Quality of Life and Healthy Work Places
Research has shown that many businesses, particularly those that offer more generous wages and benefits, choose to locate and stay in communities that deliver a higher quality of life to current and prospective employees.39 In many cases, these quality–of-life elements — trails and bikeways, parks and recreation programs, walkable town centers, urban forests and neighborhoods free of excessive noise and air pollution — also contribute to a healthier population.
As a consequence, local communities that have focused on providing community amenities and a high quality of life have found that an economic development strategy designed to attract businesses can also have important health benefits.40
In addition, local communities can gear their economic development programs to support and attract businesses that provide a healthy work environment for employees and customers. Some ways that local businesses can promote health include:
- Offering facilities (like secure bike parking) and incentives (such as a transportation benefit rather than “free” parking) to encourage employees to walk, bicycle, carpool or take transit to work;
- Locating their business in places that pedestrians, bicyclists and people using transit can reach easily and that minimize the need to use an auto for errands; and
- Providing employees with access to healthy food choices and places to walk or exercise, either on-site or nearby.