One of the most highly discussed topics in business this year has been reentry into the workplace. Most companies have struggled with whether to do it, when to do it and how to do it safely. Our own Sanjay Rishi ’85 M.S., D.M., has become a go-to expert on the topic.
As CEO of corporate solutions in the Americas at JLL, a global real estate investment management firm, Rishi’s daily role involves helping clients create, shape and manage the future of work by enhancing the performance of their workplaces, real estate portfolios and people. As the pandemic persisted into the second half of 2020, his role evolved into interacting with clients’ C-suite executives to share experience and best practices related to workplace reentry.
“We happen to be in the business of healthy workplaces, a topic that has never been more top-of-mind for our clients,” says Rishi. “The nature of workplaces has evolved rapidly during the pandemic. Topics like health and wellness in the workplace, clean air, work from anywhere, digital transformation and technology in the workplace are all ones that organizations are grappling with and seek our ideas and experiences of.”
Indeed, in the last year, Rishi has been in the media spotlight, offering guidance to business leaders who aren’t sure what to do in the preternatural times we find ourselves living.
“First and foremost, the attention to safe and healthy workplaces cannot be overstated,” says Rishi. “It is just as important to ensure the right processes as it is to assure people coming back to work that they will be safe going back to their families.”
Last fall, he wrote in a blog post for the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks that workplace leaders must embrace the hybrid workspace, attract talent to social, safe spaces and create a cohesive community.
“Connecting productivity to purpose—for the good of all,” will be the challenge, Rishi wrote, when designing offices moving forward.
Is there one perfect recipe for post-pandemic workplace success? Not according to Rishi, although he says, “Being in the office has been and will continue to be critical for organizational culture, collaboration and innovation.”
Regardless, he believes that talent attraction and retention should be the principal criteria to evaluate the right path forward for each organization.
Undoubtedly, this is something many would agree is critical to a business at any time, not just as we recover from the pandemic—and this is not something new to Rishi. As an executive leader at JLL and previously at IBM, Johnson Controls Automotive and PricewaterhouseCoopers, he has helped set corporate direction and strategy for over 20 years.
Although he has established a successful business career, Rishi says if he were to do any other job, he would teach. He has an obvious love of learning; he followed his mechanical engineering undergraduate degree at Birla Institute of Technology in India with a master’s degree in systems management from Florida Tech and then a doctoral degree from Walsh College in management. His busy career in the Chicago area may keep him from joining the Florida Tech faculty; however, he currently serves on the advisory board for the university’s Nathan M. Bisk College of Business.
“For me, Florida Tech provided an environment where I could learn as much from the classroom as from the community,” Rishi says. “A safe, vibrant student population—from many walks of life and diverse backgrounds and with a broad spectrum of experience levels provided for a foundation that has proven to be strong.”
Golfing and hiking.
Favorite Florida Tech memory:
Arriving at the SUB on a bus from Orlando International Airport after traveling 8,000 miles on planes, trains and automobiles— wide-eyed, anxious, fearless and oh, so naive! And getting married and spending our last semester together on campus.
This piece was featured in the winter 2021 edition of Florida Tech Magazine.