Space chargeback: A fresh perspective — 2023

To help generate a fresh perspective on space chargeback, JLL conducted a research programme across different industries and geographies.

September 27, 2023
  • Jeremy Doherty

Could anyone have foreseen the extent to which the workplace and the future of work would be permanently changed by the global pandemic? Yet in many respects, the changes were simply an acceleration of what was already happening. Years of change compressed into months. Then, after the dust had settled, a new landscape began to emerge. More resilient than before, more flexible, sometimes reconfigured with new functions, often with different operational needs and space requirements.

Despite early expectations that the world would return to the way it was before, this has never happened. The former workplace is history and the world is embracing a new perspective on the role of the office in a redefined workplace. 

Remote working, for example, has proven to be more viable, more quickly, than anyone could have imagined. Productivity and job satisfaction are often higher among hybrid working employees, who also tend to be more deliberate with their use of time and even have greater awareness of what their colleagues are working on. Working from home also heightened expectations for privacy in the workplace—notably for when participating in video calls, or focusing on tasks that demand peace and quiet. Unassigned seating with communal desks, never popular with employees, have now become the accepted price for hybrid working. The pandemic also put health into the spotlight, leading to new levels of wellness support now being offered by most employers.

The shift towards more remote and hybrid working has meant that the nature and use of spaces has changed dramatically, yet the methodologies often used to manage them have not. Tools and approaches that were once familiar now look increasingly anachronistic and ineffective.

To help understand the change and develop a fresh perspective on space allocation programs and chargebacks, JLL conducted a global research program to explore the thoughts and experiences of facilities leaders across different industries and geographies. Through a program of interviews and workshops we learned about the changes they have made, the challenges they currently face and their perspectives on new and evolving norms.

The resulting report focused on twelve key themes affecting change in the chargeback sector. Six “Forward Thinking Initiatives” explored opportunities for space chargeback programs to influence wider real estate priorities. The other six are the subject of this paper; they explore the notion of “Evolving Operational Excellence” by using space chargebacks to support the changing world of work. If you would like to read more about all twelve themes, a link is provided below. We hope they will help encourage your own fresh perspective on the future of space chargeback. Each theme is inspired by insights drawn from the research and we have suggested how these represent opportunities for future change.

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