Booking short-term office space online with JLL's new Space Exchange

  FeaturedWorkSpaceJones Lang Lasalle (JLL) is getting into the match-making business. In this instance, it’s matching employees with work spaces.

The company has launched Space Exchange, a new service designed to align workers and venues in an approach known as proworking.

Proworking originated out of a Scandinavian research project to understand the requirements of productive knowledge work. The study concluded a company should redefine the workspace as being wherever workers are most productive.

Adapting to change

The idea is timely as contemporary ideas of work and workspaces are rapidly changing. According to JLL, companies globally are struggling to define the right mix of workplaces with an increasingly mobile and connected workforce.

At the same time, the firm says most office space companies own or lease is under-utilized for 60 per cent of a typical work day.

Using proworking, JLL wants to align the workforce with business goals, match people to places in which they are most effective; create engaging work environments; and expand beyond the boundaries of a company’s current portfolio.

“Our goal is to help corporations support virtual working and to boost the productivity of under-utilized facilities to improve business performance,” John Hampton, senior vice-president of JLL’s corporate solutions business, said in a release. 

“We are helping companies quickly and easily apply the proworking approach by offering mobile employees the ‘right space in the right place,’ those locations where the workers want to be with the resources they need.”

Space Exchange is designed to connect corporations with a vetted network of professional locations outside of a company’s portfolio and manages those locations on an ongoing basis.

The program couples those services with access to a real-time online marketplace for short and medium-term needs.

LiquidSpace, a virtual firm that specializes in matching workers with venues, is providing the software and mobile and web interfaces for JLL’s application.

Booking space online

LiquidSpace offers 2,500 bookable spaces across the United States and Australia and carries out some 20,000-plus transactions monthly.

According to a story in The Economist, LiquidSpace’s business development head, Jonathan Manheim said that “if the firm made enough of a dent, the result would be the construction of fewer office buildings.” 

In the Wall Street Journal, LiquidSpace founder Mark Gilbreath said one of the trends driving the proworking phenomenon is pressure on businesses to control their real estate costs.

“The potential to open up and optimize the usage of real estate assets is compelling,” said Rachel Botsman, author of What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live. “As the primary owners and operators of commercial real estate, large enterprises are an inevitable next target for the sharing economy.”

Back in September, before JLL launched Space Exchange, the company polled firms on its blog. The questions centred around where people worked and how companies dealt with excess or under-used space.

“Working from Starbucks may be fun, but it doesn’t cut it for a corporate real estate strategy,” one person commented. “Looking forward to seeing how companies are changing the way they think about their space.” 


A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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