forecasted and actual demand, in terms of square footage. Another is speed of response to change – how quickly was the company able to address the gap between the forecast and reality?

Channel Information Flow
Water cooler discussions have taken on new business significance, as adjacency studies show that innovation and productivity are materially influenced by putting the right collaborators in the right space to encourage spontaneous ideation.  We recommend measuring the frequency of informal chats, progress toward cross-functional interaction, compliance with data security and confidentiality policies, and speed of decision-making.  Adjacency studies, input from legal departments and documented meetings and outcomes from functional leaders can all contribute to measuring these outcomes effectively.

Enable Work
Within the workplace, companies can use workplace strategy to improve individual productivity and satisfaction. Often, a company may find that an employee’s perceived level of productivity varies according to level of distraction, the flexibility to work in a variety of settings—whether alone, informally collaborating, formal face-to-face meetings or virtual conferences—and overall flow. 

As described in What Makes a Workplace Great?, an effective workplace strategy encourages workers to be more productive by providing a choice of work settings, technology to support mobile working in and out of the physical office, and other elements that empower and engage employees. Measuring the effectiveness of the strategy can include revenue gains, speed-to-market goal achievement, individual employee performance and operational milestones achieved.

Deepen Relationships
Employee engagement directly contributes to corporate performance – and workplace strategy sets the stage for it. Access to informal collaborative work spaces, for example, enables person-to-person connections that create a larger sense of engagement. Similarly, workplace strategies can enhance person-to-organization connections, resulting in strong brand engagement in the workplace, employee satisfaction and reciprocity of trust between the organization and its people. The depth of the relationship between an organization and its employees can be measured by identifying the sense of community, employee pride, level of satisfaction and employee engagement.

“Ultimately, the effectiveness of workplace strategy is revealed in business results,” says Boucher. “A close look at companies with strong stock performance and profitability, respected brands and an uncanny ability to attract talent will usually reveal an organization with a unique and well-thought-out workplace strategy.”

A leader in the real estate outsourcing field, JLL’s workplace strategy team is a key component of its Corporate Solutions business. By creating outsourcing partnerships to manage and execute a range of corporate real estate services, JLL professionals help corporations improve productivity in the cost, efficiency and performance of their national, regional or global real estate portfolios. This service delivery capability helps corporations improve business performance, particularly as companies turn to the outsourcing of their real estate activity as a way to manage expenses and enhance profitability.

For more news, videos and research resources on Jones Lang LaSalle, please visit the firm’s global media center Web page.

About Jones Lang LaSalle
Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. With annual revenue of $3.9 billion, Jones Lang LaSalle operates in 70 countries from more than 1,000 locations worldwide. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services to a property portfolio of 2.6 billion square feet and completed $63 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2012. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $46.3 billion of real estate assets under management. For further information, visit