Making the workplace happier, safer, and more productive
Jones Lang LaSalle
Python, Django

Creating the perfect work environment is not an easy task. Jones Lang LaSalle, the world's second-biggest provider of real estate services, has years of experience maximizing the ways in which workplaces can enhance employee happiness and productivity. These improvement span from the obvious - people like having control over their temperature - to the less obvious, such as the effect sound privacy has on productivity.

JLL has channeled this knowledge into a widely-distributed book, the SMART Green + Productive workplace, but wanted a more efficient way of delivering personalized recommendation to their clients. We worked with them to turn this book into an interactive questionnaire that could collect key information from clients and provide personalized recommendations.

The Challenge

JLL faced several challenges in their mission to enhance office productivity for their clients:

  1. Comprehensive Evaluation They needed a tool that could assess a wide range of factors influencing office productivity, from obvious elements like temperature control to less apparent ones like sound pollution.
  2. Expertise Utilization The tool had to leverage the extensive insights and methodologies outlined in JLL's reputable book, "The Green and Productive Workplace."
  3. User-Friendly Interface The solution had to be easy for clients to use, providing clear and actionable recommendations based on the assessment.

The Solution

Empathy Works developed a powerful and intuitive assessment product that met JLL's requirements:

  1. Detailed Assessment Framework: We created a comprehensive assessment framework based on the principles from "The Green and Productive Workplace." This included evaluating factors such as temperature control, lighting, air quality, ergonomic design, and sound pollution.
  2. Custom Recommendations: The tool generated tailored recommendations for improving office environments, addressing both common and less obvious issues. For example, it highlighted the impact of sound pollution on productivity and provided actionable steps to mitigate it.
  3. User-Friendly Design: The assessment tool featured a user-friendly interface, making it easy for clients to input data and receive detailed reports. The reports included prioritized recommendations to enhance productivity in their office spaces.
  4. Scalable Solution: The product was designed to be scalable, allowing JLL to offer this service to clients of various sizes and needs.

Making a book interactive

Converting a book into a digital product was the most challenging problem. How could we turn the book’s advice into a standardized set of questions and recommendations? Not all clients needs are equal - some are more interested in the environmental improvements, while others prioritize worker productivity.

The first step was to break down the contents of the book into a series of questionnaires. Each of these could be completed over time or at once, depending on the client's needs. To help facilitate data collection, we added a robust permission system that made it easy to get input from experts and decision makers within an organization. JLL staff could fine-tune questionnaires on a client-by-client basis, so only key data would need to be entered.

Many clients had large collections of offices they wished to analyze, so we added helpful features such as bulk data entry and templates to make it easier to enter multiple offices at once.

Creating actionable recommendations

Working with the authors of the book, we designed a report that explained how to implement workplace improvements; summarizing findings, comparisons to industry averages, and implementation cost vs productivity benefits.

We also needed a way to analyze many offices and pick out specific spaces that would benefit the most. We built an interactive report that could drill down from a high-level overview of a portfolio all the way down to a detailed implementation guide that could be delivered to each building manager.

One of the main challenges we identified was the need to get buy-in from the executive branch when implementing recommendations. To facilitates this, we built a high-level executive summary that could summarize findings in a simple two-page report.

Happy employees are good business

Among most organizations, payroll is the leading expense. Eliminating the barriers to employee productivity can be one of the best bang-for-the-buck optimizations a company can make. It can be hard to understand exactly how much money can be saved with these optimizations, which is who a lot of effort was spent on finding a way to calculate and present estimated cost savings.

The Outcome

The implementation of the custom assessment product provided significant benefits:

  • Enhanced Productivity Clients could identify and address key factors affecting productivity in their office spaces, leading to more efficient and comfortable work environments.
  • Expert-Driven Insights Leveraging the insights from "The Green and Productive Workplace" ensured that the recommendations were grounded in proven methodologies.
  • Value-Added Service JLL could offer a unique and valuable service to their clients, enhancing their reputation for going above and beyond basic property management.


The end result was a tool that helped JLL customers find incredible value and optimizations. Since it's launch, the Green & Productive assessment has assessed over 1000 office environments and processed over 190k client metrics. By leveraging the power of Django and Python, we were able to build a tool that could be run at low maintenance cost for over nine years.