This study explored the experiences of university employees recruited to a 10-week randomized controlled trial (n = 64). The trial compared “walking routes” with “walking-while-working” on daily step totals, showing that, compared with controls, interventions resulted in around 1000 extra steps per day.
A subsample of 15 academic and administrative employees from intervention groups completed interviews at the end of intervention. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and subject to inductive coding within the major themes of benefits/positives and problems/barriers.
Both interventions benefited employee health and work productivity but were difficult to implement in the workplace. Involvement in walking routes was challenged by the difficulties of managing time pressures, and individuals assigned to walking-while-working had to deal with local management subcultures favoring physical presence and inactivity.
Findings highlight the need for further research, advocate the value of walking at work, and provide insights into the challenges that face staff in workplace interventions.