Coworking spaces combine work and wellness for  coworkers who put a premium on keeping fit

With a rising number of coworking spaces available, many of them are looking for ways to differentiate themselves to attract the start-ups and budding entrepreneurs.  The latest trend in alternative offices aims to incorporate wellness into work, to attract co-workers who also put a premium on keeping fit.

It can be tempting to skip the gym or group exercise class because it’s too far away or there is too much traffic.  If the time to get there is more than the time spent exercising then it can be demotivating, especially if the person feels they cannot spend too long away from work or the office. By bringing the office and exercise space closer, more people are likely to work out.  With work being one of the leading causes of stress, a workspace specifically designed for fitness and exercise is the perfect combination.

In the past, fitness and coworking have come together with some coworking spaces offering treadmills and biking desks, showers and cycle parking, or have negotiated discounts for their coworkers with nearby gyms. The next logical steps would be to follow Equinox’s example – they are teaming up with coworking operator Industrious to offer furnished office space near the fitness company’s gyms. Coworking company Primary’s The Studio offers its members yoga classes, low-impact workouts, and guided meditations. ‘When you’re taking care of yourself and making yourself the primary focus, all parts of your life are more successful’ Primary’s Orenstein said. ‘There has been a slew of studies that have shown that when you’re well in your mind and your body, you’re more productive. There are lower absentee rates at work.’

Fitness companies are going into the coworking business with ‘co-working out’ beginning to find a home in traditional gyms. Equinox has begun building communal spaces with Wi-Fi and outlets for people to work in. Life Time Fitness, a chain of gyms across the US, has conference rooms and business centres.  This trend could be a great opportunity for gym owners in the UK.  A studio space with WiFi and workspaces could be hired out during any downtimes, or coworkers could be offered a free class or reduced membership rate.

EMD UK’s first white paper highlighted that group exercise is great for member retention and customer loyalty. Members that attend group exercise classes are 26% less likely to cancel their gym membership than members who only use the gym (The Retention People (TRP) 2013).  It could follow that a good group exercise instructor based in a coworking space would attract and keep coworkers loyal to a particular location.

Dayna Evans of The Cut does sound a note of caution  – ‘wellness co-working’ could be just another way to push the already overworked into working more. If workers aren’t able to work less hours or more flexibly so they have time to do their jobs, then leave work and go to the gym or group exercise class, having everything at the office encourages people to add on more hours than they think they’re working, blurring the line between home and work even more.

However, the coworking/gym model could provide further opportunities for group exercise instructors who are proactive and offer bespoke workplace health programmes to local businesses, not only increasing their earning potential but also offering a route for workers to join classes should they enjoy the programme.  For further information or advice, then do go to our webpage where instructors can download free resources or sign up for our monthly newsletter.