Sitting for long periods is linked to higher risks of health problems e.g. heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, neck/back problems, and early death. Sitting in the workplace can be a particular issue due to the increasing number of desk-based jobs where staff can sit for an average of six hours a day. Replacing some sitting time with light activities, such as standing and walking, could be an important way to improve the public’s health. Therefore, there was a need to develop, test and review the practicality of a package of changes in the workplace aimed at reducing time spent sitting.
This small pilot study formed my Masters in Public Health dissertation project and as a result was carried out within ScHARR. The package of changes, developed with a small group of ScHARR staff, included:
Posters/prompts to remind staff to sit less
- Emails with helpful tips of ways to sit less e.g. walking/standing meetings, regular breaks away from the desk
- Support from management in the form of emails and “leading by example”
- Changes to the way the workspace was used e.g. encouraging the use of toilets/printers/coffee rooms on different floors.
The findings from this study provide encouragement for the use of a low-cost package of changes to reduce workplace sitting, but are limited to health-related academic settings. As a result, I am planning on carrying out a similar study in a range of different workplaces, as a PhD Fellowship which I am currently applying for. If my application is successful, this further work will begin in October 2016.
Link to my paper: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/15/1294