How supportive are workplace environments for sitting less and moving more?
This scientific paper, titled ‘How supportive are workplace environments for sitting less and moving more? A descriptive study of Australian workplaces participating in the BeUpstanding program’, describes common activity promoting strategies used by organisations, and some quick wins that could be implemented to support workers to sit less and move more.
Sectors included in the study were those identified by policy and practice partners for participation in the national implementation trial and included small to medium enterprises, regional/remote, public, and blue-collar.
It is for workplace mangers and thought leaders interested in understanding how they can understand and enhance their work environment to be more activity permissive.
Desk-based workers are highly sedentary, and this has been identified as an emerging work health and safety issue. To reduce workplace sitting time and promote physical activity it is important to understand what factors are already present within workplaces to inform future interventions.
This cross-sectional study examined the prevalence of supportive environmental factors, prior to self-designated workplaces signing up to take part in a ‘sit less, move more’ initiative (BeUpstanding). The findings provide a snapshot of the reported availability of a range of environmental supports to sit less and move more in a broad range of Australian organisations.
Participants in the study were 291 Australian-based workplace champions (representing 230 organisations) who unlocked the BeUpstanding program’s online toolkit between September 2017 and mid-November 2020, and who completed surveys of champion, organisation and workplace characteristics, and the availability of environmental factors to support sitting less and moving more. Highlights included:
• Organisations that were public sector, not small/medium, not regional/remote, and not blue-collar had higher odds of having supportive factors than their counterparts, however, workplaces varied considerably in the number of factors present.
• Spatial characteristics were more common than resource or policy characteristics.
• Characteristics absent in most workplaces were likely to be modifiable or low cost (“easy wins”).
• Almost all workplaces had some room for improvement in terms of activity-supportive factors.
The findings can assist with developing and targeting initiatives and promoting feasible strategies for desk-based workers to sit less and move more. The paper includes a list of activity promoting strategies that workplaces can refer to.
For more information about promoting healthy habits in the workplace, visit the Healthy Workplaces website.
Resource submitted by Genevieve Healy, Professor – Physical Activity and Health, Higher Education, The University of Queensland