Uptake and factors that influence the use of `sit less, move more’ occupational intervention strategies in Spanish office employees

Little is known about the types of ‘sit less, move more’ strategies that appeal to office employees, or what factors influence their use. This study assessed the uptake of strategies in Spanish university office employees engaged in an intervention, and those factors that enabled or limited strategy uptake.
The study used a mixed method design. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with academics and administrators (n = 12; 44 ± 12 mean SD age; 6 women) at three points across the five-month intervention, and data used to identify factors that influenced the uptake of strategies. Employees who finished the intervention then completed a survey rating (n = 88; 42 ± 8 mean SD age; 51 women) the extent to which strategies were used [never (1) to usually (4)]; additional survey items (generated from interviewee data) rated the impact of factors that enabled or limited strategy uptake [no influence (1) to very strong influence (4)]. Survey score distributions and averages were calculated and findings triangulated with interview data.
Relative to baseline, 67% of the sample increased step counts post intervention (n = 59); 60% decreased occupational sitting (n = 53). ‘Active work tasks’ and ‘increases in walking intensity’ were the strategies most frequently used by employees (89% and 94% sometimes or usually utilised these strategies); ‘walk-talk meetings’ and ‘lunchtime walking groups’ were the least used (80% and 96% hardly ever or never utilised these strategies). ‘Sitting time and step count logging’ was the most important enabler of behaviour change (mean survey score of 3.1 ± 0.8); interviewees highlighted the motivational value of being able to view logged data through visual graphics in a dedicated website, and gain feedback on progress against set goals. ‘Screen based work’ (mean survey score of 3.2 ± 0.8) was the most significant barrier limiting the uptake of strategies. Inherent time pressures and cultural norms that dictated sedentary work practices limited the adoption of ‘walk-talk meetings’ and ‘lunch time walking groups’.
The findings provide practical insights into which strategies and influences practitioners need to target to maximise the impact of ‘sit less, move more’ occupational intervention strategies.