The financial imperative
As Adhikari acknowledges, designing for wellness can significantly boost productivity, and productivity equals cash. One study found that enhanced ventilation in office buildings can result in as much as a $6,500 equivalent in improved productivity per person per year.
Workbar took a leap of faith that its investment in WELL Certification would pay off, and it did, says Travers. It’s client retention which remains at an impressive 95%.
When it comes to Good Coworking, its members rate the space’s wellbeing efforts highly in surveys. But it’s not all about money. It’s about changing workplace culture more generally.
“Not only are we influencing our members’ health, we’re planting the seed in the companies that use our space,” says King, who hopes that startups that outgrow their space take their wellbeing learnings with them.
Leading with wellness can make spaces attractive to investors and local authorities. In 2017, the Clearwater Community Redevelopment Agency gave The Ring Workspaces a $600,000 city grant to help get it off the ground.
Property developers who are amenity-driven can look favourably on wellness-focused operators too, envisioning them as an extension of their own brand, adds Travers. As more corporations lean on coworking, brand alignment has never been more important.
Low-cost wellness solutions
King and Travers know a thing or two about doing things on a budget. Both Good Coworking and Workbar were bootstrapped businesses. “We accomplished our goals over time,” says King, who describes coworking spaces as “living labs for [wellbeing] concepts.”
If you’re looking to implement a wellness strategy but don’t have a lot of funding, King, Adhikari and Travers suggest exploring the following low-cost solutions:
- HEPA filters
- Partnering with local wellness brands
- Centralising the bins and positioning them a walk away (active design)
- If possible, include outdoor breakout space
- Dedicate some communications/programming to mental health awareness
Adopting a hybrid work-positive mindset can also help. As King says, hybrid work helps people create a more balanced life for themselves, and this is why Travers loves seeing part-time members using the space.
As well as looking at physical design elements, now’s also a good time to reflect on how you’ve designed your membership plans. Is there room for more flexibility?