Nap pods and plant walls: Health-focused co-working space opens in Clearwater

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There are plants growing on the walls, kombucha on tap, even nap pods. A brand new co-working and startup incubator space in Clearwater was designed with a focus on workers' health and wellness.

It's so unique, it's part of a worldwide study to see if those conditions actually boost productivity.

When the elevator opens to the third floor of One Clearwater Tower, you'll see it, feel it, even smell it. The Ring is not your ordinary office.

"My team set a goal to build the world's healthiest work space," said Daniels Ikajevs, Co-Founder of The Ring.

Ikajevs and his team researched 100 co-working spaces around the world, studying the latest trends, what works and what doesn't. With the help of a $600,000 grant from the City of Clearwater, they gutted the space that sat empty for 15 years to create a unique, sustainable eco-system.

One large desk space is a 1,500 pound Redwood slab. 

"This slab here comes from California," Ikajevs said. "We don't cut any trees. All of these trees are naturally fallen trees."

The walls are alive with oxygenating plants to improve air quality.

"You can notice the different smell in each room. This has a very smokey cork smell," Ikajevs said, referring to a wall made of cork from Portugal.

Members can sip free kombucha or coffee, take yoga classes, play ping pong on the conference table, and with glass walls, every office, even on the inside,  features a bright window view.

"There are no trash cans in any of the offices because we wanted people to pick up their trash and go recycle," Ikajevs said.

There's also a "Senses Room" where you can adjust the light color, sound, and smell, depending on the mood you hope to create for a meeting. "We have lavender, we have vanilla and we have honey," Ikajevs said.

Harvard University researchers are studying The Ring along with 50 other buildings worldwide, using sensors to compare the productivity of a health-focused environment versus the traditional office space.

"They monitor our members, and they look at CO2 levels inside the space, temperatures, sound levels," Ikajevs said.

With room for up to 200 workers or companies, Ikajevs hopes to attract non-profits, start-ups or anyone needing space to dream.

"We basically encourage people to dream more, do more and be more," Ikajevs said.

But, you can't dream without sleep. The nap pod in the wellness room serves as a recharging station.

"If you take 20-minute naps, it gives you more energy, it makes you more productive," Ikajevs said.

At a place like this, you might never want the work day to end.

About 20 start-up companies have already moved into The Ring with room for plenty more. The grand opening of space is set for Friday.