Perceived office environments and occupational physical activity in office-based workers

Sawyer, Alexia and Smith, Lee and Ucci, Marcella and Jones, Russell and Marmot, Alexi and Fisher, Abigail (2017) Perceived office environments and occupational physical activity in office-based workers. Occupational Medicine, 67 (4). pp. 260-267. ISSN 1471-8405

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Background: Individuals in office-based occupations have low levels of physical activity but there is little research into the socio-ecological correlates of workplace activity. Aims: To identify factors contributing to office-based workers’ perceptions of the office environment and explore cross-sectional relationships between these factors and occupational physical activity and sitting. Methods: Participants in the Active Buildings study reported perceptions of their office environment using the Movement at Work Survey. A principal component analysis (PCA) was conducted on survey items. A sub-sample wore the ActivPAL3TM accelerometer for 3 or more workdays to measure occupational step count, standing, sitting and sit-to-stand transitions. Linear regression analyses assessed relationships between environmental perceptions and activity. Results: There were 433 participants, with accelerometer data available for 115 participants across 11 organisations. The PCA revealed four factors: 1) perceived distance to office destinations, 2) perceived office aesthetics and comfort, 3) perceived office social environment, 4) perceived management discouragement of unscheduled breaks. Younger participants perceived office destinations as being closer to their desk. Younger and female participants perceived more positive office social environments; there were no other socio-demographic differences. Within the sub-sample with accelerometer data, perceived discouragement of breaks by management was related to occupational step count/hour (B=-64.5; 95%CI:-109.7 to -19.2). No other environmental perceptions were related to activity or sitting. Conclusions: Perceived managerial discouragement of breaks could be related to meaningful decreases in occupational step count. Future research should aim to elucidate the role of the workplace socio-cultural environment in occupational walking, with a focus on the role of management.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: movement, sedentary jobs, social environment
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Lee Smith
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2017 10:32
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:58

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