Wellness in the Workplace: Prioritizing Occupant Health

Wellness in the Workplace: Prioritizing Occupant Health

By Ritika Dhamija and Shruti Narkar

We are thrilled to announce that Verdical Group recently completed a 2-star Fitwel Design Certification (v2.1 Workplace category)—as well as a LEED v4 BD+C Core & Shell Gold certification—for a 130,000-square-foot office space in Los Angeles, California. 

While many in the market are familiar with LEED certification, Fitwel is an emerging system intended to promote the wellness and resiliency of building occupants. Developed by experts in public health and design, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the General Services Administration (GSA), Fitwel is operated by the Center for Active Design (CfAD). The certification aims to foster a positive impact on occupant health and wellbeing through improvements to building design and operations. Fitwel includes over 55 strategies that prioritize wellness within the design, development, and operation of buildings. Each of these strategies directly relate to at least one “Health Impact Category”:

  • Impacts Surrounding Community Health 
  • Reduces Morbidity (Risk of Chronic Disease) + Absenteeism 
  • Supports Social Equity for Vulnerable Populations 
  • Enhances Access to Healthy Foods 
  • Promotes Occupant Safety 
  • Instills feelings of Well-Being (stress, anxiety, social isolation) 
  • Increases Physical Activity

With a lower certification cost and no prerequisites, Fitwel is quickly gaining popularity in the market, because of its focus on creating a healthier and happier environment for building occupants. Business owners have noticed reduced absenteeism, increase in productivity, and an ability to attract more talent, after pursuing the Fitwel certification.

Verdical Group’s recently certified project boasts open green spaces that will function as an office for the city’s creative leaders. The building has a unique design, featuring a large greenhouse-inspired interior space as well as external decks and staircases. 

Verdical Group was able to incorporate more than 50 Fitwel strategies that are evidence- and policy-based in order to achieve 118 points leading it to earn 2 stars out of 3 possible stars. Some of the features that helped us achieve the certification include visibility of the staircase before the elevators, active workstations for regular occupants, and access to outdoor fitness areas to motivate employees toward an active lifestyle. Provision of a dedicated lactation room for nursing mothers, ample daylit outdoor seating, and a restorative garden are some of the additional strategies incorporated in the project. Additionally, the implementation of certain policies such as green cleaning, a smoke-free environment, and health promotion programming will encourage a healthy lifestyle for the building users.

While many developers already have a plan to incorporate certain wellness strategies for their tenants, the choice to use the Fitwel Certification ultimately maximizes the comfort, productivity, and health of occupants beyond expectation. 

Interested in how we can help you apply Fitwel certification to your space?  Feel free to reach out to our team here at Verdical Group to help you navigate the entire Fitwel certification process.