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Workplace building design and office-based workers' activity: a study of a natural experiment
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health (2015)
  • Jonine Jancey, Curtin University
  • Dr Sarah McGann, The University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Robyn Creagh, Curtin University
  • Krysten Blackford, Curtin University
  • Peter Howat, Curtin University
  • Marian Tye, Curtin University
Objective: This opportunistic natural study investigated the effects of relocation of office
workers from a 30-year-old building to a new purpose-built building. The new buildingincluded an attractive central staircase that was easily accessed and negotiated, as well asbreakout spaces and a centralised facilities area. The researchers aimed to determine theimpact of the purpose-built office building on the office workers’ sedentariness and level ofphysical activity.
Method: In 2013, a natural pre-post study was undertaken with office-based workers in their
old conventional 1970s building and on relocating to a new purpose-built ‘activity permissive’building. Objective movement data was measured using accelerometers. Anthropometric anddemographic data was also collected.
Results: Forty-two office-based workers significantly decreased their percentage of daily sitting

time (T1 = 84.9% to T2=79.7%; p<0.001) and increased their percentage of daily standing time

(T1=11.2% to T2 17.0%; p<0.001) in the new building. Moderate activity significantly declined

(T1=3.9% to 3.2%=T2; p=0.038). There was a significant decrease in mean minutes of sitting

time (19.62 minutes; p<0.001) and increase in standing time (22.03 minutes; p<0.001).

Conclusions: The design of a building can influence activity. This opportunistic study on the
impact of workplace relocation on office-based workers’ activity showed modest positiveoutcomes in sitting and standing. Evidence is required to inform building design policy andpractice that supports physical activity and reduces levels of sedentariness in the workplace.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Jancey, J., McGann, S., Creagh, R., Blackford, K., Howat, P., and Tye, M. (2015). Workplace building design and office-based workers' activity: a study of a natural experiment. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 40(1), 78-82. DOI: 10.1111/1753-6405.12464