Promoting Active Workplaces across Europe
Following the Physical Activity Serving Society (PASS) project, Promoting Active Cities Throughout Europe (PACTE) is taking a further step towards increasing active cities across Europe.
2019, March 18th
Following the Physical Activity Serving Society (PASS) project, Promoting Active Cities Throughout Europe (PACTE) is taking a further step towards increasing active cities across Europe. The relationship between physical activity and physical health is clear, the health costs of sedentary behaviors has been demonstrated and inactivity is ultimately recognized as a major public health concern.
Active workplaces as a response to sedentary behaviors
Despite the evidence, we are still witnessing a trend of sedentary lifestyles across most European countries. According to the last Eurobarometer 2017, almost half of the respondents (46%) claimed to never exercise or play sports. Europeans are now less likely to engage in other physical activities than in 2013- date of the previous Eurobarometer.
PACTE is aiming to reverse this trend by supporting the promotion of more physical activity built into daily lifestyles. One of the project’s main objectives, in addition to Active Leisure, Active Transport and Active Education; is focused on Active Workplaces. Europeans spend a large amount of their day at work, which could also be the opportunity to engage in regular physical activity, for evident health purposes. But workplaces can equally be a fundamental setting for physical activity to express itself. Indeed, there increasing evidence demonstrates that physical activity embedded into the workplace is associated with increased productivity, lower levels of sickness and absenteeism, increased staff stability and improved motivation.
Sport in the workplace is underestimated and municipalities have a crucial role to play in order to change the status quo. Results of the PACTE survey and analysis show municipalities often consider it is not their responsibility to intervene within work environments, thus allowing for a concerning lack of involvement in this area. However, cities and municipalities are gradually understanding the importance of physical activity for their attractiveness and competitiveness. The findings of PACTE show 60% of respondents work with private businesses or companies in the delivery of physical activity opportunities and make physical activity available to employees.
Cities have a bigger role to play in promoting sports at work
A study carried out at the initiative of the European Commission recently provided an overview on physical activity at the workplace to improve employee wellbeing. It identifies that 13% of physical activities take place at work, a number that has not changed since 2013. It means there is still much to do to further exploit this sphere of possibilities. The European Commission has been working on the subject for a long time now. As an example, one of the 15 important actions of the Tartu call for healthy lifestyles was raising awareness of the outcomes of practices that promote physical activity at work.
Cities could be of great help to achieve ambitious objectives. Currently, most Europeans live in cities and are consequently exposed to the negative impacts of urbanization- notably physical inactivity. This growing urbanization across Europe has given a very important role to cities, notably in recent years. We’re preparing for a rise in urban inhabitants, meaning more people will work in cities and will spend time at their workplaces. Local governments have thus a vital role to endorse when it comes to promoting physical activity in the daily life of every citizen and employee. The PACTE project aims to understand what the specific elements of cities and municipalities are and how the project can help local authorities to promote more active workplaces. PACTE’s philosophy is to search, gather and share strategies to leverage physical activity in the workplace. It includes for example flexible working hours, regular health checks, provision of bicycles for active transport, accessible changing facilities and showers after the sport sessions, and free fitness and sports memberships.
An ambitious workshop will take place in Brussels on Thursday 20th June
In order to help municipalities and cities in this process, representatives will be invited to PACTE’s third workshop that will take place in Brussels (Belgium) on Thursday 21st June 2019. On this day, all project partners, who have been working together for months on promoting Active Cities across Europe, will gather and attend the event. The workshop “Active Workplaces” will provide for exchanges of best practices, knowledge and experience among partners, partner networks, associated partners and guest organizations. You can already save the date and get ready for the load of innovative ideas that will be developed and shared in Brussels!