The office building plays a key role in the health of its occupants. Considering the average person spends over 90,000 hours at work[1] during their lifetime, it isn’t hard to see why. This gives commercial property owners & managers the unique ability to make real, positive changes in their tenant’s lives. Being hard-working professionals, we want to see our buildings make health-oriented improvements, and as wellness-as-an-amenity becomes more prevalent, tenants will look for properties that better support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees.

There are several property features and amenities you can integrate that promote wellness amongst tenants. We’ve included ten below, but if you think of any others please let us know in the comments!

  1. Fitness Center

You likely expected to see this listed, and for good reason. If you want to promote healthy lifestyle choices among your tenants, giving them access to a fitness center is the most direct way to do so. Class A properties around the country are incorporating fitness centers into their marketing strategies – some free to tenants, some not. Fitness centers have high visibility, great usage rates, but with that said, there are challenges to integrating them. They require valuable space most buildings don’t have or won’t give up, and they require consistent, costly maintenance. They may not make sense for Class B or smaller commercial properties.

  1. Healthy Food Options

Any common dining area or cafeteria is a great-to-have. They can save employees time and money, all while contributing to a communal atmosphere between tenants. If you decide you do want a dining area, the second decision to be made is which vendors to include. While it may seem more “fun” to bring in a fast-food or build-your-own burrito joint, you’ll be doing your tenants a favor by eschewing those in favor of something healthier like a salad or sushi bar. This way you get all the benefits associated with a dining area, while also promoting clean eating.

  1. Outdoor Area

It is widely known that spending too much time in artificial lighting can cause cortisol levels (the chemical responsible for coping with stress) to drop in your body, resulting in fatigue and/or anxiety. Giving tenants access to outdoor space can improve their productivity and is an excellent selling point to prospective tenants. In bigger cities, outdoor space may be sparing at ground-level, but a rooftop deck or patio can serve the same purpose. Check out Two Tree’s Dumbo rooftop projects for an excellent example. It’s all about sunlight and fresh air!

  1. Pets

Stress in the office is not only a deterrent to productivity but can also weaken our immune systems and facilitate the spreading of viruses. Recent studies show that as many as 83% of US workers are stressed[2]. One proven[3] way to reduce that number is allowing tenants to bring their pets into the office. As a property manager, simply giving your occupants the option to designate their space as pet-friendly is a bonus. It may sound risky, but in the end the decision to allow pets will be up to the individual tenants, and having that choice will make a difference for many companies looking for a new lease.

  1. Bike Facility

If your property doesn’t have the square footage for a fitness center, you can still promote physical activity amongst tenants by establishing a bike facility. These facilities consist of a designated parking area for bicycles that are: 1. Near the entrance 2. In an enclosed area away from the elements and 3. Either in a well-attended area of the building or in an area guarded by security. Some employees will not consider biking to work without being able to shower upon arrival, but this addition isn’t make-or-break.

  1. Air Quality

Air quality is a broad area of concern that includes humidity, temperature, ventilation, mold, exposure to chemicals, and more. Along with reduced cognitive abilities, a lack of attention to air quality in an office building can lead to physical symptoms such as allergic reactions, headaches, exhaustion, and eye and throat irritation[4]. The new Salesforce Tower in San Francisco is taking several steps to promote wellness (including lots of outdoor space & bike parking), but apart from that, they have actually patented a new HVAC system that brings fresh outdoor air into every floor. We may see this new technology rise in popularity in coming years, because apart from repelling your valued tenants, poor air quality could leave you legally liable if multiple illnesses occur in the building.

  1. Captivate

Management often overlooks the elevator when considering property improvements, but as the average tenants rides 6+ times a day, that shouldn’t be the case. One way CRE professionals are reducing the anxiety of the ride is by installing Captivate Digital Media, as 84% of tenants believe Captivate reduces awkwardness or boredom in the elevator[5]. Captivate also allows you to share your existing wellness initiatives through their tenant messaging platform, ScreenCenter™. If you have a fitness center, you can send out class schedules. If you have a dining area, share healthy specials. If you have neither, you can still share general wellness tips to your screens for tenants to enjoy.

  1. Plant Life

If your building can’t offer outdoor space, bring the outdoors inside! The list of benefits associated with greenery in the workspace goes on and on. The 2015 Human Spaces Report found that those whose workspaces incorporated natural elements reported a 15% higher wellbeing score and a 6% higher productivity score than employees whose offices didn’t include similar elements[6]. A 2010 experiment introduced plant-life to workspaces, and the results showed a 37% fall in reported anxiety, a 58% drop in depression or dejection, and a 38% reduction in fatigue[7]. Plants can also remove dangerous airborne chemicals that may be escaping through your vents.

  1. Game Area

Being happy and healthy requires taking regular breaks, but – unfortunately – most workers take breaks at their desks. Getting employees away from their monitors with something like a game room is more beneficial for both employees and employers, because it supports eye health and rests the brain, improving productivity later in the day. The Crosspoint Buildings outside of Boston have integrated theirs perfectly into their overall strategy. Stress and the anxiety associated run rampant in the workplace, and what better way is there to blow off steam than a game of ping-pong?

  1. Deals to Local Wellness Brands

Another alternative for properties without the space for a complete fitness center or dining concourse is to partner with local brands that deliver the same benefits. As retail struggles, brands are using creative methods to increase foot-traffic, which means partnership opportunities for commercial property owners. Find local businesses that will give your tenants discounts in exchange for your promotion of their business internally. It’s a win-win for both parties, can be carried out with gyms or food vendors, and your tenants will love getting the discounts.

 

[1] http://www.gettysburg.edu/news_events/press_release_detail.dot?id=79db7b34-630c-4f49-ad32-4ab9ea48e72b

[2] https://www.tinypulse.com/blog/stats-stress-in-the-workplace-how-to-remedy-them

[3] http://captivateblog.com/9-amenities-tenants-love-wont-cost-space/#_ftn8

[4] http://www.hrmonline.com.au/section/strategic-hr/important-good-air-quality-office/

[5] http://go.captivate.com/e/140391/faction-Survey-Infographic-pdf/347hjh/96492604

[6] https://www.ciphr.com/advice/plants-in-the-office/

[7] Ibid.