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How to Balance Cost/Benefit of Health and Wellness Strategies


By Greg Zimmerman Facilities Management
people exercise on rubber balls

As health and wellness features become more in demand in buildings, many facilities managers are struggling to determine how to balance this occupant benefit with the cost and space required to provide it. A recent story in BOMA magazine offers some suggestion. 

Fitness centers are the most visible example of a health and wellness perk for occupants. And even though they’re expensive to maintain, many building owners are seeing them as a necessity, and simply as part of the cost of doing business these days. They’re a necessity for a Class A building, according to a property manager quote in the piece: “A fitness room really used to be more of a check-the-box leasing item. It was an afterthought. Today, they’re a necessity with much more of an emphasis on community.”

The fitness room will always be the most important health and wellness offering, and facilities managers need to be diligent about making sure it’s maintained with the same care as every other space in the building. As well, it’s important to make sure tenants are finding value in the fitness center — that is, actually using it. “Getting people to start using the facility is the biggest challenge,” says one property manager in the BOMA piece. “I always see the same people in the fitness center. We do a lot of raffles and different social events to incentivize more people to use the facility. Once they’ve gotten their initial visit in, it’s no longer as intimidating.”

But it’s critical that facilities managers figure out strategies beyond the fitness center, as well. This means everything from financial wellness classes to “yoga in the lobby” to men’s and women’s health programs. These are becoming increasingly important for building owners as well, as high-profile tenants in high-profile buildings want the best amenities and offerings to recruit and retain talent. 

So facilities managers must get creative. Health and wellness isn’t just a trend. Like sustainability, it’s becoming an inextricable part of managing any building. 

This post was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management and FacilitiesNet.com. Read his cover story about Chris Walinski and his mission to make open offices flexible and productive. 

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