Four Ways Sustainability Improves Productivity

Treadmill Desk Treadmill DeskDrought Tolerant Plants Drought Tolerant PlantsInspiring Space Inspiring SpaceDesk for Sitting or Standing Desk for Sitting or StandingLiquid Galaxy Liquid Galaxy

Imagine using things in your office in a different way. CBRE did when they created the “Workplace360” initiative.  “Workplace 360” is a strategy maximizing employee productivity through technology, space utilization, sustainability, mobility and enhanced flexibility.  I recently toured their first “Workplace360” location in downtown Los Angeles and have to say, this is an office I would want to work in everyday.

First WELL certified office space in the world

The WELL Building Standard® is a certification given by DELOS®.  The certification is designed to increase productivity, creativity, and speed.  While sharpening focus and reducing hours missed from work due to illness.  This is accomplished by emphasizing quality in areas like air, water, lighting and most interestingly, plants.  Plants provide a natural solution to clean air inside a building.  Studies at Texas A&M have shown we are less stressed and more productive around plants.  It also concludes we are more creative when we are around plants and flowers.  CBRE did an excellent job of working drought tolerant plants into their workspace.

Reducing waste with a sustainable office

CBRE digitized files and reduced the square footage for storing files from 5630 square feet to 1200 square feet.  Now when someone needs to find a file they don’t have to waste time searching for one, with a click of a mouse they can search the data base of documents and find what they are looking for quickly.  Not only are they saving money on space, they are also improving productivity. In addition, they eliminated desk top printers and reduced the number of copiers from 12 to 7.  Now, when you want to print a document, it’s delivered to a central location and you have to scan your authorization card at the printer before it prints.  This eliminated mistakes in printing and saving tons of paper and water used to grow the trees used to make the paper.

Reduction of work spaces in a sustainable environment

CBRE discovered at any one time only 48% of their workspaces were being used at a time.  They were wasting resources for space they didn’t need and maintaining space that was wasted.  They did away with assigned offices and cubicles and today they have 10 “neighborhoods” where employees doing similar tasks such as legal work or property management cluster. Employees can also decide to work in the main lobby area of the office where they have views of the Los Angeles landscape and pull from the positive energy of the office.

For the times you do need some privacy there are small offices available on a first come first serve basis where you can make private phone calls.  You can also reserve a private office space for conference calls or private work use for an hour or a day.  My two favorite options I saw were the desks that rise with a touch of a button, to standing height, so you can go from working while sitting to working while standing.  I also loved the treadmill work stations.  Movement is important to creativity and productivity and the desks and treadmills offer the opportunity to keep moving.

Liquid Galaxy

Liquid Galaxy is an arrangement of high definition monitors in a semi-circle using Google Earth images to give you an amazing view of neighborhoods and properties you may be interested in leasing or purchasing. Imagine the time and fuel saved and reduced pollution not having to drive around Los Angeles previewing multiple properties. With Liquid Galaxy you can prescreen many offices without having to leave the office.  Liquid Galaxy is available in the main lobby area of CBRE and offers an excellent alternative to driving to preview properties.

As you can tell I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to CBRE.  It truly is a new way to work.  Many of their improvements lead to greater sustainability and ultimately reduce wasted water.  The productivity improvements and overall higher employee satisfaction is easy to see.   I am very excited to see CBRE leading the industry in this direction and can’t wait to see what is next.

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Richard Restuccia

Richard Restuccia is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. As the Director for Water Management Solutions at ValleyCrest, Richard is our spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. Currently he serves on the Irrigation Association’s Board of Directors. As a board member, Richard serves in a variety of capacities, including government/public affairs. He is the liaison between the board and its marketing committee on the best ways to promote water efficiency and educate industry professionals on new technologies, products and services. Richard is also a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine.


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  1. Tuesday, 6:13 Alan Harris

    Nice to see plants coming back into the office space. They used to be much more prevalent, but were victims of budget cuts starting back in the 90′s.
    My birthday gift to myself this year was a treadmill desk. I walk whenever I am on the phone and I highly recommend them.

  2. Tuesday, 7:28 Lorraine DiBacco

    The design of office space for the future is so intriguing and the technology that makes it possible. Liquid Galaxy sounds amazing. I love that type of environment and the treadmill desk is a must.

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