6 Ways Buildings Can Promote Wellness


3) Trim the Fat from Food Service

Whether your organization has a couple of vending machines or a full cafeteria, you can find ways to offer appealing, but healthy options. Talk to your food service vendor to learn more about your healthy food options, Morra suggests. 

“Another thing that’s becoming popular is arranging with local food trucks to come to your site once a week and offer food,” Morra adds. “Generally that doesn’t cost the organization anything – it’s a guarantee of a captive audience. I know a few companies that have designated food trucks visit two or three times a week and they publicize it ahead of time because people will plan to buy food there. They get some interesting and healthful alternatives to the cafeteria.”

4) Put Effort into Fitness Centers

“Fitness rooms of the past are usually a leftover closet or someone’s back room with a few Nautilus machines in it,” explains Duda. “It’s not very inviting. Make it more front and center, more accessible, more visible, and closer to an outdoor space if possible so that people have the choice of running or walking outdoors and coming back to the gym. The location matters.”

Not all buildings need fitness equipment, however. Morra recommends surveying occupants to find out what amenities they would find useful and following their lead. Also remember that fitness isn’t just confined to the inside of the building – it might be easier to create exercise opportunities outside.

“If there’s a fitness center next door and a lot of the occupants already belong to it, spending the money to build your own fitness center may not be the best fit. But if there’s nothing in a reasonable travel distance during the workday, you might find that if you build a fitness center you’ll get a huge amount of participation because otherwise people have to find one closer to home,” Morra says. “MPA’S project at 101 Station Drive in Westwood, MA, has a bike share in the building so if you wanted to go to the new retail development at lunch and didn’t want to walk there, you could ride a bike rather than get in your car to drive two minutes.”

Collaborative or conferences spaces in your facility can serve double duty, Morra adds. Some clients allow employees to lead weight loss groups or other fitness-related get-togethers in a conference room once a week. “That came from someone asking if they could do it, and now they have high participation,” Morra adds.

5) Facilitate Access to Green Space

Buildings of any size can incorporate some view of plant life even without a beautiful view from expansive windows. The North American office for mass customization vendor Cimpress at 275 Wyman Street in Waltham, MA, features an indoor green wall, affectionately dubbed the “salad wall” by occupants for its location in the corporate dining facility, Morra says.

“It has a double purpose,” Morra explains. “Having plants indoors has a very specific impact on IAQ, but it also gives people a relaxing, soothing image to look at. It’s aesthetic and useful at the same time.”

If your building is in a suburban location, you may have more options. A lawn could host an outdoor dining terrace, badminton net or volleyball court, Morra says. The Duke University School of Medicine took views of the outdoors a step further at its Trent Semans Center for Health Education by opting for a bioswale to collect and filter rainwater right outside the window, providing future doctors with a view of sustainable practices at work, Duda says.

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