News release

JLL and ART Health Solutions release initial findings of health and productivity study of home working during lockdown

July 31, 2020

JLL, in partnership with ART Health Solutions, has released the initial findings of its four-month home working study which has examined employee health and productivity since the start of lockdown in mid- March.

Volunteers in JLL’s Manchester office have taken part in the study, the first to be conducted by a UK property consultant, which has used specially designed wearables to track health and wellbeing whist home working.  With over 3,500 sets of activity data from wearables, 800+ cognitive tasks completed and numerous surveys, the findings provide valuable insight on exercise, sleep, heart health, stress, cognitive performance and employee sentiment whilst working at home.

Analysing the results from circa 50 participants, the key data findings underline the relationship between homeworking environments and employee productivity and well-being:

  • The start of the study saw increased sleep levels and reduced step counts this has normalized in June and July, as lockdown eased;
  • There is a direct correlation between mood and performance – clear performance peaks when ‘happy’ and performance troughs when ‘anxious’;
  • Direct correlation between environment, home working set up and performance – those with the right set up saw 10% memory improvement and 7% in decision making versus those without;
  • The most active people showed the highest cognitive performance (10% higher) strongly pointing to exercise and activity helping drive performance;
  • Marked increase in desire to work from home part-time (c.40-60% of their time), but confirmation almost no-one wanted to seek home as their sole workplace.

“The results of our study so far show home working provides a set of unique benefits and challenges. For those who have found homeworking a positive experience, the switch to this environment has had a positive impact on their performance. Short-term memory and decision-making performance are up 10% and 7% respectively, said Andrew O’Donnell, head of UK Workplaces at JLL.

Andrew added: “The data has also shown how important environment and mental health is for performance. While we are seeing performance levels can be improved at home the poorest performance was when participants reported feeling anxious, and a challenge for some has undoubtedly been feelings of isolation.

“This leads us to a blended approach that working environments must focus on collaboration and we are encouraging our people to return to the office more regularly for this sole purpose.” 

In the initial part of the study, the data demonstrated an exaggerated decrease in both step count and active minutes versus industry averages, but this has now normalized. The study also highlighted a direct correlation between performance and physical activity, with step-counts over 10% higher for those in the groups with the highest cognitive performance.

JLL said the findings show heart health and sleep showed variances in the early months of lockdown, but these are normalising as participants have settled in to more of a routine.

Andrew O’Donnell added: “This project has also enabled us to directly monitor stress levels, with peaks in employees feeling stressed largely as a product of distraction at home and wider personal circumstances. Furthermore, home set up, working from a dining room table or study area has proved to be a key factor in the performance and sentiment.”

“What is clear is that home working is here to stay for many but as a part-time solution, but the key components of office life impacting socialization and face to face collaboration and informal communications remaining a key goal for many.  As companies are directed to prioritise their greatest asset - their people – new wants and needs around their health and wellbeing (physical, mental and community) are emerging. Understanding these trends is key to predicting and getting ahead of a new workplace norm to attract and retain the best talent”

New wants and needs around the health and wellbeing of employees have emerged from Covid-19 and turning this data into further insight is the next stage of the study. The project will encompass findings from working in JLL’s new North West at Landmark, which is actively pursuing a high standard of WELL certification. The aim is to only to prove the impact of health at home, but the impact of healthy offices on the performance of people.

Stephen Hogg, Head of JLL’s North West business, added: “In the ‘new norm’, dull and draining workplaces, need to be left behind. Instead, biophilic office design elements, such as green walls and planting, outdoor terraces, a focus on collaboration over single workspaces are have been proven to improve health and well-being, while still enabling flexible working. Our new North West office embraces these principles and in showcasing much of what we expect the office of the future to be and our people are responding positively.”

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 in 2019, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of nearly 93,000 as of June 30, 2020. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated.