Fitwel, the new GSA program

March 22, 2017


Horizontal color image of blond manager working with digital tablet in large futuristic factory. Blond woman standing on top of a balcony. Focus on businesswoman, futuristic machines in background.

We have already discussed the WELL building standard, which aims to improve the physical health, mental health, and productivity of employees by encouraging healthy lifestyles and reducing occupant exposure to harmful pollutants. This month, we will discuss the General Services Administration’s (GSA) new Fitwel program.

According to GSA, Fitwel is “a building certification program designed to positively impact employee productivity and health through targeted improvements to the built environment.” Given the growing evidence that buildings impact the health, well-being and productivity of workers, GSA wants to promote healthier design and policy strategies for buildings.

In 2011, GSA partnered with the City of New York and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop Fitwel, a rating system that assesses workplace design and policies, and piloted the program in 2014 in 89 public sector buildings. Currently, the Fitwel rating system is operated by the Center for Active Design and is available to the private sector.

Why Use Fitwel?

According to GSA’s website:

  • Rising health care costs have been reported as the top economic concern for CFOs for the past three years
  • Employers are looking for solutions, such as wellness-promotion programs, to offset these costs
  • 97% of pilot study participants reported that Fitwel’s web-based tool is easy to use
  • 84% reported that they better understand how their buildings support healthy behaviors
  • Fitwel is based on the strongest available scientific evidence, providing over 60 evidence-based strategies with the highest potential impact

How to get Fitwel certified

The Fitwel Digital Scorecard will be available broadly this year. Currently, only Fitwel Champions and Ambassadors have access to the Scorecard. To sign up to be a Champion (for companies) or Ambassador (for individuals), or to learn more about Fitwel, visit www.fitwel.org.

For more information on providing a greener and healthier workplace environment, contact Vanguard Resources.