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Will Workplace Challenge make staff fit for business?

Loughborough researchers have been enlisted to evaluate the impact of a national workplace physical activity and sport challenge that kicked off this week.

The Workplace Challenge is an eight-week activity log challenge that aims to engage businesses and employees in sport and physical activity. It is funded by Sport England as part of its ‘Get Healthy, Get into Sport’ initiative and is being managed by the County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN) and Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport (LRS).

Employees can log their sport, physical activity and active travel on the workplace challenge website, earn points for each activity then compare their progress with colleagues and friends using leader boards. Users can take part in locally organised challenges and events throughout the year and there’s also the chance to win prizes.

The 2014 programme is taking place across 24 County Sports Partnership areas in England and overall, aims to reach 20,000 employees from 2,000 workplaces.

Researchers in the British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health (BHFNC) – part of the University’s School of Sport Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) – are working with the CSPN and LRS to evaluate the programme over the next two years.

The evaluation will assess the impact of the Workplace Challenge activities on sport and physical activity participation, and aims to build the evidence base for encouraging inactive employees to take part in sport and physical activity.

BHFNC research and evaluation manager Emma Adams, who is leading the evaluation, said:

“Our work is about translating evidence into practice for physical activity interventions. There is currently little evidence-based knowledge about encouraging inactive people to take part in sport and to be active at work. Through this project we will help develop practical suggestions for encouraging more inactive people to take up physical activity and sport in the workplace.”

Researchers are looking to run some short discussion groups with employees who currently don’t do any sport or activity. To take part in the research, contact Hayley Musson as soon as possible.

The Workplace Challenge runs until Sunday 2 March and is free to join. To sign up visit