WorkSmart Arrives In India!

October 9, 2012 / By  

Jones Lang LaSalle moved its base in Mumbai recently to a more up-to-date office block. While the obvious difference in quality of the building and the availability of new age infrastructure and amenities gained positive reactions from the staff, it also offered all concerned the new experience of being part of JLL’s first “WorkSmart” program in India.

For those who are not familiar with the “WorkSmart” concept, let me explain how your typical employee would work. She would log in to the system as she entered the cubicle- less office in morning, receive the code for her work desk for that day, take charge of her desk-phone and laptop point and work there until she logged off in the evening! She would have a locker somewhere in the office for her belongings and with this system would have to adapt to a paperless way of working – a way of working that creates no waste paper but leaves a desk clean on top and underneath. Other JLL offices in Asia Pacific are also embracing the concept – read more about it from my research colleagues in Singapore and Sydney.

Although one benefit of the new system is that it encourages all of us to mingle with our co-workers, most of whom we know only by face, in my view, the two most important achievements that JLL made by this move in Mumbai were the huge 30% saving in its real estate costs and access for everyone to the top leadership. By doing away with cubicles and with this concept of a paperless office, I think we should be able to improve our productivity as well, with most of us able to plan our day better, optimise our field work, site visits, and client meetings and make our stay in the office much more enjoyable.

Is JLL in a minority in embracing this change? I suppose, yes, but as in real estate services, we are proud to be the pioneers! My researcher’s mind started thinking of the impact of WorkSmart on commercial real estate, and I think the concept will urge developers to be absolutely top notch in planning and delivering quality space at the right locations. It will force developers to raise their standards and be diligent about the feasibility of creating office blocks and this will lead to a significant supply correction going forward.

Just as in the retail business where the most important term is “trading density” (revenue per sq ft of retail space), the day is not far off when businesses will be measured on productivity per unit space.

Leo Tolstoy’s words – “How much space does a man need?” kept haunting me during our transfer to our new office and I am happy that we have now become much more efficient than before in consuming less space per capita. Thus, we have done our bit towards space and energy conservation and simultaneously gained improved productivity.

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