Office Development Trend: Nap Rooms and Other Wellness Amenities

Category: Commercial Real Estate

Urban planners, influential landlords, and office workers are thinking more about the work-life impact of physical and mental well-being, reports Crain’s Business New York. The trend has spawned new commercial real estate amenities for tenant companies and their workers, including nap rooms, nurse’s stations, and meditation classes.

Plans to expand “nap capabilities”

The article reports on Tishman Speyer, one of New York City’s largest commercial landlords, which has rolled out its “Zo” program, a dedicated space and menu of services at its properties that the developer says are geared toward enhancing tenant wellness. “The goal of Zo is to empower tenants to foster an environment that creates a happier and healthier workforce,” E.B. Kelly, an executive at Tishman Speyer, told the news outlet.

The first concept location, which opened in Rockefeller Center last February, is said to feature a 2,500-square-foot health center, where a nurse practitioner attends to under-the-weather workers. Tishman Speyer also added private rooms which can be booked by employees for yoga and meditation classes, or for taking a nap. Plans to “expand its nap capabilities” are expected for the location in 2018.

Fitwel certification follows path of LEED program

The article reports one of the reasons Tishman Speyer has invested in the employee wellness trend is to qualify for the new Fitwel scoring system, boosting its profile and keeping up with its competitors. The Fitwel program reportedly tracks various building wellness environmental factors, from simple signs encouraging workers to take the stairs, to lactation rooms, air purification systems, and natural light access. The Fitwel program is said to be the wellness equivalent of environmental LEED certification.

“Of millennials, 78 percent rate the quality of the workplace as one of the most important benefits of working at a particular company,” Joanna Frank, president and CEO of the Center for Active Design, an urban planning nonprofit that oversees the “Fitwel” certification program.

“Just walking up six flights of stairs a day is enough to offset the average annual weight gain of an American,” Frank told the news outlet. “These small changes in behavior really add up and have a profound impact on life expectancy, happiness, and health.”

Over 300 buildings applied for certification

Frank told the news outlet more than 300 North American buildings have so far entered the certification process. “[Millennial workers] want to be working where there’s an overt emphasis on quality of life. Companies are realizing they need to offer it to attract and retain talent.”

Tishman Speyer reportedly plans to certify the majority of its 165 million square feet of property across the globe over the next several years. Alexandria, another prominent Manhattan property landlord, reportedly earned a three-star Fitwel rating. Frank told the news outlet she expects more landlords will be concerned with the healthful qualities of their office facilities going forward.

Posted on: Friday, November 10, 2017