Acceptability and feasibility of potential intervention strategies for influencing sedentary time at work: focus group interviews in executives and employees

Background:
Occupational sitting can be the largest contributor to overall daily sitting time in white-collar workers. With adverse health effects in adults, intervention strategies to influence sedentary time on a working day are needed. Therefore, the present aim was to examine employees’ and executives’ reflections on occupational sitting and to examine the potential acceptability and feasibility of intervention strategies to reduce and interrupt sedentary time on a working day.
Methods:
Seven focus groups (four among employees, n = 34; three among executives, n = 21) were conducted in a convenience sample of three different companies in Flanders (Belgium), using a semi-structured questioning route in five themes [personal sitting patterns; intervention strategies during working hours, (lunch) breaks, commuting; and intervention approach]. The audiotaped interviews were verbatim transcribed, followed by a qualitative inductive content analysis in NVivo 10.
Results:
The majority of participants recognized they spend their working day mostly sitting and associated this mainly with musculoskeletal health problems. Participants suggested a variety of possible strategies, primarily for working hours (standing during phone calls/meetings, PC reminders, increasing bathroom use by drinking more water, active sitting furniture, standing desks, rearranging the office) and (lunch) breaks (physical activity, movement breaks, standing tables). However, several barriers were reported, including productivity concerns, impracticality, awkwardness of standing, and the habitual nature of sitting. Facilitating factors were raising awareness, providing alternatives for simply standing, making some strategies obligatory and workers taking some personal responsibility.
Conclusions:
There are some strategies targeting sedentary time on a working day that are perceived to be realistic and useful. However several barriers emerged, which future trials and practical initiatives should take into account.

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