Wellness Expert On Why Flexible Workspaces Need Showers, Nursing Rooms, and Bike Racks

Wellness goes beyond nutrition and fitness; it’s about how comfortable people feel in the work environment.

As the flexible workspace market grows, operators need to constantly find ways through which they can differentiate themselves from their competition. Various operators have successfully found their target audience; some by focusing on niche markets, others by focusing on location, and others by focusing on sustainability. Yet, regardless of the approach, all flexible workspace operators should also focus on wellness.

To better understand the role of wellness and the scope that it covers, we reached out to Jen Arnold from Redesigning Wellness. Jen has over 16 years of experience building wellness programs and she is also educated in nutrition.

According to Jen, the top reason why flexible workspace operators should have a wellness strategy as part of their overall operating model is because “operators need people to want to pay to use their space, they need to distinguish themselves from the competition. Which is why they should create spaces where people want to come in and work, where they feel comfortable and happy.”

From Jen’s perspective, if a member goes to the site and he or she is not able to work well, then the purpose of the workspace is not being met.

There are various ways to approach workplace wellness, but specifically for serviced workspaces and coworking spaces, Jen believes the best way to start out is by surveying members. “Survey people to find out what’s important to them. Not only will this help you better establish which programs to implement, but it’ll also send the message that you as a coworking space or workspace manager care about what your members think. Surveys also help you save time and money.”

For flexible and serviced workspaces, Jen suggests focusing around the environment when starting to implement wellbeing programs. In her words: “The (work) environment is what you have to work with. Think of ways in which you can make your members’ choices about healthy habits easy; focus on reducing the barriers.”

Our Expert Recommends

  • Consider applying to get a WELL Building Standard Certification.
  • Offer standing desks as well as traditional desks.
  • Have an abundance of natural light in your workspace. “It helps people be more productive and it helps in not making them feel like they’re ‘stuck inside’.”
  • Quiet spaces, and not only phone booths as Jen believes that “they are too hot and you can only stay inside for a short amount of time.”
  • Offer healthy snacks and have water filtration systems that make it easy for members to refill their water bottles.
  • Have a shower and locker room. “If you don’t have a shower, then members can’t go out in the middle of the day and go for a walk, a run, or a workout; they also won’t feel as comfortable walking or biking to your space. Providing showers will help promote physical activity (remember, it’s about removing barriers).
  • Have bike racks or bike storage, that way members are encouraged to bike instead of drive to work.
  • Have a nursing room or a space where mothers can breastfeed. “Before I was a mother, I hardly gave this any importance, but I cannot stress the importance of this; it’ll help moms feel comfortable and welcome. Besides, it’s best for children to consume breast milk and it helps moms lose the pregnancy weight.”

There you have it. Now go, survey your members, and start reducing barriers that are hindering your members’ productivity, happiness, and level of comfort.

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