Increase in Employee Productivity

May Offset Rent Costs

December 14, 2018/Green Building

At CBRE, we are especially excited when we are able to work on leading-edge real estate projects that bring to market groundbreaking advancements in different asset types. We’ve been proud to work with Morgan Creek Ventures to strategize the leasing and delivery of Boulder Commons, a newly constructed net zero energy use building at the pinnacle of environmental sustainability. Sustainable buildings are becoming more mainstream and are quickly expected to become the “new normal.” Over the course of marketing Boulder Commons, we found that employee comfort and productivity have played a critical role in the decision-making process for companies who have become tenants at Boulder Commons.


This led us to thinking: we often find that in real estate, advancements in one area tend to have unanticipated impacts on the entire finished product. A growing number of studies have indicated that employee productivity, happiness and overall health have increased for tenants in Class-A office space designed with sustainability in mind. A recent study concluded “that when we work in green-certified offices, we get a 26% boost in cognition, and 30% fewer sickness related absences. What’s more, respondents also reported a 6% rise in their sleep quality.”

At CBRE, we believe that overall employee well-being, including increased productivity, reduced sick days, and employee retention will more than offset the base rent for tenants occupying high quality office space at Boulder Commons. So we took the logical next step: we tested our hypothesis.

Based on the analysis we conducted on employee productivity, we found that even a modest level of increased productivity, on the order of 3%, will cover the cost of a tenant’s base rent at Boulder Commons. Therefore, while sustainability initiatives and net zero energy use are a critical part of this project, we are finding that employee well-being and increased productivity are also quantifiably “moving the needle” for today’s leading companies.

“We are thrilled to be in a comfortable, healthy and beautiful space that not only meets our needs as a tenant and aligns with our sustainability values, but also increases worker productivity. We’ve observed that since occupying this space we have happier, more productive employees, and less sick days; we believe this will also lead to better employee retention and the ability to attract high quality talent. This project demonstrates saving carbon is not only good for the environment but also good for businesses,” said Cara Carmichael of Rocky Mountain Institute.

Not only can we tie sustainability to happier tenants, but we’ve learned that it truly drives quantifiable business results. And that is something we at CBRE can proudly market.

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