Is Active Design changing the workplace? - A natural pre-post experiment looking at health behaviour and workplace perceptions
BACKGROUND: Active Design is a relatively new concept and evaluation on its effects on healthy behaviour is lacking.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate Active Design influence on workplace physical activity, sedentary behaviour, musculoskeletal complaints, and perceptions of the workplace and productivity.
METHODS: Participants (n = 118 adults) moving from 14 workplaces into a new building completed an online questionnaire pre- and post-move. The questions related to health behaviours (physical activity, sitting time and sleep); musculoskeletal issues; perceptions of the office environment; productivity; and engagement.
RESULTS: After the move, 68% of participants were located in an open plan building (21% before the move). In the new workplace participants tended to sit less during their work time (72% – 66%; p < 0.05) and stand more (15% – 19%; p < 0.05) while walking remained unchanged. Participants reported less lower-back pain. The new work environment was perceived as more motivating and providing better light, air quality and temperature, but less storage space. Participants reported looking forward to going to work more than before. No difference was reported in productivity related measures.
CONCLUSIONS: Moving to a new Active Design building can have some physical health-promoting effects on occupants. Satisfaction with environmental characteristics tended to improve in the new building though perceptions of productivity measures were variable.