Champion Insights – How BeUpstanding has Impacted Workplace Culture

The BeUpstanding program was developed to support work teams to address the emergent work health and safety issue of excessive sitting.  Through taking part in the program, it is hoped that the various strategies teams implement to sit less and move more in the workplace lead to sustainable changes in their organisation and create a culture where sitting less and moving more is the norm.

In order to evaluate the impact of BeUpstanding, champions taking part in the national trial of BeUpstanding complete a survey through the online toolkit at three timepoints in the trial – prior to launching the program, upon completion of the 8-week program, and 12 months after launching the program. Champions also take part in a phone call with a member of the BeUpstanding team at these same time points and are asked a series of questions about their experience.

During their 12-month sustainability phone call with a BeUpstanding team member, champions were asked the following question about their workplace; “To what extent do you feel the workplace culture and norms have changed to support sitting less and moving more?”

Here are some of their responses:

“We include the BeUpstanding program as part of our induction process now as well, so make people aware of our participation and our continued commitment to ways to get up during the day. Meetings are held standing when possible and staff are encouraged to take breaks and be active at lunchtime.” (Project Coordinator, medium organisation, Brisbane, Queensland)

“Our workplace has changed in a few ways to support sitting less and moving more through providing equipment and funding exercise subscriptions for staff to access. We recognised that having standing be part of general staff meetings shows management support.”(Communications Manager; Very large organisation; Darwin, Northern Territory)

“It opened the company up to well-being programs and increased awareness around sedentary behaviour.” (Accounts & HR Manger/HSEQ Assistant; Small organisation;  Maryborough, Regional Queensland)

“COVID impacted some of the strategies but overall the program has helped create a workplace culture where people enjoy moving more and are supported to do so.” (Acting HIS Manager; Very large organisation; Sydney, New South Wales)

“The key thing has been having upper-level management support for activities. Support is more there now for people that want to take a walking meeting or walk while taking a call. If staff want to break up their day, then we now encourage them to move frequently throughout the day and they are allowed to have a larger break in the day for movement, so there is now a more flexible arrangement of hours to accommodate this.” (Business Coordinator; Medium organisation; Brisbane, Queensland)

“Standing in meetings or on the phone are more the norm.  Awareness around sedentary behaviour was greatly improved.” (Training Manager, Medium organisation; Brisbane, Queensland)

“The WHS program now includes some standing components along with Tai Chi. The physical environment is more conducive to standing.” (Team Leader; Large organisation; Sydney, New South Wales)

“Management is very supportive and encourages staff to move more, and the workplace is holding regular standing meetings. There is more a culture of acceptance of standing more throughout the day and taking breaks.”  (Risk Management Consultant, Very large organisation; Orange, Regional New South Wales) 

“The norms and culture for the team changed 100% to sitting less and moving more. The team received sit-to-stand desks and felt valued, and people acknowledged the benefit of less sedentary behaviour.” (Executive Manager WHS; Very large organisation; Adelaide, South Australia)

“The CEO is very supportive and got us stand up desks and anti-fatigue matts for their desks. He also is supportive of wearing sneakers/comfy shoes at work to make it more comfortable to stand at work. Everyone is more aware of the time they spend sitting and are making more conscious efforts to break up their sitting time.” (Executive Assistant and In-house Legal Counsel, Small organisation; Melbourne, Victoria) 

“Our workplace norms have definitely changed to support sitting less. 12 months ago, we wouldn’t have even talked about moving more but now we are all aware of the importance of it and it is part of our regular conversation and day to day work. We are a small team, so everyone has been encouraging each other and the strategies they selected have been continued. We would still like to add more strategies and will be now making one of their fortnightly team meetings a standing one.” (Managing Director; Small organisation; Bundaberg, Regional Queensland)

It has been great to hear from Champions that they feel the culture within their workplace is much more supportive of sitting less and moving more at work since taking part in BeUpstanding, and that the program has increased awareness around sitting time and encouraged teams to make sustainable changes to how they move at work.

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