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Participant and workplace champion experiences of an intervention designed to reduce sitting time in desk-based workers: SMART work & life

Edwardson, Charlotte L; Maylor, Benjamin D; Biddle, Stuart J H; Clarke-Cornwell, Alexandra M; Clemes, Stacy A; Davies, Melanie J; Dunstan, David W; Granat, Malcolm H; Gray, Laura J; Hadjiconstantinou, Michelle; Healy, Genevieve N; Wilson, Panna; Munir, Fehmidah; Yates, Thomas; Eborall, Helen

Participant and workplace champion experiences of an intervention designed to reduce sitting time in desk-based workers: SMART work & life Thumbnail


Charlotte L Edwardson

Benjamin D Maylor

Stuart J H Biddle

Stacy A Clemes

Melanie J Davies

David W Dunstan

Laura J Gray

Michelle Hadjiconstantinou

Genevieve N Healy

Panna Wilson

Fehmidah Munir

Thomas Yates

Helen Eborall


Background: A cluster randomised controlled trial demonstrated the effectiveness of the SMART Work & Life (SWAL) behaviour change intervention, with and without a height-adjustable desk, for reducing sitting time in desk-based workers. Staff within organisations volunteered to be trained to facilitate delivery of the SWAL intervention and act as workplace champions. This paper presents the experiences of these champions on the training and intervention delivery, and from participants on their intervention participation. Methods: Quantitative and qualitative feedback from workplace champions on their training session was collected. Participants provided quantitative feedback via questionnaires at 3 and 12 month follow-up on the intervention strategies (education, group catch ups, sitting less challenges, self-monitoring and prompts, and the height-adjustable desk [SWAL plus desk group only]). Interviews and focus groups were also conducted at 12 month follow-up with workplace champions and participants respectively to gather more detailed feedback. Transcripts were uploaded to NVivo and the constant comparative approach informed the analysis of the interviews and focus groups. Results: Workplace champions rated the training highly with mean scores ranging from 5.3/6 to 5.7/6 for the eight parts. Most participants felt the education increased their awareness of the health consequences of high levels of sitting (SWAL: 90.7%; SWAL plus desk: 88.2%) and motivated them to change their sitting time (SWAL: 77.5%; SWAL plus desk: 85.77%). A high percentage of participants (70%) reported finding the group catch up session helpful and worthwhile. However, focus groups highlighted mixed responses to the group catch-up sessions, sitting less challenges and self-monitoring intervention components. Participants in the SWAL plus desk group felt that having a height-adjustable desk was key in changing their behaviour, with intrinsic as well as time based factors reported as key influences on the height-adjustable desk usage. In both intervention groups, participants reported a range of benefits from the intervention including more energy, less fatigue, an increase in focus, alertness, productivity and concentration as well as less musculoskeletal problems (SWAL plus desk group only). Work-related, interpersonal, personal attributes, physical office environment and physical barriers were identified as barriers when trying to sit less and move more. Conclusions: Workplace champion and participant feedback on the intervention was largely positive but it is clear that different behaviour change strategies worked for different people indicating that a ‘one size fits all’ approach may not be appropriate for this type of intervention. The SWAL intervention could be tested in a broader range of organisations following a few minor adaptations based on the champion and participant feedback. Trial registration: ISCRCTN registry (ISRCTN11618007).


Edwardson, C. L., Maylor, B. D., Biddle, S. J. H., Clarke-Cornwell, A. M., Clemes, S. A., Davies, M. J., …Eborall, H. (in press). Participant and workplace champion experiences of an intervention designed to reduce sitting time in desk-based workers: SMART work & life. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 20(1), 142.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 14, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 30, 2023
Deposit Date Dec 6, 2023
Publicly Available Date Dec 6, 2023
Journal International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 142
Keywords Workplace, Barriers, Benefits, Sedentary behaviour, Occupational


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