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The Power of Experience with JLL’s Jennifer Henderson

What’s the one thing that motivates you? The Mag’s “The Power Series” invites industry leaders to discuss the “power” of one initiative and how it’s crucial to everyday life, whether work or play. This month, Jennifer Henderson, JLL’s  Human Experience Director North Asia talks to us about the power of experience.
Experience is really about how you make someone, or yourself, feel. It’s about putting people’s needs in the centre.
My life experiences enable me to understand what others need. I studied hotel management and had worked in hospitality, sales, business development and facility management before joining JLL, where I look after workplace experience for local and international clients. That obviously translates into a lot of benefits for my current position, since we’ve got clients from all sorts of industries. Everybody’s got slightly different needs, so it’s important to adapt to their workstyles and understand the key needs from the staff when applying a human-centric design in their workplaces.
At the end of the day, people just want to feel happy. I’m from Zurich and have lived in London and Hong Kong. It’s very different living in these cities, and the experiences allow me to understand the local nuances of what’s expected and what’s appropriate. But I also find that what people expect is quite similar in a lot of countries – an experience that makes them feel happy and fulfilled.

Fulfilment and empowerment are achieved through choices. You feel empowered when you can make your own choices. I’m quite fortunate in that I can choose to work from home or from different offices; I choose when I want to take my break. As a working mum, this kind of flexibility is very important to me.
At home, creating an engaging and productive experience is a number one priority. I’ve got two kids and a husband – all three of them have different needs, so we need to make sure we set up the home in a way that we can create a healthy and safe space for everyone. For the kids, they have breakout spaces where they can recharge, read books, play on their own, etc. For myself, I have a little space where I can go and just take some me-time.

Similarly, designing a workspace around the human experience can ensure staff feel happy, productive and efficient. Having a community, the right workspaces, collaboration areas such as breakout areas and relaxation areas, as well as the right support system makes your work experience a lot more pleasant. It also boosts engagement, productivity and fosters an innovation culture if that’s what the company needs.
We also draw from experiences of others, by putting ourselves in their shoes. We learn from our clients as we try to understand their current states and needs. There are different ways to find out – one-to-one conversations, focus groups and surveys, for example – but I think the best way is to be a mystery shopper, go to their office and experience it yourself! Over time as our experience grows, we can anticipate what clients expect and create detailed designs that work best for them.

Work-life balance is key to human experience too, though it means something different for everyone. It’s up to you to decide. Hong Kong is a very busy city, but if you choose to, you can easily escape the concrete jungle. There’s so much greenery here. For me, I appreciate how easy I can go for a hike here and be surrounded by nature.

Then it’s also about experiencing the present moment. Technology such as smartphones brings a lot of convenience, and I think being constantly connected has its benefits. But I also try to put away the phone for at least an hour a day to spend the time completely focused and present with my family. Technology has been transforming the human experience and will continue to do so, but human interaction won’t ever go away.

Looking for more inspiration? Find out why movement is important, according to H-Kore’s Vanessa Valenzuela.

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