New "workplace-plus" spaces combine the office and the gym


The shift towards remote work has led to the emergence of well-designed spaces that seamlessly blend work, fitness, and leisure. This trend has become significant due to the growing evidence suggesting that employees remain productive outside of traditional office settings. Despite this, some workers are hesitant to work continuously from home or in bustling coffee shops.

Life Time, an upscale health club operator with over 150 locations in affluent suburbs nationwide, has capitalized on this trend. Describing itself as an "athletic country club," Life Time caters to white-collar workers by combining high-quality workspaces with family-friendly fitness facilities. Its locations offer top-tier gym equipment, fitness classes, juice bars, and spas. However, these perks come at a price, with memberships starting at $279 per month. Additionally, Life Time provides dedicated coworking spaces under the name "Life Time Work."

This concept aligns with several prevalent trends. Hybrid work arrangements continue to be popular among both employers and employees. Traditional office traffic has declined significantly, while the fitness sector is experiencing a resurgence due to increased health awareness and the popularity of activities like yoga and specialized training. Life Time aims to provide a quiet alternative for virtual meetings, particularly as its workspaces are separate from the workout areas.

CEO Jamie Hodari of coworking company Industrious describes the evolving preference for integrating work into various aspects of life as "workplace-plus." This shift is reflected in the success of models like Life Time's, which provide integrated and conducive work environments. Other premium lifestyle companies, such as SoHo House and Equinox, are also embracing this trend by offering flexible workspaces.

It's important to note that the traditional office sector continues to face challenges, with some cities repurposing empty commercial properties into housing. Despite the financial strain on the office sector, Life Time has been investing heavily to expand its footprint, impacting its stock price. The company's operating expenses have outpaced membership gains, leading to cautious financial performance and a stock price near a 52-week low.

In conclusion, there is a growing desire among employees for workspaces that complement their active lifestyles and integrate work with leisure. This marks a departure from the previous era of strict separation between office, gym, and leisure time, reflecting a shift in work preferences for many individuals.  

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