Walking to work and during the work day are great ways for employees to be more physically active.
Travel plans for businesses encourage walking, cycling, public transport and carpooling can save workplaces and employees time and money. The Victorian Government no longer actively promotes workplace travel planning, but resources are available from the NSW Premier's Council for Active Living and the WA Department of Transport.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends:
- Workplaces should consult their staff in the development of strategies to promote walking .
- Workplaces should align strategies to increase walking with other local initiatives, such as those coordinated by the local council.
- Pedometer-based interventions delivered in the workplace have shown some effectiveness at increasing staff levels of walking.
- Walking is higher in workplaces where good onsite and offsite access by walking is available, along with provision of showers, drying and changing facilities. To provide good access by walking, workplaces should liaise with their local council and neighbouring business to improve infrastructure.
- Success has been found in workplaces that identify an 'active travel champion' (or champions), who is positioned at a sufficiently senior level, and is responsible for coordinating activities to increase walking.
- Workplaces should provide staff with workplace-specific information on walking routes and circuits. This should include details on the distances involved, maps, routes and safety information.
A review of workplace health programs generally (Rongen 2013) found they were more likely to be effective in younger workplaces; where there was at least weekly contact with participants, especially those that involved an exercise program with an instructor; and where people self-selected for the program.
Resources and programs
- Victoria Walks has a range of resources to encourage walking in the workplace, including Walk the Block and Smart Steps for Business.
- New employee orientation walk - an example of a workplace neighbourhood orientation walk for new employees of Victoria Walks, and a useful guide to other employers for creating their own.
- WorkHealth - health and wellbeing programs that employers can introduce to their workplace.