22 May 2017

What makes an effective work walking programme?


A high proportion of the adult population in England do not participate in sufficient physical activity to benefit their health. The workplace is a setting in which there is potential to reach large numbers of adults with interventions to promote physical activity and improve health.

This paper, published by Emma Adams - our Reaseach and Evaluation Manager, looks at one workplace walking programme, Walking Works, and evaluates its effectiveness as a strategy for promoting walking for the journey to/from work.

Walking Works aimed to encourage people to walk more for all, or some, of their journey to work or during the working day. The programme had a number of key features including, creation of a programme steering group, recruitment of a network of walking champions and delivery of eight activities in each workplace over the two years of the programme.

The evaluation observed no changes in walking behaviour but did make a number of evidence-based recommendations to help shape the development and delivery of whole-workplace walking programmes.

Recommendations include:

  • At least six months should be allowed to recruit workplaces to take part in the programme.
  • Senior management should be engaged from the start and should help to raise the profile of the programme, facilitate communication about activities, support walking champions in undertaking their role, visibly participate in programme activities and encourage employee participation.
  • Planning and delivery of activities should align with employees’ normal daily roles.
  • A range of methods, including individual emails, should be used to publicise and communicate information about activities to ensure all employees are aware of opportunities to participate.
  • There should be ongoing consultation with employers and employees to maintain their involvement and ensure the programme and activities still meet their needs.

Download: Evaluation of the implementation of a whole-workplace walking programme using the RE-Aim framework