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Healthy Buildings: Understanding Fitwel Certification

COVID-19 escalated occupants' desire for healthy workspaces. Fitwel gives facility managers a blueprint to follow.

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Even before a global pandemic swept over the country, sending many employees into work-from-home mode and shutting down commercial buildings and educational facilities, workplace health and wellness emerged as a major priority for occupants.

Knowing that could affect the ability of building owners to retain tenants, and also those tenants to keep valued employees, many organizations passed the task of developing healthy workplaces onto the plates of facility managers.

In addition to the traditional duties such as keeping the lights on and offering a comfortable and clean climate for employees and tenants, facility managers are now devising plans to make the workplace healthier.

Fitwel, a health and wellness certification program started in 2016, was created with a goal of addressing the health and wellness issue.

“Even before COVID-19, 75 percent of employees were asking employers about health and wellness and how they will address health and wellness in their companies,” says Joanna Frank, president and CEO of the Center for Active Design, the operator of Fitwel.

“If I was a facility manager, in order to keep the tenants we have happy, you need to be able to answer how you are promoting the health and wellness of employees. In order to attract tenants in the future, you need to be able to demonstrate how you're promoting health and wellness. Because if you're not doing it, you better believe the building next door is doing it. Emphasizing health and wellness has become a way to differentiate yourself in the marketplace, especially existing buildings.”

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