ACTivate – a new way of workplace health promotion



The increasing digitalization of work as well as new information and communication technologies enable networking and connectivity around the globe and allow people to use more flexible working models (Haberfellner & Sturm, 2016; Zukunftsinstitut, 2020). Especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic more people work from home and have flexible working hours.

The structural change in employment models resulting from the digitalization of all areas (Work 4.0), tertiarization and the shift to an information and knowledge society are also making physical activity at work increasingly obsolete (Haberfellner & Sturm, 2016; Junghanns & Morschhäuser, 2013). One consequence is the increase in chronic diseases due to a sedative, predominantly sedentary and physically inactive lifestyle. Work-related physical activity is understood to include all paid as well as unpaid work activities (household, childcare, care of dependents). 43.7% of men and 46.3% of women aged 18 to 64 years are predominantly engaged in “sedentary or standing activities,” and thus spend most of their working hours inactive. (STATISTIK AUSTRIA, 2020).

To maintain and promote health and well-being in employees with flexible working conditions and a sedentary lifestyle it is necessary to implement measures which face these upcoming problems. Workplace Health Promotion (WHP) can make a significant contribution to the health and health literacy in the workplace setting (European Network For Workplace Health Promotion, 1997).

WHP must also respond to new conditions of changing work organization and therefor develop concepts to respond the challenges of flexible working conditions. The (spatial) flexibilization of work and, as a result, the possibility of working from home or other locations, requires that methods of WHP should be implemented that are not tied to a specific location or time. Modern occupational health management should also make use of digital systems in order to present a qualitative offer that is adapted to new working conditions (Hasselmann, 2018).

Our Project:

Our vision was to create a match making tool for Workplace Health Promotion (WHP). The aim is to promote social interactions as well as physical activities in the working environment.

Integrated functions should be:
• Easy activity planning with colleagues in working context o
o (Short) activities during working time
o Activities bevor & after working time
• Combining calendar functionalities with an attractive User Interface (swiping)
• Activity arrangement should become easy and funny

Usability Evaluation

We developed an attractive Graphical User Interface (GUI) which fits to our Corporate Identity using the programme “Adobe XD”. This prototype of the mobile application allows users to switch between the screens and try out different functionalities. For the evaluation of the ACTivate application a mixed-methods Usability-test-design was chosen.

In total 26 participants evaluated the ACTivate app by the User Experience Questionnaire (UEQ) via an online survey tool. The UEQ was completed by the respondents after they have gone through the application with the help of user instructions. Additional questions regarding their person and their experience with the product were asked. Six of these participants additionally took part in a Cognitive Walkthrough with one of the team members in a face-to-face meeting. While going through the app they were encouraged to speak aloud and share their thoughts about the Usability.

In summary, the evaluation has shown that ACTivate is a good method to integrate WHP into modern working life and overcome challenges of flexible working conditions. The results indicate that ACTivate is an easy-to-use app, helping employees to organise activities. The app has potential to promote networking between colleagues and gain more social contacts at work. Beside this, the app can promote team spirit and work motivation. Regarding the Graphical User Interface, especially the simplicity of the structure the design was highlighted by the test users. In the course of the evaluation some Usability issues were discovered. Addressing these issues can improve the User Experience.

However, some framework conditions should be observed when implementing ACTivate. It is important to ensure that the company has a culture that encourages its use. In particular, the involvement and support of management can help to motivate employees to use the app and carry out health-promoting activities. Furthermore, it must be ensured that data protection can be guaranteed and that the employees do not have to fear that anybody can see how often and when they have participated in which activities.

To empirically evaluate whether ACTivate is suitable to promote social interactions and physical activity among employees with flexible working conditions in the workplace setting (workplace health promotion) and whether employees who use the ACTivate app engage in social interactions and physical activities more often than employees who do not use the ACTivate app a pilot study would have to be carried out in real working life.


A project at the St. Poelten University of Applied Sciences
Master Program Digital Healthcare
Project Coach: FH-Prof. Romana Bichler, PT MAS