JLL Shanghai Office at HKRI Taikoo Hui
JLL Shanghai Office at HKRI Taikoo Hui
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
JLL’s office at Shanghai’s HKRI Taikoo Hui is the first WELL Certified™ Platinum project in the Asia Pacific region, and the third WELL Platinum Certification worldwide. Dedicated to helping their employees thrive and feel at home, the team created a stand-out space complete with exciting health-focused solutions.
As shared in the project’s press release: "JLL's Shanghai project proves to the world that WELL is achievable at the highest level in China," said Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman and CEO of International WELL Building Institute. "Through this project, JLL is living its 'Achieve Ambitions' mission, demonstrating its leadership in promoting healthy building practice through putting employees' health and wellbeing at the center of decision making when investing in workplace enhancements."
Eddie Ng, Managing Director for JLL East China; Xuchao Wu, Head of Energy & Sustainability Services, JLL Greater China; and Anthony Couse, CEO, JLL Asia Pacific shared insights from their WELL certification process with us.
Why did you decide to pursue WELL Certification for JLL? What were your objectives?
“We wanted to create a better and happier working environment for our people," said Eddie Ng, Managing Director for JLL East China. "We wanted to be pioneers. Our design sought to inspire changes beyond just the physical space and foster a shift in culture. We wanted a more flexible, more agile and more productive workplace.”
At a glance:
How did your team approach the WELL Certification process?
"To facilitate a collaborative development process and ensure adherence to collective wellness goals, we engaged all department heads from the pre-design stage," said Ng. "Each representative was responsible for brainstorming ideas for the new office. Before we engaged any external consultants, department representatives met every two weeks to visit potential sites, discuss the location selection, design concepts and more. This group decided to pursue WELL Certification after a few meetings."
JLL’s workplace strategy team was responsible for the change management and regular communication to general staff. They held a number of events, including a meeting room naming competition and furniture test-out, so that all employees were engaged. Over 10 “Change Champions” were nominated from all departments as the messengers to communicate updates to their peers and get feedback throughout the project. The project team communicated the project progress and decisions to these Change Champions regularly.
Intent: To reduce distractions, mitigate stress and enable focused work by integrating a stimuli management program within the building.
Wellness is a palpable focus as soon as you enter the office. Instead of a traditional reception area, which creates a separation between the receptionist and visitors or employees, a simple table is located in an open space at the front of the space. This openness enables better connection and communication, which helps build community.
Flexible space remains a constant theme throughout the space with the adoption of activity-based working, a workplace strategy that provides people with a choice of settings for a variety of workplace activities. For JLL, acknowledging that people work in different ways is essential for inspiring productivity and empowerment. Employees can choose to work and meet in the Aurora Café, a breakout area, an individual working area, a phone booth or a workstation. The flexibility provides more options for employees and allows for more collaboration, productivity and engagement.
To remove indoor and outdoor airborne contaminants through air filtration.
In some offices, low lighting, increased CO2 and possible air quality issues caused by fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can make conference rooms unpleasant places to experience. However, JLL employees feel very comfortable, energized and productive in the meeting room of their new office. Because the WELL Platinum office prioritized Air features within WELL, the meeting room has excellent air quality and helps keep people healthy and alert. The circadian lighting also infuses energy into the space.
Intent: To reduce physical strain and maximize ergonomic comfort and safety.
In addition to the meeting room, the “15-Minutes-Room” is incredibly popular among employees. No seats are provided in the room and the light automatically turns off after the room is occupied for 15 minutes, reducing prolonged sitting and encouraging meeting efficiency.
"Our office does not include fixed seating for any employee, including senior management,” said Xuchao Wu, Head of Energy & Sustainability Services, JLL Greater China. “Instead, everyone chooses where they want to work each day. To reduce prolonged sitting and encourage physical activity, 30% of the workstations are equipped with height adjustable desks. These workstations are the most popular and are claimed early every day. We also initiated a “Clean Desk Policy” to encourage tidiness, flexibility and connection. We require employees to clean their chosen desk before leaving. A locker, accessible by smartphone, is provided to each employee to store their work supplies. This policy encourages employees to sit in different places every day so they can meet and connect with different colleagues."
