Menkes Is Vying To Be Canada’s First Fitwel Champion
Menkes Developments is seeking to be Canada’s first Fitwel Champion, adopting the innovative wellness standards at three GTA properties, including its North York HQ.
“We’re walking the talk here,” principal Peter Menkes said.
State-of-the-art buildings are one thing, and Menkes has plenty, several of them LEED Platinum-certified. But in adopting Fitwel, a U.S. standards system centred on building and workplace wellness, Peter Menkes said his company is taking things to the next level (early adopters are dubbed Fitwel Champions).
“It’s about creating a healthier work environment for employees,” said Menkes, who is president of commercial and industrial.
The company is initially pursuing Fitwel certification at 25 York St., its head office at 4711 Yonge St., and AeroCentre in Mississauga. When One York Street is fully occupied later this year, it will seek a Fitwel stamp.
Incorporating Fitwel standards is not costly, Menkes said.
“It’s just about being smart."
To encourage employee movement and interaction, the landlord is sprucing up stairwells with better lighting, artwork and graphics, including inspirational messages. It is adding bike storage facilities with showers and repair stations, to facilitate staff cycling. Vending machines and cafeterias are being stocked with healthier, fresher offerings.
Mental wellness is also a focus: Menkes is creating new landscaped areas around buildings to serve as stress-relief refuges, and it is including mental health awareness information in its internal communications.
Companies know attracting top talent requires great workplaces, Menkes said. It is true for his organization and its employees, and for its roster of tenants, who are demanding healthier buildings and workspaces like never before.
“So we’re coming up with ideas and working with Fitwel to create those environments," he said.
Improving employee wellness reduces healthcare costs, lowers rates of absenteeism and increases revenues.
“People are a company’s biggest investment," Menkes said. "We want to make sure they’re well taken care of to keep them as productive and healthy as they can be.”