Workbar Back Bay Is the First Co-Working Space to Be Certified for Wellness

Everything from the air quality to the snacks in the kitchen were chosen with your health in mind.

workbar back bay

Cafe at WorkBar Back Bay / Photo provided

It’s no surprise that we spend far too much time at work. And we don’t really have to tell you that most offices—which come standard with seated desks, fluorescent lights, and those co-workers who think nail clipping is an acceptable office activity—aren’t the most enjoyable of places to be, nor do they foster creativity and productivity. But we can tell you, if you’re looking for a co-working space, Workbar Back Bay is not the same.

Well we can’t promise someone won’t bring a pair of trusty nail clippers with them, but because it is the first Well Building Standard Certified co-working space everything from the air quality to the snacks in the kitchen were chosen with your health in mind. The International Well Building Institute is the company behind the certificate and they help to transform buildings and communities into places where workers can thrive and health and wellness is emphasized in every detail.

“It’s not easy to become certified,” Sarah Travers, CEO of Workbar tells me. “It’s time consuming, expensive, and everyone from the building owner to the employees have to be on board.” In order to obtain the certification you have to meet specific standards within seven different categories including: mind, nourishment, air, water, comfort, light, and fitness. Workbar does this in numerous ways.

They stock the kitchen with healthy snacks and a Bevi machine, which allows members to select different flavors and types of water. The lighting system is synced to our circadian rhythm, or internal clock. So when it’s light outside, the spaces have blue light reflecting on the ceilings to help you feel more alert and happy and as the sun goes down they start to dim. And possibly, one of the hardest things to control is the air quality. Travers says this is really important because you have to monitor everything from the toxic air that comes out of the photo copy machines to what’s going on in other parts of the building. She jokes that she can truly tell a difference in the air when she walks through the doors now.

One of the biggest things Workbar addresses though is the mental wellbeing of members, Travers says. “Working at home can be really lonely,” she explains. “A lot of our members have corporate offices somewhere else, or are self-employed, and loneliness in a work day is a big thing.” To combat this, Workbar employs community manager’s whose sole responsibility is to help members make connections with other members and foster relationships outside of the space.

Each of the different working spaces in the office are set up to encourage a specific type of behavior as well. So, if you need to get some heads down work you go to the study where no talking is allowed. If you want to collaborate, walk around, or put your feet up there are spaces for that. And if you need to make outbound phone calls you can sign up for a time in a phone booth. Plus, if you want to get a quick workout in during the mid-afternoon lull you can pop downstairs to the new CorePower yoga studio or the gym in the basement of the building.

And starting in April, Workbar will be hosting Wellness Wednesdays (among all the other events they host) and the series will include fitness classes, cocktail making classes, and more to support charities like Food for Free and Rosie’s Place.

“This attention to detail [with an emphasis on wellness] is going to have to be the future going forward,” Travers says. And many companies are jumping on board. Reebok’s new headquarters were designed with fitness at the forefront and even L.L. Bean is transforming the way we work by offering places to get work done in the great outdoors. “It’s something that every company is going to have to start doing to retain their employees because that’s what their talent wants. It’s the little things that you don’t notice that help you to feel calmer, more productive, and happier throughout your day.” And isn’t that really what we’re all after?

Memberships start at $139.99, 399 Boylston St., Boston; and others,

workbar back bay

Workbar Back Bay / Photo provided

workbar back bay

Collaboration room at Workbar Back Bay / Photo provided