Menkes Developments Ltd. (Menkes) has launched a three-year wellbeing program called Healthy Spaces across its portfolio of commercial buildings in the Greater Toronto Area.
The program sets out to engage office occupants and offer them healthier lifestyle options and opportunities.
“The rollout of our Healthy Spaces initiatives furthers our commitment to occupant health and wellbeing and will hopefully give our building occupants the opportunities and encouragement to start making small but meaningful lifestyle changes to live healthier” says Jon Douglas, Menkes’ director of sustainability. “For us, it’s making sure our buildings aren’t impeding on someone living a healthy lifestyle. So the program we’re developing is creating opportunities for healthy choices. Health is still an individual’s choice, but we want to make sure occupants have the right information so that they can choose that healthy lifestyle.”
Menkes’ Healthy Spaces program has four main areas of focus: Eating Well, Being Active, Maintaining Health, and Engaging Minds. Douglas says each area includes focused initiatives for employees to improve their nutrition, physical activity, preventative health and mental health.
For example, Eating Well activities could include tenant catering guides, healthy food maps and live cooking demos, while Engaging Mind initiatives could include stress management seminars and morning meditation classes.
“Employees spend an increasing amount of time indoors and the buildings they work in have an effect on their health,” adds Douglas. “We believe that our new program, and specific initiatives to actively promote health and wellness throughout our buildings, will help people’s wellbeing.”
Earlier this year, Menkes became the first Canadian real estate company to participate in Fitwel, a new evidence-based building certification system that optimizes occupant health and productivity through targeted improvements to workplace design and operational policies.
“While we have always strived to be an industry leader in green-friendly, sustainable real estate development and operations, we believe the next step is to focus on the quality of the work environment and its impact on the health of our tenants,” says Peter Menkes, president of the commercial and industrial division of Menkes. “The developing trend of wellness in real estate is where we saw sustainability ten years ago with the emergence of LEED, and now we see programs like Fitwel supporting us in responsible building management.”