Wellness in the Workplace. It seems like every body’s doing it. Tech giants like Google attract top talent with healthy snacks, free massages and nap rooms. Corporate wellness programs boast decreased absenteeism, attrition and medical costs. Sounds great to me. I mean who doesn’t want a free massage at work? But, what about the entrepreneur? What about the writer? What about the programmer, working on the next big innovation? Co-working spaces are changing the way we work by inviting us to step outside our homes and, for a certain fee, work in a community. Just like any other community, your co-working community influences your health.

Few co-working spaces have figured out how to navigate the world of wellness. In my opinion, The White House San Francisco is getting pretty close. Priya Kuber has built the co-working space that she wanted but couldn’t find. The White House SF is a mansion transformed into a co-working space and social networking club that is home to wellness, individuality and collaboration. Now, obviously as the founder of a corporate wellness company for start-ups, I was eager to interview Priya Kuber about her newest venture, The White House SF.

After recovering from her own burnout, Priya realized that, “burnout is not from overworking, but rather, from something missing from the work environment.” This realization was the driving force behind the design of The White House SF. Studies and statistics and surveys keep telling the same story: work environment is a fundamental part of employee wellness and productivity. When designing The White House SF, Priya understood that wellness means different things to different people, especially wellness in the workplace.

By creating an environment that fosters all aspects of health, White House SF lets individuals choose their level of engagement. The waterfront location boasts a hiking trail around the perimeter as well as breathtaking views of San Francisco. Need a break? You can step out on the porch and look out on the bay while breathing in fresh air. That’s a good thing, because just a ten-minute walk in fresh air can reduce stress and increase mindfulness.

Inside the mansion, you will find that each room has its own design and has been carefully curated to offer the right atmosphere for the individual. And while individuality is promoted, community is fostered. The White House SF has a full kitchen and supplies herbal teas, coffees and healthy snacks. Members are invited to participate in potlucks and free monthly events.

So, who is The White House SF for? Entrepreneurs, freelancers, writers, and students alike. The mansion is designed to feels like a home you can work in and workout in. The space is a haven for creators who know what they need.

There’s something else special about The White House SF. Priya Kuber describes the design of The White House SF as female-centric. The future may be female, but I wanted to know exactly what Priya meant by a female-centric design.

First and foremost, The White House SF is all inclusive. That’s right, men are welcome and encouraged to become members. The goal is to promote an environment where women can and do support other women. Priya has found that women are less likely to ask for help. The White House SF wants to change that by creating a space where collaboration and mentorship creates community.

What’s better than a badass independent woman? A badass independent woman with a team of other badass women behind her. The White House SF is filling in the blanks, discovering what’s missing and making it available. The environment is one in which you can shut yourself away to work on a report, take a stroll around the lawn, breathe in the fresh air, cook yourself lunch and enter a common space to engage in dialogue with a potential mentor or mentee. Each person chooses their own level of engagement.

So yes, I am obviously a big fan of this space and of Priya Kuber, but we don’t all live in sometimes sunny California, and some of us entrepreneurial types still work from home. How can we learn from The White House SF and find small ways to orient our space towards wellness.

  1. Find a way to create out-door space. I put a plant on my fire escape and called it a day. Something really is better than nothing.
  2. Take breaks. We all have different thresholds for work, but we all need breaks. When your focus crashes, take a ten to twenty-minute walk, or stretch break. Your productivity will increase.
  3. Build yourself a network of people who you respect and look up to. Being your own boss can be the best and worst of both worlds. You will need support, advice and encouragement. We all do.

The future is wellness. It has to be. We are simply running out of other options. If you can visit the White House SF, I recommend it. If you run a co-working space, I advise incorporating wellness. If you work from home, I encourage invigorating your space with health-conscious design elements. Above all, create, collaborate and work well.

Sunset View From The White House SF

Built in early 1900s, General Nimitz Quarters is the historic asset of the Bay Area. We renovated this ~4000 sq f…whitehousesf.com


Originally published at medium.com