Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A conference table at The Ring in Clearwater, Florida. Photo: Kim Hart / Axios

CLEARWATER, Florida — A co-working space called The Ring is taking the healthy workplace concept up a notch.

Why it matters: As people return to work after the pandemic, some office spaces are betting that workers would prefer to spend their days in health-conscious spaces.

What they're saying: "Our goal is to be the world's healthiest co-working space," says Christopher Murphy, community manager at The Ring, which occupies two floors of an 11-floor building in downtown Clearwater.

  • The co-working space is aiming to get a WELL Certification, a relatively new standard that certifies buildings for prioritizing occupants' well-being through core areas such as air, water, light, nourishment and fitness.

Details: Conference rooms and elevator banks all have plants — living or preserved moss and hanging ferns — to filter the air. Murray claims the air quality is higher than what you'd find in most hospitals.

  • To keep the air fresh in individual offices, occupants must use trash cans and printers in common areas. A specialized ventilation system immediately whisks away the air in the communal "printing room" when a print job is done, removing harmful chemicals from the air.
  • Rooms are equipped with special lighting designed to reinforce occupants' circadian rhythms. Natural light pours in through large windows. Cork walls absorb excess sound.
  • Aromatherapy is optional, and a napping pod is a popular feature.

How it works: Think of the WELL Certification as an extension of the LEED Certification for environmentally sustainable buildings.

  • While LEED is a set of standards supporting the buildings and spaces within them, WELL is a set of standards supporting the overall health and well-being of the people who use the spaces.
  • Although the two sets of standards were developed by different organizations, credentials for both programs are governed by the Green Building Certification Inc.

The big picture: Focusing on employees' health is not new, but COVID-19 has placed more emphasis on it.

  • This is especially true as companies reevaluate the type and size of office spaces they'll need in a hybrid-work structure, said Cynthia Townsend, one of the few registered interior designers who has a WELL accreditation in the Tampa Bay area.
  • "Organizations see a return on their investments through increased employee engagement and productivity," said Townsend, who is not affiliated with The Ring.

Bottom line: To convince white-collar workers to choose an office over their home, companies will need to entice them with increased wellness amenities in whatever spaces workers will gather.

  • While the improvements, like a brand new ventilation system, can be pricey, designers say it can pay dividends in giving workers one more reason to be in a collaborative environment with colleagues.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
39 mins ago - Economy & Business

The mental health deal boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The positive social media response to Simone Biles withdrawing from Olympic competition highlights how the artificial line between health care and mental health care is finally beginning to dissolve. And startup investors have taken notice.

By the numbers: Venture capital investments in mental health startups rose 72.6% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, per CB Insights.

U.S. economy grew at a 6.5% rate last quarter, missing expectations

Contractors work on a home under construction. (Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized 6.5% rate last quarter, the government said Thursday — slower than the 8.4% economists expected.

Why it matters: It came as the economy made strides toward further reopening, vaccinations rolled out and government stimulus bolstered spending. But supply crunches held the pace of growth back.

1 hour ago - Sports

U.S. gymnast Suni Lee wins Olympic gold in individual all-around

Suni Lee Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won Olympic gold on Thursday in the individual all-around event.

The big picture: Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to focus on her mental health, cheered from the stands with the rest of the women's gymnastics team as they watched Lee and teammate Jade Carey compete. Brazil's Rebeca Andrade won the silver and Russian Angelina Melnikova took the bronze.