Why an office move is more than just a physical relocation

Our work is shaped by our surroundings. When you're choosing your next office space, these four key considerations should drive your decision-making.

September 02, 2022

An office move is more than a physical relocation: it is an opportunity and potential springboard for business transformation.

The decisions we make in terms of our offices come to define the way we work. They have the potential to provide better opportunities to a team and even better service to clients. For generations, architects have recognised the extent to which our work is shaped by our surroundings. Despite this, the impact our choice of office space can have is often overlooked.

Thinking about relocating offices? 

Consider the following…

Brand perception
An office is the physical embodiment of your company. It’s the shop window as well as the shop floor. Office space can communicate a lot about a company’s identity, ethos and values. What your staff and clients feel when they step in can determine how your organisation both functions and is perceived.

Room for growth
Whatever the size of business, whether it’s a start-up or global company, growth is often the goal. Future-thinking with regards to office space will allow you to upscale supply to meet demand or change the way in which you work when the market changes.

Better collaboration
While we’re certainly better set up for working from home than ever before, offering great scope for flexibility, there’s a lot to be said for the natural benefits of working together – physically. The ideal office can encourage relationship-building, spontaneous chats and unscheduled creativity.

Company culture
One of the key takeaways of lockdown was the collective desire to return to the office. Not only because it provides a distinction between work and personal life, but because it possesses an energy and culture different from home. The same can be said for a new office space.

“After one year in our new CBD offices, I realise I had underestimated the positive impacts the workplace had on our business in terms of team wellbeing and client interaction,” reflects Hamish Stallworthy, Senior Director at JLL Christchurch. “Since moving, it feels like the pieces have fallen into place - there’s a new energy in the office and the results are speaking for themselves.”

Practising what we preach

JLL Christchurch and Wellington have both made decisions to relocate to new offices.

In August 2021, JLL Christchurch relocated from a standard, city fringe building to a premium, high-profile CBD space in the Ngāi Tahu Iwikau complex. It now neighbours other like-minded companies while enjoying the very best that Christchurch has to offer right on its doorstep.

JLL Wellington was long based in Jackson Stone House, before moving to a temporary home at The Generator on Waring Taylor Street. 

In late 2021, JLL’s capital-based arm signed a lease in Willis Bond’s Site 9 building on the Wellington waterfront. Due for completion in mid-2022, the new space is already considered to be among the city’s most prestigious buildings. Base-isolated with sweeping harbour views, it was designed by leading practice Athfield Architects. It will also be home to other Grade-A tenants, including law firm Bell Gully and co-working provider Servcorp.

We spoke to Hamish Stallworthy, Head of JLL Christchurch, and Jonathan Manns, Head of JLL Wellington, about their decisions to relocate.

What prompted the decision to relocate offices?

Hamish: Our old office was a temporary solution after the earthquakes. It was never intended to be a permanent home. We wanted to create a platform for excellence, profile and presence, set amongst some of the central players in the New Zealand economy. Our neighbours are now PwC, Vero and EY, to name a few. Of greater importance, our team needed a space that would set them up for success.

Jonathan: JLL Wellington is undergoing the most significant transformation in its 35-year history. We’re committed to building the most proactive, welcoming and collaborative work culture in the city’s real estate market. This is attracting and retaining the top talent, which is translating into instructions to work on the very best projects. Our new energy and market position demands a new home. This is a statement of both who we are today and where we’re going to be tomorrow.

What was the brief for the new office spaces?

Hamish: The primary brief was a central location with a high-profile CBD presence and signage opportunity. Another key consideration was building our auction business, so we needed to ensure the space worked to hold on-site auctions. Moreover, our team is growing so we require a comfortable and flexible working environment, with enough space for growth.

Jonathan: We want to deliver an exemplary modern office which reflects our values and new ways of working, as well as being a reference point for our clients. It’s important that we’re not only advising people what best-in-class looks like but occupying it ourselves. Client and staff experience has underpinned every design decision, every step of the way, with an uncompromising attention to detail at each stage of the process.

Did the past two years affect the type of space you were looking for?

Hamish: We were already planning a move when Covid-19 hit, but it definitely helped shape our decision-making process. We wanted to ensure the team had plenty of space for physical distancing. The Iwikau building is energy efficient and sustainable, while offering sensor-monitored ventilation to ensure above-code air quality. 

Jonathan: It’s made us even more focused on delivering a forward-thinking and adaptable workspace. Our fit-out will position us ahead of the curve, with wide-scale video-conferencing options and a range of working environments, from collaboration areas to quiet rooms and fixed-desks to informal landing stations. This offers us the flexibility and resilience required to respond best to the needs of our staff and clients.

How do the relocations help meet JLL’s broader business objectives?

Hamish: Our main objectives were to set up the business for the long-term. We can now attract and retain quality team members in a competitive landscape and promote a truly collaborative environment. In a sustainability sense, the Iwikau building received a 4 star Green Star rating and a 4.5 star NABERS rating. There has been a concerted focus on sustainability and low carbon emissions by the architects, engineers and Ngāi Tahu, including technologies like aquifer-source heating and solar panels. 

Jonathan: The relocation of our office is absolutely fundamental to the repositioning of our brand in Wellington. It’s a visible, physical step forward as a business. It defines us as an organisation that values quality and in doing so it offers the very best for our staff and clients. We need an office that embodies and sustains our market offering and I’m very pleased to say that we’re on course to achieve that.

What is JLL doing to engage the communities in Christchurch and Wellington?

Hamish: I’m very proud of the team who is always eager to put their hands up to help others. Last year a team of us volunteered at the City Mission Foodbank, a programme we continue to support. This year, we are partnering with the Ronald McDonald House Family Dinner Programme and will be attempting to impress the families staying there with our culinary skills!

Jonathan: We’ve put the notion of whānau front and centre in our thinking. We’ve embedded thinking about community into everything we do. We’re actively leading initiatives within both the business and the wider industry to support diversity, equity and inclusion in every possible way. We’re also engaged with national government policy reforms alongside partnerships with local businesses, schools and charities.

The decisions we make in terms of our offices come to define the way we work.

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