Our clients frequently ask how to integrate wellness into the work environment. A number of systems are in place to help measure how effectively a workplace enhances employee health and productivity. A newcomer – Fitwel – launched to the public in March and aims to create a “cost effective, high impact, building certification standard.”
The new certification system. Fitwel is a simple, web-based scorecard that consists of 60+ benchmarks looking at 12 overarching strategies: location, building access, outdoor spaces, entrances + ground floor, stairwells, indoor environments, workspaces, shared spaces, water supply, cafeterias + prepared food retail, vending machine + snack bars, and emergency procedures.
The CDC and GSA led the development of Fitwel, gathering input from over 3,000 scientific studies. The Center for Active Design is the operator of Fitwel.
The scorecard. Each criterion is associated with a unique point value based on the strategy’s impact in each of the 7 Health Impact Categories (see below) and the strength of the evidence for that impact. This flexible system allows any of the criteria to be linked to multiple categories to receive more points and allows the value of any strategy to change over time as scientific evidence evolves.
Fitwel focuses on incremental improvements, and the rating system considers all strategies voluntary with no required prerequisites. However, there are minimum thresholds of points for a project to achieve a FitWel star in a three-tier rating system.