Menkes launches Healthy Spaces program in GTA
Menkes Developments Ltd. (Menkes), a real estate company based in Toronto, has launched its Healthy Spaces program across the company’s portfolio of commercial buildings in the GTA. The company’s three-year wellbeing program will focus on engaging commercial office occupants and offering them healthier lifestyle alternatives and opportunities.
Menkes’ decision to actively encourage wellness among its occupants follows the company’s recent commitment to be a Fitwel Champion. Announced earlier this year, Menkes was 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.
“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,” says Peter Menkes, President of the Commercial / Industrial Division of Menkes.
“The rollout of our Healthy Spaces initiatives 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.”
“Employees spend an increasing amount of time indoors and the buildings they work in have an effect on their health. We believe that our new program, and specific initiatives to actively promote health and wellness throughout our buildings, will help people’s wellbeing” says Jon Douglas. Menkes’ Healthy Spaces program has four main areas of focus; Eating Well, Being Active, Maintaining Health, and Engaging Minds. “Each area of focus will include specific initiatives aimed at creating opportunities for employees in our buildings to reach improved nutrition, physical activity, preventative health and mental health.”
Eating Well: Eating Well focuses on creating opportunities for building occupants to make informed decisions about nutrition and healthy eating at work and at home. Example initiatives include healthy food maps, tenant catering guides, and live cooking demonstrations.
Being Active: Being Active focuses on creating opportunities for building occupants to increase physical activity levels during the workday through programming and building amenities. Example initiatives include walking maps with step counts, calories and travel times, stairwell artwork to encourage use of stairs, and a cycling to work program called PEDAL where Menkes is looking to make their properties cycle friendly.
Maintaining Health: Maintaining Health focuses on preventative measures to support building occupants in maintaining optimal health through education and awareness. Example initiatives include hand-washing promotion, indoor air quality guide, and onsite flu shot clinics.
Engaging Mind: Engaging Mind focuses on providing opportunities for building occupants to engage in initiatives that positively impact their mental health and wellbeing. Example initiatives include stress management seminars, mental health awareness campaigns, and morning meditation classes.
The three-year Healthy Spaces initiative will be launched across the company’s portfolio of office buildings, which includes such signature commercial developments as 25 York Street and new One York Street.