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Don’t Sweat It: Wellness Focus At Offices Means Employees Can Maintain Healthy Habits


For many Americans, the pandemic was a wake-up call about their health and wellness.

A McKinsey & Co. study found that 68% of people prioritized their health more highly after the onset of the pandemic. In response, they worked out, meditated, ate better or developed other healthful habits while at home. 

Other research found that nearly 80% of consumers said they preferred in-person fitness options such as gyms, explaining they craved a sense of community and the accountability of working with a class or coach. 

With these preferences in mind, a growing number of office buildings are making wellness a prominent part of their amenities packages. 

“If you want a Class-A office that attracts exceptional talent, a fully equipped fitness center is a must-have office amenity,” health company EdenHealth blogged last year. 

Joshua Love, president of Kinema Fitness, said he agrees with that statement, although he said that wellness today is increasingly viewed holistically and encompasses more than just treadmills and elliptical machines. In addition to wanting to raise their heart rates, people are concerned with learning to manage their stress.

“I think the pandemic has brought wellness to the forefront because that's what employees, tenants — everyone — is thinking about,” Love said. “But what's really changed is that wellness now incorporates more than just fitness. It also includes behaviors such as proper nutrition, getting adequate sleep and a person’s emotional well-being.” 

When people return to the office, even a few days a week, they won’t want their wellness routines to fall by the wayside. Considering that employees have more employment mobility these days, employers and office landlords would be wise to listen to them, Love said.

“Office tenants are hearing from their employees that they want more wellness amenities, and the building owners and developers are listening,” he said. “I can’t imagine a new office development that wouldn’t be thinking about something like this at this point.”

Kinema Fitness operates fitness centers across the country for multitenant office buildings and Fortune 500 companies. Its clients include McDonald’s, for which Kinema operates a 10K SF fitness center that it helped design at the company’s new Chicago headquarters. The Kinema team on staff there includes personal trainers, group fitness instructors and meditation practitioners.

McDonald’s headquarters is not the only space that has taken a supersized approach to wellness. Love said other landlords and developers are following suit with their own customized wellness facilities, even if they are not on the same scale. These facilities are meant to be welcoming to a range of people with varied wellness priorities, whether they want to participate in a yoga class, attend a nutrition lecture or pump iron.

“Employers want to ensure that employees are comfortable and have a positive experience when they are back at the office,” he said. “For many employees, there is a comfort factor in going back to the corporate gym where they can get a 20- or 30-minute workout, speak to a nutritionist or come in for a massage or to meditate. That becomes an added incentive for them to return to the workplace.”

While some buildings’ old workout facilities might have resembled a hotel’s unstaffed and cramped fitness room, newer facilities tend to be larger and are designed to cater to users’ individual needs while accommodating programmed activities such as classes.

To keep people engaged, landlords often contract with a fitness management specialist that has trained professionals on staff. Kinema can provide clients with certified fitness specialists, trainers and managers.

“Some buildings might try to manage an existing facility by themselves but they don’t get any traction because it's just too much work for the on-site property management team,” he said. “They're looking to improve their operations to make it a better experience for employees.”

Love said Kinema works with new developments and existing office buildings that want to provide wellness amenities for their tenants. But it is the challenge and opportunity to create a fitness center from scratch that gets him pumped.

“Every office development is uniquely different from the others,” he said. “They have their own personalities and you try to match that personality with the personality of the fitness center they are craving. It becomes this unique experience that you're curating and it's a fun journey when you guide it to fruition and then operate it for the client.”

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Kinema Fitness. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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Related Topics: Joshua Love, Kinema Fitness