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Published on: 05 February 2024

Updated on: 05 February 2024

Read time: 2 minutes

Nathan Watson

Creative & Development Director

Fitwel is a leading certification system that empowers organisations to optimise their buildings to support occupant health and wellbeing.

If you're looking for a certification that encourages staff attendance and satisfaction, Fitwel is a great option. With people spending over 90% of their time indoors, most of this at work, office interior design can have a profound impact on both health and performance.

What is Fitwel certification?

Developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and General Services Administration (GSA), Fitwel is a third-party building certification focused specifically on improving the holistic health of building occupants.

Fitwel rates spaces across 12 categories covering areas like indoor environment, physical activity promotion, emergency preparedness and more. Projects that incorporate health strategies tailored to employees can earn Fitwel certification at 1, 2 or 3 star levels.

What are the benefits of Fitwel?

Earning Fitwel certification demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to occupant health and wellbeing. Key advantages include:

  • Increased employee satisfaction, engagement and retention
  • Enhanced recruitment appeal for top talent
  • Reduced absenteeism leading to increased productivity
  • Benchmarking of health performance over time
  • Market differentiation to attract tenants

The flexible and affordable certification process also provides straight-forward guidelines to incrementally improve buildings through impactful design, policy and operational strategies.

I've seen firsthand the positive impacts that purposeful workspace design can have on employee health, engagement and productivity. Achieving Fitwel certification enables organisations to make occupant wellbeing a strategic priority. The program's flexible scorecards and straight-forward guidelines empower designers like myself to creatively integrate performance-driving health strategies.

Nathan Watson

Creative & Development Director

What are the Fitwel certification levels?

The Fitwel scoring system awards up to 144 points for incorporating health strategies across the 12 categories in its rubric:

1 star (90-104 points)

A one star rating verifies foundational policies, programs and design considerations are in place to promote positive health behaviours and outcomes.

2 stars (105-124 points)

The two star level indicates enhanced commitment and achievement of active design and workplace wellness strategies known to provide a moderate impact.

3 stars (125 - 144 points)

Organisations that earn three stars are sector leaders that have embedded a wide array of physical, mental and social health strategies to drive high-performance. This level empowers occupants with the ultimate healthy building experience.

What is the Fitwel accreditation process?

Pursuing Fitwel accreditation has been designed to be straight-forward and user friendly:

  1. Register the project in the online Fitwel portal.
  2. Use the interactive scorecard to evaluate current health promotion strategies across the 12 sections such as location, workspace and water supply.
  3. Benchmark performance to identify priority areas for improvement.
  4. Make policy, design and operational enhancements to align with scorecard guidance.
  5. Submit updated documentation showcasing health programs and features implemented.
  6. Undergo double-blind review to receive final certification award and star rating.

The entire process generally takes 12-16 weeks, with certification then valid for three years before recertification.

Fitwel vs. SKA, BREEAM and LEED ratings

While SKA, BREEAM and LEED focus predominantly on sustainable building performance, Fitwel pioneered health-centric certification tailored to how design impacts human health outcomes. Enabling environments that empower occupant wellbeing is the primary aim.

With flexible scorecards covering all building types, Fitwel provides an accessible entry point for organisations to incrementally strengthen commitment to workplace health and productivity.

Conclusion

Benchmarking and enhancing buildings to support occupant health and wellness is not only purposeful, but delivers tangible dividends in recruitment, retention, engagement and bottom line performance. Fitwel offers a reputable, affordable and straight-forward certification pathway for companies to validate efforts in creating an optimal employee experience.

Office Principles delivers specialised office fit out services embracing the most progressive standards. Reach out today to evaluate certification options suitable for your next office refurbishment or office relocation project.

Meet the Author

Nathan Watson

Creative & Development Director

A lauded, lead creative who has been fast-tracked throughout his career, thanks to a passion for the intricacies in providing unique design work, Nathan has an illustrious portfolio which reflects his talent and the scope of his work. Nathan’s role is to lead the design team, guiding and influencing distinctive and exceptional designs.

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