"Employees are often out of our office for meetings or business trips, so we reduced the number of seats and significantly increased the occupation rate of each seat," Wu continued. "According to employee feedback, many people said their productivity increased in the new office when more space was made available for collaboration areas, gyms, showers and other functions that benefit employee wellness. Another unexpected side benefit of the new seating arrangement in the office is the clear decrease in printing volume since employees do not have a fixed place to store huge documents and putting documents in their lockers to take out every day is inconvenient."
What challenges did you face as you were incorporating WELL features? How did you solve them?
"The journey towards WELL Certification was exciting and challenging," said Wu. "It encouraged us to explore an innovative and meticulous approach to design, construction, operation and decision-making. We faced a number of challenges along the way related to several WELL features."
The successful pursuit of WELL reinforces JLL's commitment to its staff, and the company's strong belief that a healthy and happy workplace can enable colleagues to work more productively. The co-working style in the new Shanghai office allows employees to collaborate effectively in a flexible, smart office environment and provides an inclusive and inspiring atmosphere where clients can visit and work.
Air Filtration System
The base building’s air filtration system was already in place, but WELL Certification at the Platinum level requires a higher target than the local code requirements and was especially challenging to meet in extreme weather. After reviewing the design and installation of the base building’s air filtration system and conducting several rounds of screening, JLL ultimately chose an independent air filtration system that is not connected to the base HVAC system.
The independent system, unlike some other options considered, requires extra space and therefore called for a more strategic layout. The system’s unique sensor detects and controls the indoor air quality in our office. However, during the days when the base building system sufficiently ensures indoor air quality, the system automatically turns off.
Air flush, which is critical to reducing VOC levels, posed a challenge for JLL. The JLL team said that using the fresh air system of the base building to meet the total air volume requirements was unrealistic for their construction schedule. Because the office does not have operable windows, JLL did not have the option of using multiple indoor fans to flush out all the air. Fortunately, the landlord was supportive of JLL's goals and allowed them to use the exhaust fan in the base building’s fire system at night for air flush. Due to the enormous volume of the exhaust fan, JLL was able to complete the air flush in three weeks.
CO2 and Fresh Air
JLL felt that ensuring that the CO2 levels were within the WELL requirements was critical for employees' health and productivity, especially in meeting rooms where employee density is high. The base building already had CO2 sensors in place to control the fresh air volume, but the team decided to add additional CO2 sensors, which would automatically notify JLL staff if the CO2 level went above the allowable level, as a double layer of assurance.
Many people today are physically inactive, potentially in part due to prolonged sitting in offices. Physical inactivity can pose a threat to human health. The WELL Building Standard encourages providing a space and equipment for exercise. JLL decided to include a small gym, but had some initial concerns. The office is located in the center of Shanghai and space is expensive. The team was worried it wouldn’t be worthwhile to dedicate space for a gym and wondered whether people would use it. In spite of those fears, the gym has turned out to be popular and well accepted by employees and management.
The JLL team also placed the shower room right next to the gym, so it is conveniently accessible after exercise.
Numerous chemicals and improper cleaning techniques can undermine indoor air quality, emitting VOCs and leading to health effects including eye, nose, throat and skin irritation and sick building syndrome (SBS). The base building employed the same cleaning company for all tenants and the original cleaning approach within their standard service scope did not meet the WELL Building Standard's requirements. Thus, JLL had several meetings with the cleaning company to modify the specification and the contract terms so they would align with the team's goals.
Intent: To nurture the innate human-nature connection within the project.
