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How the Flex Industry Is Driving Health and Wellness Initiatives in Our Workplaces – Our Latest Webinar Recap

In today’s return-to-work moment, what are the elements that will draw employees back to workplaces? In other words, if people are the new workplace amenity, what factors will attract them? 

Preferred Office Network recently brought together a knowledgeable panel of flexible workspace and health and wellness industry leaders to discuss best practices and reveal new ways of attracting and retaining talent by fostering community, supporting employee wellbeing, and promoting better life-work balance in our workplaces. 

Our own Head of Global Partnerships Caroline Hecht sat down with a diverse and distinguished lineup featuring Laura Green, Franchise President, Venture X; Bryce Hill, VP, Sales, Office Evolution; Preston Reiff, Franchise Owner, Venture X Chicago – Deerfield; Ryan Desmond, National Sales Executive, Primo Water; Sonny Goodall, Co-Founder, FireWorks Coworking; and Gary Batara, VP, Marketing, Garten

What followed was a lively and informative conversation about how implementing thoughtful and authentic health and wellness initiatives in our workplaces is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have” for powering modern organizations. Here are our top five takeaways on this timely topic, complete with quotes from our panel. To watch the full webinar, “Drive Client Satisfaction and Retention In Your Flex Space By Promoting Health and Wellness,” click here.  

  1. Workplace wellness affects your bottom line. The data is in: Companies with workplace wellness programs in place report a 66% productivity increase, 67% increase in employee satisfaction, 63% increase in financial stability and growth, and 50% decrease in absenteeism. So, it makes sense that organizations are implementing these programs with greater frequency and attention to detail. The flex space industry is leading the way, offering the enterprise client built-in health and wellness amenities that drive employee engagement, productivity, and growth. As Garten’s Batara noted, “Companies that promote a culture of health, safety, and wellbeing outperform in the marketplace and foster a more engaging environment and job satisfaction overall.”
  2. Health and wellness initiatives don’t have to be complicated — or expensive. Office Evolution’s Hill astutely points out that flexible workspaces inherently offer a health and wellness amenity: a greater sense of community. “It really is the #1 way to combat this loneliness epidemic that’s going on,” he says. “At Office Evolution we call it our ohana, our community. Fostering a really vibrant community in your space is the #1 health and wellness initiative that you can do, even if that means people are going to find each other and take a CrossFit or yoga class together. It doesn’t have to be a specific amenity that you’re providing.” Goodall of FireWorks Coworking expanded upon the effectiveness of simplicity: “When we were planning FireWorks, the first thing that we had to solve was water and coffee. Those are the essential ingredients to getting work done. We’re a community-focused space, and we knew that a lot of spontaneous collaboration happens at the water cooler and the coffee bar, not to mention the good gossip and the inside jokes that occur there. We want our members productive, because productive members stay members.”
  3. Talk to your employees to find out what amenities matter most to them. Health and wellness means different things to different people, which can be a challenge or an opportunity when mapping out a healthy workplace. As Hill said, “Where I would start is with my community. Talk to members and ask them what do they do in their lives to stay healthy and find where there may be some common ground or consistency and lean into that first. Start small, make it authentic, and get the community buy-in and then you’re going to have those people advocating and pulling others in.”
  4. Customization is key. Once you determine what health and wellness-focused amenities and initiatives are going to move the needle in your organization, you can seek out flexible workplaces that fit the bill. For today’s coworking operators, Hill said, “You really want to focus on having a wide variety of health and wellness amenities. Not everyone is going to care or want to or even be able to physically use a gym, but having things like a sit-stand desk, healthy snacks, is something else that you can point out when you have a prospective client or during renewal periods, you’re able to remind them of this additional value that you have that maybe another space around the corner wouldn’t.” Green continued: “Amenities are a 10 [in importance]. They do vary per market and location. It does depend on the member — when we’re doing our initial sales inquiries and tours, it’s diving in and learning what their needs are and leaning into that. It’s a matter of connecting our members with the right people in our community and then leaning into the amenities that are most important to them.” 
  5. Keep track of what’s working — and what isn’t. As with any new workplace initiative, analytics and proving ROI are king. As Reiff said of health and wellness amenities in his workspaces, “We think of it more as, instead of programs and partnerships, I want to make sure we’re making the investment in our community as I would in my personal life. Trying to tie in whatever we can that impacts quality of life. We all know work can be very stressful; these are small things that add up to try to take some of those stressors away to help people feel good, feel productive. Maybe it even carries over into their personal lives. But, you want to make sure whatever you’re doing is with intent and you know who your community is. When you try new things, get a gauge on how well it’s being received. You want to track it.” 

Our workplaces — much like the very nature of our work itself — are continually evolving. Employees are inspired by and loyal to organizations that take into consideration their changing needs and make it a priority to create intentional spaces that support them to thrive. As Desmond from Primo Water said of the modern office, “Yes, it’s a cool workspace, but it’s really a hospitality business.” 

We couldn’t agree more. Reach out to Preferred Office Network’s team of workplace specialists to find a flex space where your teams will do their best work — and live their best lives.

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