7 ways to promote active spaces at work

Two men holding paper on a balcony

When planning your Health at Work programme it’s important to think about the space and facilities your staff can use to build physical activity into their working lives.

Last month Sport England and Public Health England delivered their latest version of Active Design: Planning for health and wellbeing through sport and physical activity. These are guidelines take a fresh look at the opportunities to encourage and promote sport and physical activity through the design and layout of our built environment to support healthier and more active lifestyles. 

Sport England has developed  to help promote environments that offer individuals and communities the greatest potential to lead active and healthy lifestyles. The principles can be applied to many different settings and equally to the design of new places and the enhancement of existing places.

7 ways to apply these ideas to your workplace

We have applied the Sport England's 10 Active Design principles to help inspire workplaces to promote and optimise opportunities for active and healthy lifestyles. 

1. Activity for all

Sports should be accessible to all users and should encourage physical activity across all ages. Make sure that you use our employee survey to find out what would enable your whole workforce to get active. Use a varied range of promotion methods, provide a range and mix of activities and where possible support with good quality conveniences e.g. changing facilities. 

2. Active Travel

The journey to work is a key part of many people’s daily routine and creates an opportunity for active travel. Workplaces can promote active travel through initiatives like walking part of your journey to work, BHF challenges and cycle to work initiatives.

3. Making more of the outdoors

Physical activity can be done anywhere and businesses should take advantage of this. Why not try an exercise video in a meeting room or have an allotment outside for an alternative way to get active? If you are short of space, think about sharing facilities and space with other workplaces.

4. Appropriate infrastructure 

Supporting infrastructure to enable sport and physical activity is incredibly important and can influence physical activity choices. Things like showers, changing rooms and bicycle storage are more likely to encourage staff to get active through active travel or during the working day

5. Active buildings 

The internal and external layout, design and use of buildings should promote opportunities for physical activity. Try a stair climb challenge or if you’re near a park, why not set up a lunchtime running group. Think about areas that can lend themselves to temporary activity opportunities such as lunchtime activity classes or table tennis in meeting rooms or open informal spaces.

6. Evaluation 

Make sure you assess your facilities regularly. A high standard of maintenance, monitoring and evaluation will help make sure staff continue to use and enjoy getting active.

7. Activity promotion & champions 

Promotion is vital. Noticeboards in communal areas or intranet messages are great as well as technology and social media! Having workplace health champions will really help to drive forward the promotion of physical activity in your workplace. Make sure you work with external organisations who can help you promote physical activity – County Sports Partnerships are a good place to start.

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