Healthy workplaces, active employees: A systematic literature review on impacts of workplace environments on employees’ physical activity and sedentary behavior

Xuemei Zhu, Aya Yoshikawa, Lingyi Qiu, Zhipeng Lu, Chanam Lee, Marcia Ory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Insufficient physical activity (PA) and extensive sedentary behavior (SB) are major global health threats. Workplace interventions, especially the impacts of physical environments, have received limited attention compared to the growing literature linking residential environments with PA/SB. This systematic review examines this understudied topic and proposes a comprehensive conceptual framework for future research and practice. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, 87 relevant articles (2000–2017) were identified and reviewed. The results revealed evidence supporting environmental impacts on employees' PA/SB from three spatial scales. At the workstation scale, sit-stand desks, treadmill desks, and stationary high desks were found to reduce SB and increase standing. Work building scale is relatively understudied, and reported correlates include staircase design, overall building design combining multiple PA-friendly strategies, and specific PA amenities (e.g., exercise facilities). On the work neighborhood scale, important correlates include work commute distance and corresponding route characteristics, parking availability and cost, and surrounding neighborhood environments. Assessment of the study quality showed limitations related to selection bias, confounders, difficulty of blinding, and lack of control groups and long-term assessments. The research base is still nascent as to how the workplace environment as a whole, including all three scales, influence PA/SB throughout the workday. This review provides promising support for the potential of promoting active lifestyles through workplace environmental interventions. Future research and practice will be enhanced by a more holistic approach that integrates multiple environmental scales and considers personal and social factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106455
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume168
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2020

Keywords

  • Environment
  • Intervention
  • Literature review
  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

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