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Coworking Space Uses Design Cues to Nurture Employee Wellness

Florida Company The Ring Says Healthy Design Promotes Productivity

If we feel well, we work well.

That’s the philosophy behind The Ring, a new coworking and office space in Clearwater, Fla., designed to embrace wellness and optimize productivity.

The co-founders of the 18,000-square-foot space, husband-and-wife duo Daniels and Simee Ikajevs, set out to create “the world’s healthiest work space with minimum impact on the environment.” The team spent two years studying coworking spaces worldwide to curate the best practices for its unique concept. The result is an integrated workplace environment centered around four pillars—health, innovation, productivity, and sustainability—which collectively aim to foster employee wellness.

The Ring occupies the second and third floors of Daniels Ikajevs’ existing 11-story office building, and incorporates biophilic design elements like living green walls; cruelty-free materials; clean airflow; lighting that mimics natural cycles; smart technology; and more.

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(The Ring)

The Ring offers four membership levels, ranging from virtual offices with five rentable conference rooms and shared coworking plans to private offices.

Standing at six feet, six inches tall, Ikajevs knows that one size doesn’t fit all in office settings.

The Ring, therefore, is outfitted with ergonomic furniture that can be customized for each employee’s comfort; adjustable chairs, standing desks, and laptop holders offer different height options. Occupants can also change lighting levels and color hues, as well as air temperature.

“It all boils down to a philosophy that if we are feeling well and are healthy, that means that we can probably work at our optimal level and be our most productive—if we have no headaches, no back pain, no neck pain, no wrist pain,” says Ikajevs. “These are the things that impact our productivity, and we wanted to build a space that is good for our well-being because we do believe that we can make people more productive in their workspaces.”

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(The Ring)

During the workday, Ring members have access to a number of office amenities, such as sleeping pods for a 20-minute power nap in the “rejuvenation room,” complimentary drinks, yoga, cardio, and self defense classes, as well as networking events, and more.

The space is also being outfitted to WELL standards, and will be the first building to attain the certification in the Tampa area, and one of few WELL-certified coworking spaces in the country.

The Ring designed the space so that physical activity was automatically worked into employees’ day.

“We basically force our members to be active, so there are no trash cans at their desks, they have to pick up their trash and take it to one trash and recycling bin,” Ikajevs says. “The mailboxes are only on one floor, and the conference room table can convert to a ping pong table. Everything about the design forces people to actually get up, walk, and be more active.”

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The Ring co-founder Daniels Ikajevs. (The Ring)

To track the impact The Ring’s elements have on human health and the workplace, Ikajevs partnered with Harvard University for its year long Global Building Study that collects data about temperature preferences, which spaces are actually being used the most, and physical activity in the office monitored by Fitbits. Occupants take frequent surveys and cognitive tests, all of which will be compared to data collected from traditional office spaces to gauge the impact of health-focused elements in the workplace.

“You can make your own healthy choices at home, but when it comes to your workplace, you are given a desk, a chair, a light, and you have very little choice. Traditional offices don’t always support healthy lifestyles,” says Ikajevs. “Giving people access to these choices makes them more productive. Just imagine if you could become more productive by 10% a day during the work hours—multiply that by five days a week, 52 weeks in a year, and that increase can be valued in a lot of dollars for many companies.”

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