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The impact of onsite workplace health-enhancing physical activity interventions on worker productivity: a systematic review


The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of onsite workplace health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) programmes on worker productivity. The PROSPERO registration number is CRD42014008750. A search for controlled trials or randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that investigated the effects of onsite workplace HEPA programmes on productivity levels of working adults was performed. Risk of bias of included studies was assessed, and the inter-rater reliability of the quality assessment was analysed. Qualitative synthesis of available evidence is presented. Eight studies were included in the review. There is consistent evidence that onsite workplace HEPA programmes do not reduce levels of sick leave. There appears to be inconsistent evidence of the impact of onsite workplace HEPA programmes on worker productivity. A high-quality study of an onsite combination (aerobic, strengthening and flexibility) HEPA regime and a moderate-quality study of a Tai Chi programme improved worker productivity measured with questionnaires in female laundry workers and older female nurses, respectively. Two high-quality studies and four moderate-quality studies did not show benefit. Studies that showed benefit were mainly those designed with productivity measures as primary outcomes, delivered to occupations involved with higher physical loads, and had higher compliance and programme intensity. The small number of studies and the lack of consistency among studies limited further analyses. There is inconsistent evidence that onsite workplace HEPA programmes improve self-reported worker productivity. Future high-quality RCTs of onsite workplace HEPA programmes should be designed around productivity outcomes, target at-risk groups and investigate interventions of sufficient intensity. High attendance with improved recording is needed to achieve significant results in augmenting worker productivity.

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