Evidence Base - Why it Works?

It is widely known that sitting down for long periods of time, even for those who do some exercise regularly, can lead to poor health. Research has shown that sitting for long periods can result in a number of health concerns including obesity, high blood pressure, increased blood sugars and cholesterol. All of these, in turn, may increase the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Office workers have been found to spend between 70-85% of their working day and nearly 10 hours over their whole day sitting down which make them a key population to work with to reduce their sedentary behaviour.

With this in mind, researchers from the University of Leicester and Loughborough University wanted to investigate simple solutions to reducing sitting time in the office. The team spent 12 months working with office-based workers to design and develop a programme which would suit this population. Different techniques and tools were trialed to ensure the most accurate, user-friendly and popular methods were utilised.

The final SMART Work intervention included height adjustable desks and training of how to use them, a self-monitoring tool to assess their sitting time and remind them to move at set intervals, an education seminar on health benefits of reducing sitting, feedback on their sitting behaviour, action planning and goal setting techniques, motivational posters and coaching sessions with the research team.

If you are interested in reading more about the Development Phase of the SMART Work Intervention, please download the academic paper.

The 12 month intervention led to reductions in sitting time at work, improvements in time spent standing, increases in engagement at work and self-reported job performance as well as reductions in "presenteeism" (working while performance is impaired by health problems). The results of the intervention have been published in the British Medical Journal and you can access the academic paper or take a look at the infographic which demonstrates the results in a clear, concise format.

SMART Work Development Stage

In response to this ever growing body of evidence, researchers at Loughborough University and The University of Leicester wanted to investigate simple solutions to reducing sitting time in the office. Working with office workers in the NHS, the team created the Stand More At Work Programme which included giving height-adjustable workstations to staff, alongside a brief education seminar, posters, self-monitoring tool and providing feedback on sitting behaviour.

Results of the Intervention

In this research, this programme reduced sitting time and increased standing whilst at work, which resulted in lots of work and wellbeing benefits. In response to the study findings and the fantastic feedback from the participants who received the SMART Work programme, the team have created The SMART Work toolkit which is freely available for organisations to access and use. So why don't you sign up today?