Well-Being Amenities in the Corporate Urban Campus

Presented by: Anna Osborne, Amy Huber, Todd Baisch

Presentation Format: Poster Presentation Category: Scholarship of Design Research Title: Well-Being Amenities in the Corporate Urban Campus Purpose: To improve employee well-being, reduce healthcare costs, and meet the desires of a younger workforce, this study used frameworks of holistic wellness to help employers identify which well-being amenities and services (i.e. those aimed at encouraging healthy behaviors) are valued by urban campus employees and what influential factors encourage their utilization. To enhance employee well-being and reduce healthcare costs many companies have adopted wellness programs which incorporate a myriad of programs, services, and amenities for the purpose of improving health. Yet, according to the research organization, RAND (2014), participation rates are low (20% to 40%) while reasons for this remain unclear. Theoretical frameworks and scholarly models commonly categorize wellness into seven categories (Table 1). At the same time, evidence suggests that leading workplace health concerns include obesity, physical activity levels and stress management (Hallal, Andersen, Bull, Guthold & Hanskell, 2012; Makrides, Heath, Farquharson & Veinot, 2007). This comparison suggests that employers would benefit from knowledge of any factors that may impact the utilization of amenities that target physical, emotional and social wellness (Table 2). At the same time, changing workforce demographics suggest a growing preference towards urban areas that offer access to public amenities, thus leading companies to rethink their office locations in hopes of attracting and retaining talent (Vogelmann, 2016). Yet, despite evidence suggesting the work environment plays an important role in achieving these goals, employers may forfeit desirable amenities when faced with acquiring real estate capable of supporting their staff within desirable, yet costly, urban locations. Consequently, urban campus employees are a demographic of growing importance, as their workplace environment typically offers close proximity to many amenities. As amenities have come to be viewed as a means to satisfy business objectives, understanding their role and effectiveness within the workplace may play an important role in improving employee wellness, and attracting and retaining talent. However, there is little empirical knowledge regarding which amenities employees’ value or which factors may influence their utilization. While common workplace amenities often include break rooms, multi-purpose spaces, fitness areas, food and beverage services, lactations rooms and lounges (International Facility Management Association, 2012) (Table 3), to date, existing literature has not acquired wellness amenity preferences by asking the employees themselves. Methods An electronic survey was distributed to participants working within urban campus environments. Statistical analyses were conducted to search for patterns and trends amongst amenity preferences, factors influencing their utilization, and differences amongst demographics. Findings & Implications This presentation will discuss these findings relative to employee preferences for food and refreshments, fitness and recreation, gathering and collaboration, and amenities that support work-life balance. These findings suggest some disconnects between the well-being amenities and services currently offered in corporate urban campuses and the actual desires of employees. From this, one could gather that employers should consider aligning amenities and services offered to their employee demographics. This study’s findings may potentially increase employee well-being by helping employers prioritize amenities, incorporate factors that potentially increase their utilization, and help determine suitable locations for such amenities within a corporate urban campus.

References:

  • Hallal, P.C., Andersen, L.B., Bull, F.C., Guthold, R., & Haskell, W. (2012). Physical activity 1: Global physical activity levels: surveillance progress, pitfalls, and prospects. The Lancet, 380, 247-257. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60646-1
  • International Facility Management Association (2012). Workplace amenities strategies research report #36. Houston, TX: International Facility Management Association.
  • Makrides, L., Heath, S., Farquharson, J., & Veinot, P. L. (2007). Perceptions of workplace health: building community partnerships. Clinical Governance: An International Journal, 12(3), 178-187. doi: 10.1108/14777270710775891
  • Mattke, S., Kapinos, K., Caloyeras, J.P., Taylor, E.A., Batorsky, B., Liu, H., Van Busum, K.R. & Newberry, S. (2014). Workplace wellness programs: Services offered, participation, and incentives. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
  • Vogelmann, Arlyn. (2016). Corporate campuses of the future: Organizations embrace the urban ethos. Retrieved from http://www.gensleron.com/work/2016/3/29/corporate-campuses-of-the-future-organizations-embrace-the-u.html
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