Workplace Health & Primary Care

The Human Potential Centre furniture  design: "MOVE & Work Productivity"
The team at the Human Potential Centre have been using standing desks in their work space for several years now. Initially we had boxes built which sat on top of our existing desks, however more recently, and aligning with the move to our new office space at the AUT Millennium Campus, we decided we needed desks  purpose built to suit the new space and our needs as a research team.

As an alternative to office furniture that is designed to be comfortable our furniture is "un-ergonomic". Our height adjustable stools allow sitting for short times before it becomes more comfortable to stand. We have found that we stand more often as we have become accustomed to our new furniture, and interestingly everyone in the office finds a different use for individual pieces. Desks and chairs provide storage space, and storage units act as  alternative seating. The desk tops can be removed and used as coffee tables. All units are fully mobile and our office space rarely looks the same from one week to the next.

Brief Interventions in Primary Care and Workplace Settings
This programme aims to determine whether, and to what extent brief interventions (small lifestyle changes) implemented in primary care and workplace settings are effective in the promotion of physical activity and nutrition, the management of weight, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and changing lifestyle behaviour.

This programme has been named Healthy As, and has been developed by the CPAN research team to provide resources for the delivery of a programme which promotes sustainable lifestyle change, by incorporating physical activity into everyday life. Motivational interviewing is used as a technique to encourage participants to set their own goals based on their lifestyles and responsibilities. Workplace: Employees receive a CVD risk assessment in their workplace. Workplace health programmes are implemented by a workplace health organisation which is designed to challenge people to make small sustainable lifestyle changes.

HPC Researchers: Professor Grant Schofield, Dr Scott Duncan, Nick Garrett
Collaborators: Dr Lannes Johnson, Dr Louise Schofield,  Assoc Prof Felicity Goodyear-Smith, West Fono Health Trust, Waitemata PHO, Apollo Health and Wellness Centre  Procare, Healthy Steps Podiatry, Vitality Works

Cognitive performance and physical activity

Previous research has supported the use of physical activity in older persons to ameliorate age-related declines in cognitive function. The purpose of the current study is to identify the optimal intensity of physical activity required to improve cognitive performance in middle age. The workplace provides an ideal environment in which to incorporate a physical activity intervention. Structuring the social and physical environments in which people work may make engaging in physical activity behaviour convenient and socially acceptable. And, employers benefit by having employees who are both physically and cognitively fit. Thus, the current study will incorporate the physical activity programmes into the work environment to study any concomitant changes to the cognitive performance of its workers.
HPC Researchers: Judy Thomas & Professor Grant Schofield
Collaborators: Dr Helen Gaeta

The efficacy of workplace health programmes in the New Zealand context: how do we measure productivity?

Mikki Williden's doctoral research was to understand the links between health risk and productivity within the New Zealand context. An online health risk assessment (HRA) tool was developed to be administered to workplaces across New Zealand in 2008-2009 to assess health risk, health behaviours, the health culture, and their association with productivity in the workplace and the projected cost to the employer.  This was investigated in the context of the physical environment also, and an audit tool assessing the physical workplace environment was used to assess any potential impacts the environment has on health behaviour and/or productivity across New Zealand organisations in 2010.  Finally a more indepth analysis of workplace culture and health behaviour was conducted to explore further the relationship these factors may have on employee and organisation productivity.
HPC Researchers:
Dr Mikki Williden & Professor Grant Schofield
Collaborators: Dr Clara Soper (Vitality Works Ltd)

Weight-loss maintenance in workplace and dietitian-practice settings

Caryn Zinn's doctoral research explores the topic of weight-loss maintenance using a "small-changes" approach in two settings: The workplace and a private practice dietitian clinic setting. The "small-changes" approach to diet, exercise and lifestyle is one which is considered easier to implement than more traditional restrictive regimes and may therefore allow better adherence and result in more sustainable weight loss.
HPC Researchers: Dr Caryn Zinn & Professor Grant Schofield
Collaborators: Professor Will Hopkins.