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Facilitators and barriers to using treadmill workstations under real working conditions: a qualitative study in female office workers.

Cifuentes M; Qin J; Fulmer S; Bello A
Am J Health Promot 2015 Nov; 30(2):93-100
PURPOSE: Characterize barriers and facilitators to use treadmill workstations in real work sites. DESIGN: For 6 months, workers tried a sit-stand-walk treadmill workstation at will with expert ergonomic support. Qualitative data were collected monthly. SETTING: Administrative and academic departments at a higher education institution in Massachusetts, United States. PARTICIPANTS: Five female administrative office workers. METHOD: One monthly group interview and one personal interview per participant during 6 months. Emerging topics from previous interviews were used in successive data gatherings. Transcribed data were manually coded according to the predefined topics of usability, comfort, safety, and productivity. RESULTS: The setup of the work station, communication difficulties while walking (disrespectful, noisy), and peer pressure to maximize use were the main usability barriers. There was no event of falls. Trips were minimized. About comfort, subjects reported it hard to get used to prolonged standing position during the first month. Treadmill speed affected productivity mostly while drawing and working in spreadsheets. Lack of job autonomy was revealed as a generic barrier. CONCLUSION: In this female group, treadmill workstations had serious design problems for workers with not enough control of their jobs. The early identification and removal of barriers likely needs to be considered when offering these workstations to workers with low job autonomy.
Humans; Women; Workers; Work environment; Ergonomics; Office workers; Office environments; Office equipment; Physical reactions; Physiological function; Physiology; Cardiovascular health; Behavior; Total Worker Health; TWH; Author Keywords: Cardiovascular Health; Female Office Workers; Nonexercise-Activity Thermogenesis; Physical Activity; Prevention Research. Manuscript format: research; Research purpose: descriptive; Study design: nonexperimental; Sedentary Lifestyle; Treadmill; Workstation; behavioral; Setting: workplace; Health focus: fitness/physical activity; Strategy: built environment; Target population age: adults; Target population circumstances: education/income level; geographic location; qualitative; Outcome measure: cognitive
Manuel Cifuentes, MD, ScD, Research and Evaluation Unit, Center for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 333 South Street, Shrewsbury, MA 01545
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
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Identifying No.
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Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Source Name
American Journal of Health Promotion
Performing Organization
University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division