News release

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

Companies to focus on design and decentralisation as they prepare for re-entry

June 22, 2020

organizations prepare to return to the office amid an easing of lockdown restrictions across Asia Pacific, many are considering how their corporate real estate portfolios should look in the ‘next normal’. According to a survey by JLL, more than 80% of its clients have started to explore alternatives to keep their business operational or carry 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 help corporates navigate the complex re-entry journey. The guide also highlights how companies can re-assess their office footprint with decentralization scenarios or re-designs that can 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 people head back to the office, our clients’ number one priority is to ensure that they’re welcoming people back to a safe and healthy environment.”

This includes setting up private, enclosed workstations, fitting social and break-out spaces with labels or physical dividers, or even installing thermal imaging technology in the building lobby and reception areas.

“In the Philippines, we are already seeing clients considering fewer workspaces on their production floors as a means to improve social distancing. However, in some cases, the footprint of the workstations are slightly larger and with higher partition panels,” said Calum Swinnerton, JLL Philippines’ Head of Project and Development Services.

He also cites other measures being considered to improve employee well-being, including the installation of Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)-rated filters on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technology systems to help filter out viruses; ultraviolet lights to kill viruses; and automated sliding doors on main entrances to lessen contact.

“The market will evolve based on lessons learned due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Swinnerton.

JLL Philippines' report "The implications of the COVID-19 lockdown on the Metro Manila Real Estate Market” identified health and wellness to emerge as a critical aspect of building and office design.

“We may see developers and occupiers place greater emphasis on building health as they incorporate health and wellness elements in their buildings and offices moving forward. In addition to applying for green certifications, the industry may now include WELL certification as part of the norm,” says the report. The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being.

Swinnerton adds, “The benefits of fresh air quality to the office environment is not just becoming more publicized in terms of well-being to the occupants of the property, but also in terms of higher productivity and fewer lost work days of staff. Green building initiatives such as LEED, BERDE, and WELL, which has standards on fresh air requirements, is becoming more commonly implemented by developers for their buildings. This also becoming a growing demand of existing and future tenants as their corporate responsibilities.”

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