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 physical and mental health of people of all ages and abilities. 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 staff absenteeism levels, increase staff satisfaction and improve the workplace environment.

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 and travel 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 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 work sites.

d) Evidence that employees receive information tailored to the workplace about accessible walking and cycling routes which include public transport options, distances involved, cycle parking, maps, routes, alternative route directions and safety.

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 commuter trips is available from Department for Transport's National Travel Survey.

b) Percentage of adults cycling for travel at least 3 days a week.

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

c) Percentage of adults walking for travel at least 3 days a week.

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

d) Level of satisfaction among employees who feel supported about their health and wellbeing.

Data source:  Local data collection, for example staff surveys. The NHS staff survey (2018) contained the following question: 11 Does my organisation take positive action on health and wellbeing?

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Workplaces ensure that they have a physical activity programme, as organisational priorities, to encourage employees to move more and be more physically active. They should provide information tailored to the workplace. This could include signs at strategic points, for example outside lifts, and distributing written information to encourage people to use the stairs rather than lifts. Information about safe travel routes to and from the workplace should also be available and include maps, routes and travel safety. Workplaces should take account of the nature of the employee's work and any health and safety issues. They should also monitor and evaluate their physical activity programmes on an annual basis.

Occupational health professionals, human resource professionals, workplace health promoters and workplace active travel champions ensure that employees follow physical activity programmes and their components and have ongoing advice and support. This will help employees plan how they are going to increase their levels of physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour as part of the working day. They will coordinate activities and develop or promote schemes that help employees to move more and use active modes of travel to and from the workplace (such as walking and cycling).

Employees in organisations are provided with a multi-component physical activity programme that is tailored to both the needs of the employee and the workplace in terms of organisational size and the type of work it undertakes in terms of any health and safety issues. This programme will offer employees ongoing advice and support them to move more when travelling to and from work and during the working day.

Source guidance

Definition of terms used in this quality statement

Physical activity programmes

The programme should be multi-component and tailored to both the needs of employees and the workplace in terms of its organisational size and the type of work it undertakes (such as any health and safety issues). It 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 subsidised gym memberships.

  • Supporting 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

    • encouraging employees to walk or cycle to external meetings

    • holding stand-up meetings

    • 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 on local opportunities to be physically active (both within and outside the workplace) and local walking groups, exercise classes, and cycle training programmes, walking and cycling routes which include public transport options, details on the distances involved and cycle parking available. Information about safe travel routes to and from the workplace should also be available and include maps, routes and travel safety.

  • Providing tailored information (including written information) and ongoing advice and support on the health benefits of physical activity to help employees plan how they are going to increase their physical activity levels and reduce sedentary behaviour. This may also include a confidential, independent health check administered by a suitably qualified practitioner and focused on physical activity.

[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 to 1.4.4 and expert opinion]

Equality and diversity considerations

Workplaces should ensure that physical activity programmes include accessibility considerations for all employees. Particular consideration should be given to the least active, such as people with limited mobility or disabilities (including sensory, visual or learning disabilities).

Tailored written information should also be accessible to all employees, including people with disabilities (including sensory, visual 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.