Client story

From lease expiries to consolidation and modernisation, this is how we delivered a property transformation for Home Affairs

Our holistic solution involving fit-out redesign and a comprehensive change management program is giving employees a work experience unlike ever before.


Project and development services


Facilities management


April 2022 – March 2023





Australia’s Department of Home Affairs has staff in every Australian state and territory and operates within a complex and rapidly changing property environment – an environment that must flex around the agency’s fluctuating demands.

By 2022, Home Affairs occupied three buildings in the Melbourne CBD that had impending lease expiries. Its ‘Melbourne Precinct Strategy’ was developed to consolidate the three sites into one location, allowing for a more suitable workplace as well as operational efficiencies by bringing all staff and services together in the one location.

JLL had an existing relationship with the department which recognised our capacity to support its new strategy. We were appointed to provide a holistic service combining our leasing, design, project management, change management, and facility management expertise to deliver the best possible transition and transformation.

Flexible, high-tech, secure. This is how we found the perfect building for our client

One of the first steps was to identify a building that would accommodate Home Affairs’ requirements for security, flexibility, and technology. We shortlisted five sites that matched the 25,000 square-metre size requirement, and after conducting due diligence, recommended 808 Bourke Street, Melbourne. This was a north-facing, waterfront site in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct sitting amongst cafes and parks. The building previously served as the head office of a bank, with a lot of existing architecture that could be retained for its new tenant.

We negotiated a 10-year lease on the ground floor as well as levels two through to eight. A new fit-out would allow for agile desking as well as high-level security and acoustics.

Next, a fit-out to connect colleagues and impress visitors

We aimed to redefine 808 Bourke Street as a modern workplace for the Department of Home Affairs, prioritising productivity and efficiency. The foundation of this was adapting the existing open plan floors, reusing infrastructure, and maximising natural light.

We designed these features around an existing internal atrium which provided natural light across six levels. These levels became dedicated workspaces that provided desks, breakout spaces, walkways crossing the atrium, and meeting rooms.

The building already embodied exemplary sustainable design, and was awarded Australia’s first ever Green Star Performance rating. This was a high base for Home Affairs to accelerate its sustainability goals.

We prioritised convenience and accessibility by designing separate entrances for staff and clients on the ground floor. We also added to the lobby natural timber features to echo the aesthetic of the atrium spaces on the floors above.

The plan: Seamlessly relocate staff while maintaining daily operations

As construction was underway, we implemented a change management program to support staff with the relocation as well as with the department’s new agile working style, which would see many staff relinquish allocated desks. We created a comprehensive roadmap and communications plan to ensure a seamless transition, as well as to minimise disruption to the department’s day-to-day operations.

A critical ask of the department was to ensure staff were kept well-informed and engaged throughout the relocation project. We partnered closely with the client’s property team and local stakeholders to develop a rolling six-month communication program that included an ‘808 Bourke playbook’, preparation for key move events, workspace videos and multiple townhall briefings. Staff surveys and regular briefing sessions made sure staff had opportunities to ask questions and feel involved. We also set up workspace prototypes so everyone could test the new office furniture.

Staff at 808 embarked on a six-month pilot for their new agile working style, with surveys throughout to monitor satisfaction. Prior to this, staff in other states had also been testing this way of working to ensure it could be effectively rolled out and sustained. 

Optimising the workspace to allow for function and safety

Preparation for the ‘go-live’ date of 808 Bourke Street was coordinated by JLL’s facilities management team which ensured staff operations would not be delayed by the relocation. This included providing services including cleaning, sanitary, electrical compliance and maintenance, fire compliance and maintenance, general handyman, and auto-door maintenance. Our team was also available on move-in day to assist where needed.

A brighter way for the Department of Home Affairs to deliver critical services for Australia

One of our biggest collaborative efforts, the coming together of our leasing, projects, design, change management, and facility management teams, resulted in a seamless relocation project for our client and the continuation of a long and trusted partnership.

The client described the project as the largest IT, security and accommodation project Home Affairs has undertaken outside of Canberra.