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Three Things Workers Now Want from the Office by JLL San Diego

Office workers have spoken, but how well are employers delivering?
JLL Office - main

JLL Office – main

The roll out of hybrid policies is giving employees the flexibility to choose their own work settings. But it has also set the clock for businesses to provide the spaces staff want and need for their days in the office.

Relaxation spaces, healthy food services and outdoor areas top the list of amenities that can lure workers into their city offices as they seek a feeling of connectedness with colleagues along with environments that are as comfortable as home, according to a survey of office workers in the “Regenerative Workplace” report by JLL.

Knowing what will get optimum engagement and productivity from workers is one thing. But right now, only 17 percent of workers have access to relaxation spaces, 19 percent to healthy food, and 25 percent to outdoor areas. For those that do, uptake of wellbeing amenities in the office is high, with 70 percent of workers using them weekly, JLL found.

Companies who don’t take these wishes into account and build a strategy around how to implement them may find it difficult to recruit and retain top talent. This is a chance of a lifetime for employers to reconcile wellbeing with performance.

Here’s a deeper dive into the top three wishes of corporate employees.

Outdoor Spaces

Having pots of nature around brought numerous benefits to offices pre-pandemic. And during lockdowns, indoor plants became the home-worker’s must-have.

There’s a reason: nature and outdoor spaces relieve stress, boost wellbeing, bring happiness—and in the workplace—can build job satisfaction. It is why 41 percent of workers have put outdoor spaces in their top three expectations of a wellbeing-oriented office.

JLL San Diego Office

JLL San Diego office entryway

“In the San Diego office we wanted to bring the outdoors in to increase health and wellbeing. The office design incorporates a live green wall, 16-foot-tall windows that bring in an abundance of natural light, and we used natural materials throughout the space,” said Tim Olson, Market Lead, JLL.  

For outdoor space, there’s a variety of options employers can incorporate to encourage workers to take a break from the indoors. Examples include breakrooms that open to the outdoors, patio tables and benches for outdoor collaboration and exterior gardens and relaxation spaces. 

JLL - Office 2

JLL – Office 2

“In our San Diego office, the breakroom is designed with bi-fold doors to create an indoor-outdoor environment with direct access to a patio complete with lunch tables and extensive views of the surrounding area,” said Olson.

Some 25 percent of workers say they are currently able to access stimulating outdoor spaces – most likely because of existing office designs – which suggests employers have been better at delivering on this front than healthy food and relaxation spaces.

Relaxation Spaces

Collectively, workers put office spaces geared towards relaxation at the very top of their expectations. Some 45 percent of survey respondents cited it as important to restoring their wellbeing and achieving sustainable performance.

Office space should be designed to offer a working experience as comfortable as home but with a sense of community that is not possible remotely. This will encourage employees to return to the office not only to work but for team events and collaboration opportunities. 

JLL Orange County office - 2

JLL Orange County breakroom featuring flexible lounge seating

Some organizations are creating relaxation with common spaces around the best views, and with comfortable furnishings around the office such as quiet areas that are tucked away from main traffic areas, seats in an outdoor location, or reclining chairs behind curtains.

JLL Orange County office

JLL Orange County flexible focus areas and quiet space

Healthy food services

A close second, with 44 percent of workers choosing this as an important office amenity, is healthy food services. This is something global tech giants have led the way on for years.

A flexible work environment should also include flexible eating options. Employees today are looking for high-quality, easy to eat options like sushi, barista-made coffee, and fresh juices. 

Additionally, changing working patterns means food availability at various times of day must be considered. Health-conscious vending machines and snack stations scattered throughout the workplace can address this.

JLL Chicago Office

JLL Chicago lounge featuring baristas who serve coffee, tea, and beverages throughout the day 

However, office health doesn’t start and end with what’s available to eat. It also covers the surrounding environment.

By creating a whole setting approach with welcoming spaces to enjoy meals, meetings, and to work within, employees will be more productive, satisfied in their jobs, less stressed and anxious, have fewer sick days and more likely to stay with their employer.

Learn more about JLL San Diego 

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