Physical activity promotion in call centres: employers’ perspectives

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This study followed a predominantly qualitative approach to explore the perspectives of employers in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, call centres (CCs) regarding physical activity (PA) promotion in workplaces, by identifying current practices and employers’ motivation to promote PA, as well as perceived facilitators and barriers. In-depth interviews were conducted with 15 managers in 10 of 12 local CCs and questionnaires were used to collect quantitative information about participants and their workplaces. Thematic analysis revealed that participants’ responses to recommendations for PA promotion were generally positive and some CCs were engaged in some PA initiatives. Employers’ motivations to promote PA included direct benefits to the employer, concern for employee well-being and the greater good. Barriers to PA promotion within CCs included the nature of CC work, managers’ concerns regarding participation, fairness and cost and special limitations of the workspace. Results indicate additional actions and supports are required to facilitate implementation of PA in CCs according to governmental recommendations. Efforts are required to increase awareness and use of existing resources. Smaller organizations may require more assistance to promote PA than those with a larger number of employees and may benefit from enhanced interaction with existing networks and public health programs and resources.

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