Workplace facilities and initiatives for walking
Improving workplace facilities can be key to increasing the proportion of staff that walk, with many measures being low cost and easy to implement.
This toolkit offers information on:
Review your site looking at ‘desire lines’ (do marked paths follow the routes that people want to take, or do they have to cut through bushes or across grass to get to their destination), footpaths, lighting, surveillance, cleanliness, ease of access, overgrown plants etc.
Take a fresh look at the streets and paths on site and around your workplace and think about;
- Are there safe crossing points across roads for pedestrians?
- Is there an alternative to highly trafficked routes using back streets?
- Are pavements or paths flat, even and in reasonable repair?
- Are they well-lit at night and well drained in wet weather?
- Do pavements or paths lead directly to building entrances, or force pedestrians to cross car parks?
- Is there a well-lit route for pedestrians to use to access the car park to increase their visibility and improve perceptions of safety?
- Are there cars parked on footways or other obstructions?
- Is there a lot of traffic entering/exiting the site and using the surrounding streets?
- Are there any pleasant parks or open spaces nearby?
Find out your street’s ‘walk score’ based on the accessibility of local amenities – www.walkscore.com
Improvements onsite can be made by removing obstructions and monitoring parking and lining car parks with pedestrian awareness signs. Offsite you can report any problems such as: trip hazards, street lighting, overgrown vegetation etc. using Cheshire East Council’s online reporting portal.
Ideally, staff should have access to somewhere to change their clothes and store clothes and shoes, particularly if wet. Lockers and drying rooms can provide solutions to this and reduce trip hazards around desks.
You can easily and cheaply make the following available to borrow from reception; umbrellas, pedometers, personal safety alarms and high visibility waistcoats.
A walking friendly employer is not just one where there are facilities such as lockers, but where there is a real culture of walking, standing and moving more.
- Purchasing an annual bus or train ticket for staff making regular business trips to the same destination, could enable staff to walk more. Or buying ‘pool tickets’ so any member of staff can take the ticket for meetings, training, or whenever necessary.
- Purchasing laptop rucksacks or lightweight tablets could enable staff to walk more as part of their business travel and save money on taxi fares.
- Business mileage for walking. Many organisations offer a cycling mileage rate for staff that use their bikes during work time. Why not introduce something similar for walking to encourage sustainable and active travel?
- Alternatively, you could consider introducing a flat mileage rate of 45p per mile claimable for walking, cycling and driving journeys.
You can display information on walking times and routes to the nearest bus stops and train station on staff notice boards, intranet and on the company website. This information can also be included in staff induction information and in meeting confirmations to visitors.
Map some circular routes that people can walk from your office at lunchtime for exercise. Include a few different options in length and duration for faster and slower walking speeds.
A culture of walking and moving more can be supported by reimaging the office environment as an active office. Promoting active working in your workplace is complementary to promoting walking and can be a low cost solution to getting staff moving more during the working day.
- Consider trialling or investing is some sit/stand desks
- Have standing or walking meetings.
- Get everyone to move around with each new agenda item.
- Use an onscreen notification software or app to set an alert for employees to stand/move regularly.
Read the Promoting Walking Toolkit.
Get Britain Standing is a campaign to increase awareness and education of the dangers of sedentary working and prolonged sitting. You can contact them if you need help preparing the business case for Active Working within your company.
There are a variety of sit-stand solutions to suit every office and budget and some providers offer free trials: https://getbritainstanding.org/solutions.php
Walking meetings: Watch a TED talk about walking meetings – ‘Sitting is the new smoking’.
An example of onscreen notification software includes Little Nudge.