When McKesson decided to revamp its headquarters in Richmond, Va., it knew it was time for a radical change. The drug distribution giant also knew it needed a workplace that was not only inspiring but reflected its primary mission: making people healthier. That’s what led the company to one of the latest workplace trends: WELL Building Certification.

McKesson’s former 20-plus-year-old building was overcrowded, inflexible, technologically outdated, and lacked daylight. Addressing those issues was simply the first step. Executives wanted to create a space that benefited its workers.

“The former facility was at the end of its life….That gave us the springboard to really do something that was much more progressive and with an eye toward wellness,” says Michael Huaco, senior vice president of Global Corporate Real Estate at McKesson. “Thinking about things like sustainability and health and our mission to improve the world, this is just one of those things that helps us get there.”

As more Fortune 500 firms fight to attract and retain talented workers, work environment has become a key selling point. Millennials now account for the majority of the American workforce, and they are increasingly looking for workplaces that reflect their values. While companies responded to the move for planet-friendly offices by promoting LEED-certified buildings over the past decade, their focus has turned to how their offices can promote wellness for their employees.

Beyond attracting talented workers, studies have shown that healthy workers perform better and are more productive. And as health care costs continue to rise, companies are facing higher insurance costs and individuals are facing higher deductibles and co-payments. That’s led companies to invest in ways to keep their employees from getting sick in the first place, using incentives and small changes to help increase everyday wellness.

“We’re looking to attract and retain a different kind of global workforce, a very diverse workforce,” says Huaco. “We compete like everyone else for employees from many other industries, and embracing wellness gives us a leg up and allows us to attract higher quality employees because we’re creating an environment that’s attractive.”

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