The Evidence Behind SMART Work

The SMART Work programme is based on 6 years of development and testing by the research team. Find out more below:


Researchers from the University of Leicester and Loughborough University wanted to develop an evidence-based programme to help desk-based workers to reduce the time they spent sitting whilst at work.

The research team spent 12 months working with desk-based workers to design and develop a programme called SMART Work.

The SMART Work programme included:

  • an education workshop
  • provision of height adjustable desks/platforms
  • a device to keep track of sitting time and provide movement reminders
  • feedback on sitting behaviour
  • action planning and goal setting
  • motivational posters
  • brief 'catch up/progress' sessions with the research team

Click here to read more about how we developed the programme.


The research team then tested how well the SMART Work programme worked for reducing sitting and improving health and well-being in desk-based workers within the National Health Service (NHS). They used the gold standard research methodology to do this - a randomised controlled trial. After 12 months, they found:

  • Reductions in sitting whilst at work
  • Increases in job performance
  • Improvements in lower back, neck and upper extremity musculoskeletal issues
  • Reductions in sickness presenteeism
  • Reductions in fatigue
  • Greater staff engagement
  • Increases in quality of life

The programme was found to be cost-saving = £5 returned for every £1 spent.

Take a look at our infographic which highlights our evidence of this programme. If you want more detailed information check out our paper published in the prestigious British Medical Journal.


Here's what some of the SMART Work programme users said:

I feel much more energised!

Joe H said:

Aches and pains have reduced!

Steve W said:

I feel much more productive!

Allison B said:

It has increased my concentration!

Daljit R said:

We have standing meetings, these tend to be shorter and more focussed

Angel C said: