JLL Report Cites Design as a Tool to Enhance Workplace Engagement

Fully Engaged, a new report from JLL, explains why office design is a key element to increase workplace engagement and productivity gains.
Bernice Boucher, Managing Director of Workplace Strategy, Americas, JLL

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Three is the magic number when it comes to enhancing employee engagement, according to JLL’s new report, Fully Engaged. The commercial real estate firm presents the “3 E’s” of employee engagement, adding “expression” to a formula that already included “efficiency” and “effectiveness.”

Workplace expression is a tool that utilizes the physical design of the work environment to convey company culture, link employees to brand values and demonstrate appreciation of employees. JLL notes in the report, if employees have only a vague concept of what their company stands for, then the value of the client service they provide will be limited.

The importance of workplace expression can be seen in the numbers: JLL cites recent studies indicating that the cost of employee disengagement to businesses in the U.S. totals approximately $450 to $500 billion a year. However, those businesses that cultivated their company culture experienced 500 percent higher revenue and 750 percent higher income.

JLL has created a reliable recipe for effecting successful workplace expression. The first ingredient is a deliberate office design that allows cultural values to inform employees and generate engagement among them. Additionally, a mixture of office deign, objects and systems is required to demonstrate the company’s appreciation of its employees and their work. Successful workplace expression also includes an environment that offers workers options in their daily work habits, thereby empowering them and directing their energy toward organizational goals. And finally, an atmosphere that enhances internal buy-in and direction is also key.

“Workplace expression shifts the office from being just a pleasant comfortable background, to being an active cultural lever for shaping employee perceptions, motivations and behaviors,” said Bernice Boucher, JLL’s managing director of workplace strategy, Americas. “It transforms a ‘place of work’ into ‘the best place to work for.’ If employees believe they are part of the best workplace, they are going to produce their best work. If employees feel they are an important part of an organization’s journey, they will bring their best effort to achieve your goals.”