News release

JLL says offices will face a ‘new normal’ in the future amid COVID-19

Companies focus on design and decentralization as they prepare for the next normal

June 04, 2020

Shanghai, 4 June 2020 - Following the easing of lockdown restrictions across Asia Pacific, organizations are preparing to return to the office. Many are considering how their corporate real estate portfolios should look like in the ‘new normal’. According to a survey by JLL, more than 80% of its clients have started to explore alternatives to keep their businesses operational or have carried out certain modifications to their offices.

The real estate firm’s latest ‘Guide for Workplace Design Considerations’ outlines some short- to long-term priorities, including space planning solutions, tech-enabled experiences and operational functions, that will help corporates navigate the complex re-entry journey. The guide also highlights how companies can re-assess their office footprint, considering decentralization scenarios or re-designs to protect their businesses and people in the long run.

“Office re-entry will be a gradual and multi-phased journey that is likely to evolve as economies open up again,” says Martin Hinge, Executive Managing Director, Project & Development Services, JLL Asia Pacific. “As employees head back to offices, our clients’ number one priority is to ensure that they’re welcoming people back to a safe and healthy environment.”

“In the short-term, organizations will need to find ways to deliver quick adaptations to the workplace, ensuring safety and comfort for employees. However, in the long term, business leaders will face decisions about their workspace usage against a backdrop where social distancing may be required for a protracted period,” says Gonzalo Portellano, Head of Portfolio Design, JLL Asia Pacific.

“From China’s perspective, even before COVID-19, workplace design was undergoing a revolution that included space planning solutions and tech-enabled experiences. The outbreak has only accelerated the pace of those changes. China has, generally, moved past the period of workplace reopening in the aftermath of the outbreak. We see a trend in which our clients are using this period to re-evaluate their workplace needs and requirements,” said David Cole, Head of Project & Development Services, JLL China.

In the long run, organizations may have to decide how to plan and optimize their office footprint in a cost-effective manner, according to the guide. It points out that decentralized working hubs may soon be on the rise, as they enable remote working from different locations, reducing the commute time and increasing convenience for employees.

“Companies may start shifting their offices from prime locations to smaller and more versatile hubs across the city. These tech-enabled hubs can be located in areas supported by good infrastructure, public transport connectivity, and that offer lower rents,” says Portellano.

“Looking ahead, we anticipate that organizations will take bold steps in office transformation, be it with decentralization or spacing designs. The evolution of the office will no longer be about how people occupy spaces but more about how people use and interact with spaces.”

To learn more about JLL’s ‘Guide for Workplace Design Considerations’, please click here.

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $18.0 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 94,000 as of March 31, 2020. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit