Nationally recognized news sources are bringing new, well-deserved attention to Pittsburgh.
Along with recognition for the well-established energy sector and the announcement of the new Royal Dutch Shell cracker facility, Pittsburgh is also being recognized as a hot spot for big technology. With a thriving and growing talent pipeline from world-renowned universities, this city is called home by companies like Google, Uber and Argo Al.
Add competitive wages and an eager workforce, and the JLL Pittsburgh office was the obvious choice to host the firm’s national hub for Lease Administration and the national call center. The additions of these hubs grew JLL Pittsburgh from a 40-person to a 450+ person firm—making it the city’s largest commercial real estate firm.
Spearheading the three-floor fit-out were project managers Shelley Boyle from JLL, Megan Corrie from Turner Construction, Patti Andritz from Franklin Interiors and Jennifer Askey from architect Perkins Eastman. Each of their stories chronicles a unique start in construction and architectural design. Andritz entered the field straight out of high school in the 1970s. Askey and Corrie dabbled in architecture and construction before finding the ideal pursuit. Askey earned a degree in architecture; Corrie went into construction. And Boyle admired her aunt’s work in interior design enough to follow in her footsteps. After stints in architecture firms, she entered project management. Together the team has nearly 75 years of experience.
The dreaded cubicle isn’t as scary as some assume. In fact, some workers are at their most productive behind a desk, within private space. That’s why JLL designed a space with the perfect balance of collaborative, closed and free address space. This cross-discipline approach helped the project team deliver a flexible space for today’s needs and allows JLL to grow without taking more space in the future. JLL is even hopping on the hot-desking trend—allowing employees to switch up where they sit (or stand) daily. Bottom line: we designed our space for the ultimate flexibility in individual work styles.
JLL knew employee feedback was critical to success and helping to drive change management. JLL organized focus groups representing 20 percent of the employee population across businesses. That exercise’s key themes drove the design process that ultimately revitalized the JLL work space.
The new office building offered not only favorable tenant improvement allowance including an outdoor patio area, it also offered a significant branding and signage opportunity. Known now as JLL Center at Tower Two Sixty, two JLL logos adorn the western and eastern façades of the newly developed, mixed use building. Market Leader and Managing Director JC Pelusi said the signs reinforce JLL’s growing involvement in the region’s most prominent development projects. As an example, JLL is currently working with the Pittsburgh Penguins to develop 28 acres at the former Civic Arena site; and with Continental Real Estate Companies on leasing and continued North Shore office development.
“Having a visible presence locally reflects our dedication to the city’s growth,” said Pelusi. “We’re proud to be part of a community undergoing revitalization. And Market Square in particular continues to be a hub of activity for our region.”
JLL is confident the building signage will communicate its brand’s identity beyond the real estate industry, giving current and future employees a sense of pride and supporting recruiting efforts.
JLL’s new office environment had to deliver a workspace meeting a diverse workforce’s expressed needs –
while accommodating headcount growth and achieving better functionality and business value.
Reasonable enough, but look at the challenges and opportunities:
JLL configured and infused function into three new floors. To promote flow between floors, several unique and desirable work spaces and social spaces were strategically placed on each floor.
In advance of the move, JLL employees voiced their thoughts and needs through our “Change Ambassadors.” The Change Ambassadors team was made up of representatives from all JLL Pittsburgh service lines.
With a blank canvas, the JLL Pittsburgh office wanted to pay tribute to some of the communities, people, and industries that helped put Pittsburgh on the map.
The perception of privacy (higher panels, cubicles) is not reality. Higher work panels won’t keep a conversation confidential. If you need privacy, a private room is the best solution. JLL scattered these rooms strategically throughout the workspace, giving everyone the ability to ensure quickly available privacy.
With new technologies like dual screens at each desk and display screens in all conferencing areas, most groups significantly reduced their file needs, specifically at individual desks. One group reduced from roughly 1000 file drawers to 200!
JLL couldn’t predict all the thoughts, ideas and challenges facing the creation of a functional and engaging workspace. But it’s fun to share. So for your education, edification and enjoyment, check out some favorite Aha! Moments.
JLL’s team is known for office space thought leadership within the industry. The new space helps bring those best practices to life. This unique perspective is shared with partners, clients and prospects by conducting almost daily tours, and by hosting events, meetings and roundtables within the space.
By incorporating employees into the process with JLL’s “Change Ambassadors” program, decisions can be presented and discussed prior to implementation, allowing everyone’s voice to be heard.
Setting a strong tone at the top helps develop strong culture. When the Market Leader gives up his office, it’s noteworthy. And when your senior leadership leads the way by suggesting varying meeting locations, encouraging free addressing and hosting internal and external events onsite, the pieces fall into place much more easily.