For Callea Butz, a Minnesota lawyer who recently switched to a career in real estate, working from home or coffee shops was tiresome and lonely.

Like many of the 43 percent of U.S. workers who spend some time working remotely, Butz was in the market for a shared co-working space.

Her solution was unusual but increasingly common — she chose a desk at her local health club.

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Butz has been a member of a Life Time health club for four years. The mega-chain, with some 151 facilities across North America, noticed that its members were often flipping open their laptops in the lobby before, after or even during their workouts. So it created Life Time Work, shared office facilities attached to seven of its largest health clubs, available for a fee.

Life Time is muscling in on a new trend. Across the country, a rapidly increasing number of co-working offices are sharing space with fitness centers, gyms and health clubs.

The workshare company Industrious, with more than 90 shared office facilities nationwide, is now locating workspaces in the same buildings as health clubs. Its new Hudson Yard workspace in Manhattan is open concept, full of light and designed to encourage workers to stand up and walk around. They can also walk out the door and right into a neighboring health club.

It makes sense on several levels; both industries are booming.

Shared workspaces have increased 200 percent in the past five years and are projected to expand 20 percent annually. A lot of the demand is coming from corporations looking for flexible office space outside of their headquarters.

It’s estimated that 40 percent of the demand for workshare will come from companies, not individuals.

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At the same time, the U.S. health club industry has pumped its annual revenues to $33 billion, up almost 8 percent in 2018 from the previous year. Studies indicate almost half of American adults have paid for access to health facilities. Yet, half of those who have paid for health club memberships use them rarely, or never.

Maybe they don’t have the time, or the motivation, to schlep workout clothes from the office to the gym. Now they can do some reps between phone calls. Or get an intense session of cardio, take a shower and head back to their desk for that evening conference call with Asia.

The ability to work out while working seems like it might just — work out. 

Published on Feb 07, 2020