Exposure to views and images of nature can help to speed up healing and recovery time, boost positive feelings and reduce negative ones. This is essential to employee mental health in a fast-paced working environment. It also sets a pleasant tone that makes staying in the office more enjoyable. The floor plate and much of the furniture is made of polished reused wood, which creates a pleasant feeling of walking in a beautiful forest. The eco wall connecting two floors not only provides a beautiful and healing view in the office, but also encourages employees to take the stairs more often and be more physically active. The fish tank, which has 360 degree views, is a place employees and visitors pause to enjoy. The smart design makes the fish appear to fly freely in the air and serves to life the spirits of those in the space.
Intent: To thoughtfully create unique and culturally-rich spaces.
A physical space in which design principles align with an organization’s core cultural values can positively impact employees’ mood and morale. Integrating aesthetically pleasing elements into a space can help building employees or visitors derive a measure of comfort or joy from their surroundings. The floor plan is inspired by the highly connected street network in Shanghai. This enables employees to walk around the office and stay connected with each other. An image abstracted from the map of Shanghai is incorporated on the glass doors and partitions to celebrate this culture. Words representing JLL workplace culture are also displayed in many areas in the office.
What positive impacts resulted from your WELL Certification? What post-certification metrics can you share related to outcomes?
JLL's new office has fostered a better and healthier working environment: JLL shared that it has solved many of the problems they would have faced in a more conventional setting. Several team members shared their thoughts on standout features of the new space.
“When we bring our clients to this new office, they are amazed by what we have achieved. We are setting the trend. We are creating the future of work, an atmosphere where people are happy and healthy. That’s our ambition!”
-Eddie Ng, Managing Director, JLL East China
"I think it is fair to say that this is the most unique office that I personally have ever been in."
-Mark Andrews, China Head of Industrial & Life Sciences – Integrated Facilities Management, JLL China
“A great workplace, in my opinion, is a place that I can meet a lot of great people. I am always inspired by people around me, they are strong both physically and mentally. They always inspire me to work harder and achieve more."
-Louise Luo, Manager, Markets, JLL Shanghai
Looking to the future
“WELL Certification is a performance based program that encourages ongoing maintenance. Achieving WELL Platinum Certification is a new beginning. We keep collecting operation feedback and looking for innovations on how to further advance in workspace wellness,” says Wu.
"Becoming WELL Certified is just one example of a wider culture which develops world-class teams where talented people learn from and inspire each other. It is this culture that allows innovation to thrive, and keeps JLL one step ahead by bringing together market-leading knowledge, technology and insight," said Anthony Couse, CEO, JLL Asia Pacific. "Looking to the future, JLL's aspiration is to make sure that all the new offices in Asia Pacific are WELL Certified, since we believe that through providing the very best working environment, we can make the most of every opportunity – in our careers, for our clients and for our business, around the world."
WELL scorecard: See the features the JLL project achieved within each concept
|Fundamental water quality (P)|
|Inorganic contaminants (P)|
|Organic contaminants (P)|
|Agricultural contaminants (P)|
|Public water additives (P)|
|Periodic water quality testing|
|Drinking water promotion|
|Fruits and vegetables (P)|
|Processed foods (P)|
|Food allergies (P)|
|Hand washing (P)|
|Food contamination (P)|
|Artificial ingredients (P)|
|Nutritional information (P)|
|Food advertising (P)|
|Visual lighting design (P)|
|Circadian lighting design (P)|
|Electric light glare control (P)|
|Solar glare control (P)|
|Low-glare workstation design|
|Right to light|
|Interior fitness circulation|
|Activity incentives programs (P)|
|Structured fitness opportunities|
|Exterior active design|
|Physical activity spaces|
|Active transportation support|
|ADA Accessible Design Standards (P)|
|Ergonomics: visual and physical (P)|
|Exterior noise intrusion|
|Internally generated noise (P)|
|Thermal comfort (P)|
|Sound reducing surfaces|
|Individual thermal comfort|