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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

Updated 32 mins ago - Sports

The Olympic events to watch today

U.S. diver Krysten Palmer. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

5 events to watch today...
  • 🏃 Track & Field: Watch the men’s 100m final at 8:50 a.m. ET on nbcolympics.com
  • 🏐 Men’s volleyball: USA plays Argentina in the group stage at 8:45 a.m. on NBC.
  • 🤸 Gymnastics event finals: Watch the replay of the men's floor exercise and pommel horse, as well as the women's vault and uneven bars starting at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
  • 🤽Men's water polo: USA takes on Greece in group play at 10:30 p.m. ET on CNBC.
  • 🏊Women's springboard final: Watch the replay tonight on NBC.

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 9 highlights

Team USA's Ryan Murphy, Zach Apple, Michael Andrew and Caeleb Dressel celebrate winning gold in the final of the men's 4x100m medley relay swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Aug. 1. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Day nine of the Tokyo Olympic Games Sunday saw the final day of swimming competition end with a historic win for Team USA.

The big picture: The U.S. men's 4x100-meter medley relay team set a new record world as they won the final and Caeleb Dressel earned a fifth gold — becoming the fifth American to do so. Team USA's Bobby Finke won the 1,500-meter freestyle.

Trump PACs raise over $82M for first half of 2021

Former President Trump during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former President Trump's political action committees (PACs) raised more than $82 million in the first half of 2021, per Federal Election Commission filings published on Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant amount for a former president who's been banned from major social media platforms. It demonstrates his ability to raise huge sums of money should he choose to run for the presidency for a third time.