JLL’s ‘Space Exchange’ Helps Cos. Participate in Brave New World of Workplace Mobility

Jones Lang LaSalle is preparing for a more flexible work world, in which employees work both onsite and offsite, as opposed to being limited to a single office, by launching a new Internet resource called Space Exchange.

The world of work is radically changing as technological advances allow workers to work outside the office, whether from home, from other offices or from public sites, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

In fact, workers may prefer having this very freedom to work offsite, said JLL. The company is accordingly advising its corporate clients to provide a greater choice of work spaces that are not necessarily properties that they own or lease long-term.

“More workers crammed into the same, or less space, isn’t always the best outcome for corporations,” said Bernice Boucher, JLL’s managing director of workplace strategy in the Americas. “Companies can both lower occupancy costs and enable the productivity of employees by creating a mix of flexible work environments.”

JLL is preparing for the new, more flexible, world of work in which workers work both onsite and offsite in a variety of workspaces, as opposed to being limited to a single, unchanging, office. The company has launched a new Internet resource called Space Exchange, which was announced at CoreNet Global Summit in Las Vegas last month.

The service will enable companies to lease out their unused commercial space, thus monetizing any unused or underutilized real estate they currently own. Correspondingly, companies can rent commercial space on a real-time, as-needed, basis throughout the country so that they do not have to lock themselves into expensive long-term leases.

John Hampton, JLL senior vice president, said that by the end of the year, the service will be available in 3,000 locations around 300 cities across the country. Subscribers to the Web site pay a subscription and user fee to JLL. JLL is currently in conversations about 35 clients about the service, said Hampton, who led JLL’s development of the service.

Powered by LiquidSpace, the cloud-based Space Exchange will service short and medium-term workplace requirements via the Internet or mobile apps. Space Exchange is “the first and only services and marketplace solution tailored to the unique needs of large enterprises seeking to modernize and optimize their workplace operations,” said Mark Gilbreath, CEO and founder of LiquidSpace.

Companies who rent commercial space through the service can see which employees are currently using which space, said Hampton. That is one of the “beauties” of the system, he told CPE. He also agreed that the online Space Exchange will share synergies with JLL’s global brokerage service.

Companies need to evolve “beyond co-working and into viable proworking programs,” said Hampton. The proworking strategy reduces real estate costs for companies and provides “workers with greater choice as to where they want or need to work,” he said.

JLL’s Global Corporate Real Estate Trends 2013 reports that 62 percent of corporate real estate executives have increased workplace density globally during the past three years, and 80 percent of corporations expect to increase space utilization even more during 2013 to 2016. The survey was based on responses from 630 corporate real estate executives in 39 countries.

But according to JLL’s Boucher, companies need to do more than reduce real estate use or increase office density. Instead, companies should use technology to “improve the productivity of the organizations’s greatest assets—its people and its culture” through improved and more flexible workspace designs.

“The clear trend is toward flexible, high-density and high-quality workplaces that support collaborative work. The end goal is increased employee engagement and improved talent recruitment and retention,” said Beaudoin, JLL’s Research Director for the Americas region.

In the meantime, Space Exchange will enable clients who are still tied to long-term leases to “get in front” of the worker mobility trend, whether by renting, or renting out, commercial space, Hampton suggested.