Toolkit to support staff working from home launched

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Researchers at the University’s Physical Activity for Health Research Centre have developed a toolkit detailing how staff who work from home can move more throughout the working day.

Beginning in January 2021, when staff gave their opinions on working at home and how their sedentary behaviour had changed, researchers at the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre reviewed existing evidence to come up with interventions that would be effective in office settings and, with input from wellbeing stakeholders, determined if they were transferable to this working at home.

Participants in the research suggested providing information in a bite-sized format, so the toolkit has been set up as a four-week programme with different themes each week. It is possible to dip into the toolkit’s suggestions based on what suits you, and what works with your work at home routine. Over time, you’ll likely find those suggestions that work best for you, and that you enjoy the most.

Suggestions include:

  • Move more meetings: setting up meetings to be 50-minutes, rather than the default one-hour setting, and using that time between appointments to move – rather than replying to emails.
  • Active breaks: scheduling active breaks – which might be a short bout of physical activity, something like squats or kettle-cises or household chores such as watering the plants or doing laundry.
  • Active commute: making time for a ‘home-to-home’ commute before and/or after your working at home day.
  • Tech: using technology to set reminders to move.

Making the toolkit work for you

Getting into new habits and changing behaviour can be difficult – especially to get started with. When working at home, the day can become filled with back-to-back online meetings. You can become engrossed in a task, perhaps you lose track of time and before you know it you haven’t moved from the laptop for a couple of hours – you might even find your working day gets a little bit longer. Here are some suggestions from the toolkit that you may find helpful when getting started.

    1. Form the intention: It is important to make a decision that change is needed, and form an intention that you are going to reduce sedentary time.
    2. Make plans: Good intentions don’t always lead to action, so it can be helpful to carefully plan how you are going to move more. For example, on Monday morning look and see where you could schedule a no-screen moving meeting. Use a post-it to write down your plan (be specific – what, when and who with). Put the post-it somewhere you will see it to remind you, and also think of other ways to ‘prompt’ you (set a timer/alert on your computer, phone or smartwatch).
    3. Get support: It can also be helpful to get others involved to help support you in changing behaviour – why not link up with a colleague, family member or friend and support each other to move more when you are working at home.

Find out more

The toolkit can be found on the Actify platform.

Toolkit to support moving during the work at home day

If you would like to receive Microsoft Teams prompts, which include movement suggestions three times a day during the working week, email Dr Sarah Morton at