How coworking spaces are getting people out of home offices

Wellbeing and fitness amenities are attracting hybrid workers to flexible workspaces

April 23, 2024

For many people, working from home is now seen as a right, not a privilege. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to get out of the house.

Coworking operators are helping provide another reason to get up and go: gyms.

Having a gym at the office isn’t new, but they’re playing a new role in the age of hybrid work. It adds another draw for people using flexible workspaces while moving through their busy daily schedules.

Take Monday Río in Madrid, India’s gym-equipped chain The Address, or The Ministry in London, where members can hit the juice bar after attending one of the 150 healthy classes on offer each week.

“Co-locating fitness with flex space means users can prioritize health and wellness alongside their professional careers,” says Scott Homa, Head of Property Sectors Research for JLL Americas.

It’s not just giving workers what they want. Coworking operators have been hit by the same seismic shifts in office occupancy spurred by the pandemic as more standard corporate spaces.

A JLL survey found almost a third of companies were using flex space, while 42% planned to accelerate future investment, seeking to right size footprints and reduce operating costs. It’s why research group Fortune Business Insights predicts the global flexible office market will grow to $96.8 billion in 2030, up from $34.8 billion in 2023.

“Flex adds agility to corporate portfolios, ensuring they can scale up or down with the right level of amenities, in the right locations for distributed teams,” says Homa.

Health is the new wealth

Making time to exercise is non-negotiable for a large portion of the workforce. A WFH Research report found 42% of work-from-home employees exercise during the workday, compared to 30.8% of those working onsite.

And as hybrid has taken hold, firms are finding employees reluctant to relinquish their work-life balance.

More than two thirds of people put achieving a good quality of life ahead of salary in terms of their work priorities, according to a global JLL survey. Health and wellbeing was ranked as most important.

Local coworking spaces are one way to give hybrid teams the best of both worlds.

With data showing an average of 3.1 days per week emerging as the preferred office habit, onsite exercise facilities could add extra flex appeal to health-conscious employees. “It means less time wasted traveling between home, work and gym,” says Homa.

Great workouts lead to great work

While the benefits of exercise are well documented, could participating during the working day lead to fatigue and a post-workout slump?

Not according to a study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, which found those who did so reported improved mood and performance, leading to better concentration, work-based relationships and heightened resilience to stress.

“These sort of perks boost morale and can create a sense of job satisfaction,” says Homa. “Firms will attract healthier, more energised employees, who are less likely to take sick days and ultimately perform better.”

U.S. coworking chain Life Time offers premium workspace alongside a fitness and health club experience. They found users who exercised at least eight times per month were between 43% to 105% less likely to have been to a clinic, hospital or emergency room than those who did not.

And with social media influencers increasingly portraying aspirational models of the so-called “perfect working life,” being able to go to the gym before work or attend a class at lunchtime could be a big tick in the box for the new wave of Gen Z employees currently entering the workplace.

“Opting for a space with gym says a lot about how much employers care about the health and wellbeing of their workforce,” explains Homa. “As firms look to attract and retain talent, this could be one way to maximise ROI from both people and portfolio.”

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