Property group reveals first glimpse of its new North West office

A CGI of the breakout area at Landmark

Property group JLL has unveiled the first concept images for its new North West office as it prepares to move into the Landmark building in Manchester’s prime city core.

The firm is set to overhaul the way its employees work, engage with one another and interact with their new workspace as it sharpens its focus on themes of collaboration, productivity, wellness and sustainability.

Andrew O’Donnell, JLL’s UK real estate and workplace director who is playing a key role in the transition, is working with a change-management group to coordinate the workplace strategy for the new office in St Peter’s Square.

The strategy will serve as a blueprint for JLL offices around the country.

He said: “Our new North West office is actually setting out our new workplace standard for all our other UK offices with this move – we’re going to trial a completely new way of working to inform our national plans and future office changes.

“We want to create a versatile, contemporary office space which can accommodate a modern-day workforce – something we can’t do at our current place.”

The team has worked with Tétris Design & Build, a commercial fit-out specialist which is a fully-owned subsidiary of JLL, to bring its vision to life, with CGIs depicting sweeping, foliage-filled open spaces.

“We are putting people at the core of this workspace,” added Andrew.

“When talking about workplaces, people have long extolled the virtues of the ‘third space’ – collaborative and breakout areas – but what if you were to make the third space the first space?

“This is what we intend to do at our North West office, making collaboration the key focus of the office and the centre of the experience.”

He said the office is being designed with the primary goal to enhance interaction between colleagues and clients, centred around a welcoming social and open meeting space.

Desk space at the office will be less than 50% of the space in comparison with the traditional office mode, which is typically 80% desk space or more.

“We will be breaking down barriers to form an open working environment in which we can all work alongside each other as one team.”

Ultimately, it is anticipated that the new set-up will further boost JLL’s bottom line, as team members will be equipped with the tools and spaces to better serve clients. However, as Andrew points out, that’s not the only area of focus within the change strategy.

“Enabling people beyond collaborative space is, of course, key. We really do take the productivity of our people very seriously. We’ll be pushing the boundaries in employee wellness in the office to provide people with the very best environment to operate in.

“We’ll be looking at everything from air quality, to maximising access to light, improving water quality, and providing healthy food options. The office aims to be one of the leading workplaces for employee wellness in the North.

“We’ll also be further embracing digital technology, providing tools to enhance employee and client experience and also our understanding of it.”

He added: “This will incorporate things such as workplace sensors; environmental sensors; new collaboration technologies; high-definition video conferencing; and, most importantly, the technology to map how people are using our space so we can re-configure it to work best for them.

“Your workplace shouldn’t be fixed – it should evolve with your people.”

Design for the reception area

Last week JLL made a corporate commitment to occupy only net zero carbon workplaces by 2030 and to mainstream net zero carbon buildings across the UK.

Andrew said: “Whilst this office won’t be net zero immediately, it is being used as a ‘test bed’ to apply the UK net zero carbon buildings framework and we will share learnings with our clients in due course.

“It is also being used as a ‘test bed’ to trial energy- and resource-efficient solutions. We will procure 100% renewable electricity and we plan to use this project to measure and establish a baseline for embodied carbon in our workplace fit-outs.

“Energy reduction targets for the new office are over 20%, and we’ll also have EV charging from renewable electricity.

“We are also exploring new, circular office solutions – because not all our furniture needs to be new – and a high level of recycled products in our finishes. We’re always exploring innovative procurement routes and procedures and will be doing so again here again with a focus on sustainability.”

JLL is due to begin fitting out its new office in November, and the team is scheduled to move from its current location at 1 Piccadilly during the first quarter of 2020.

The firm has taken 13,896 sq ft on a 15-year lease.