Quality statement 4: Workplaces

Quality statement

Workplaces have a physical activity programme to encourage employees to move more and be more physically active.

Rationale

Moving more and being more active in everyday life is important for the health of the general population. Workplaces that have physical activity programmes to support employees to move more when travelling to and from work and during the working day will positively increase physical activity levels. This may help to reduce some illnesses and medical conditions.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence that workplaces have a physical activity programme to encourage employees to move more and be more physically active.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, a review of the organisation's plan or policy that includes a physical activity programme.

b) Evidence that workplaces monitor their physical activity programme to encourage employees to move more and be more physically active.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, workplace health staff surveys.

c) Evidence that workplaces liaise with neighbouring businesses and other partners to improve and promote accessible walking and cycling routes and accessible links to other work sites.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, a review of the organisation's planning application forms in terms of accessible walking and cycling routes and accessible links to other sites.

d) Evidence that employees receive tailored workplace information about accessible walking and cycling routes which include details on the distances involved, maps, routes and safety information.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, a review of workplace staff travel information including maps, routes and travel safety.

Outcomes

a) Percentage of adults who actively travel to and from workplaces.

Data source: National data on workplace modes is available from Department for Transport's National Travel Survey.

b) Percentage of adults cycling for travel at least three days per week.

Data source: National data on adult sport and physical activity is available from Sport England's Active Lives Survey and Public Health England's Physical Activity tool.

c) Percentage of adults walking for travel at least three days per week.

Data source: National data on adult sport and physical activity is available from Sport England's Active Lives Survey and Public Health England's Physical Activity tool.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Workplaces ensure that they have physical activity programmes to encourage employees to move more and be more physically active. They should provideinformation tailored to the specific workplace. This can include signs at strategic points such as outside lifts and distributing written information to encourage them to use the stairs rather than lifts if they can. Information about travel routes to and from workplaces should also be available. It should include details on the distances involved, to and from workplaces with maps, incentive schemes and safety information. Organisations should also take account of the nature of the employee's work and any health and safety issues.

Occupational health professionals, human resource professionals and workplace health promoters ensure that physical activity programmes and their components are followed by employees, with ongoing advice and support. This will help employees plan how they are going to increase their levels of physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour.

Employees in organisations are supported to move around more and be more physically active during the journey to and from work and in the working day. Their employer does this by providing a physical activity programme. This can include incentive schemes and ways to encourage employees to walk, cycle or use other modes of transport involving physical activity with safe, easy travel routes. Maps, routes and safety information should also be provided.

Source guidance

Definition of terms used in this quality statement

Physical activity programmes

The programme should ensure that employees with different needs and interests are encouraged and supported to be more physically active. It could include:

  • Incentive schemes such as Cycle to Work schemes and subsidised gym memberships.

  • Mechanisms to support employees to walk, cycle or use other modes of transport involving physical activity (to travel to and from work and as part of their working day). Examples of mechanisms include:

    • providing facilities such as bicycle storage, showers and changing facilities

    • ensuring that staircases are clearly signposted and attractive to use, to encourage people to use the stairs rather than lifts if they can

    • offering flexibility around taking breaks to enable employees to take short walks during work breaks

    • developing (or promoting) schemes that facilitate active travel, for example, schemes that give staff access to a pool of bicycles for short‑distance business travel, or access to discounted cycle purchases (such as Cycle to Work schemes).

  • Providing information (including written information) on how to minimise sedentary behaviour and be more physically active, and on the health benefits of such activity.

  • Written information on local opportunities to be physically active (both within and outside the workplace) tailored to meet specific needs, for example, the needs of shift workers. Examples include information about walking and cycling routes with maps provided, local walking groups, exercise classes, and cycle training programmes.

  • Ongoing advice and support to help people plan how they are going to increase their levels of physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour. This may include a confidential, independent health check administered by a suitably qualified practitioner and focused on physical activity.

To deliver the programme, employers could:

  • Help employees to be physically active and minimise sedentary behaviour during the working day by:

    • where possible, encouraging them to move around more at work (for example, by walking or cycling to external meetings or standing up during meetings)

    • encouraging them to set goals on how far they walk and cycle and to monitor the distances they cover.

  • Take account of the nature of the work and any health and safety issues. For example, many people already walk long distances during the working day, whereas those involved in shift work may be vulnerable if walking home alone at night.

[Adapted from NICE's guidelines on physical activity in the workplace, recommendations 2 and 3, and physical activity and the environment, recommendations 1.4.2-1.4.4]

Equality and diversity considerations

Organisations should ensure that physical activity programmes include accessibility considerations for employees with limited mobility or disabilities.

Tailored written information should be accessible to all employees with additional needs such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and to employees who do not speak or read English. Employees receiving information should have access to an interpreter or advocate if needed.