NIHR SPHR’s Active Buildings study, a unique collaboration between public health, built environment and computer science researchers, has found that office-based workers demonstrate high levels of sitting during both the working week and weekend.
Although it is well documented that regular exercise and reduced sitting has positive health benefits, the number of people regularly exercising remains low and sitting time remains high.
Office layout, in particular the number and location of office building destinations (e.g. printers and meeting rooms), may influence both walking time and characteristics of sitting time. To date, there has been no research which has focused on the layout of indoor office environments and how this impacts on step counts and sitting time.
This study has found that office-based workers demonstrate high levels of sitting during both the working week and weekend. Interventions that target the working day and the evenings (weekday and weekend) to displace sitting with activity, may be the most effective way to reduce offer sitting times. This would increase physical activity levels and therefore benefit health.
This research has highlighted that the perceived discouragement of breaks from management decrease step counts in the work place, and should be investigated further in intervention studies. The findings are important for informing approaches to increase physical activity and reduce sitting in office-based workers.
SPHR final report: Active buildings
Fisher A., Ucci M., Smith L., Sawyer A., Spinney R., Konstantatou M., Marmot A. Associations between the objectively measured office environment and workplace step count and sitting time: Cross-sectional analyses from the active buildings study (2018). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15(6).
Smith L., Sawyer A., Gardner B., Seppala K., Ucci M., Marmot A., Lally P., Fisher A. Occupational Physical Activity Habits of UK Office Workers: Cross-Sectional Data from the Active Buildings Study (2018) International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15(6).
Sawyer A, Smith L, Ucci M, Jones R, Marmot A, Fisher A. Perceived office environments and occupational physical activity in office-based workers. Occupational Medicine 2017 67:4.
Smith L, Ucci M, Marmot A, Spinney R, Laskowski M, Sawyer A, Konstantatou M, Hamer M, Wardle J, Fisher A. A review of occupational physical activity and sedentary behaviour correlates. Occupational Medicine 2016 66:3.
Smith L, Hamer M, Ucci M, Marmot A, Gardener B, Sawyer A, Wardle J, Fisher A. Weekday and weekend patterns of objectively measured sitting, standing, and stepping in a sample of office-based workers: the active building Study. BMC Public Health 2015 15:9
Spinney R, Smith L, Ucci M, Fisher A, Konstantatou M, Sawyer A, Wardle J, Marmot, A. Indoor Tracking to Understand Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour: Exploratory Study in UK Office Buildings. PLoS ONE 2015 10: e0127688.
Smith L, Ekelund, U, Hamer, M. The Potential Yield of Non-Exercise Physical Activity Energy Expenditure in Public Health. Sports Medicine 2015 45:4.
Marmot A and Ucci M. (Guest Editors) Physical activity, sedentary behaviour & the indoor built environment. Building Research Information 2015 43:5.
Marmot A, Ucci M. Sitting less, moving more: the indoor environment as a tool for change. Building Research Information 2015 43:5.
Smith L, Ucci M, Marmot A, Spinney R, Laskowski M, Sawyer A, Konstantatou M, Hamer M, Ambler G, Wardle J, Fisher A. Active buildings: modelling physical activity and movement in office buildings. A observational study protocol. BMJ Open 2013 12:3:e004103