Stanford University


While seated, muscles are activated to help support proper posture. Over time these muscles can fatigue and injuries may slowly develop. Pay attention to signs of fatigue and discomfort while working. This can help indicate that your body needs a break.

Muscles may fatigue when sitting or standing for extended periods of time (i.e. greater than an hour). Inappropriate postures and compression can impede the flow of blood, impinge nerves, and injure soft tissue.

Rest is essential to ensuring a healthy musculoskeletal system. Taking frequent breaks will help to lower the risk of ergonomic injury.

Microbreak Suggestions

Ideas for taking short breaks:

  • Break up repetitive tasks or static postures by taking a microbreak (30-60 seconds) every 20 minutes.
  • While taking a microbreak, perform light stretching at your desk
  • Let your eyes relax when working on the computer for long periods of time, implement the 20/20/20 rule
    • Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds
  • Position your printer in an area that requires you to stand up and walk to get each printout.
  • Take walking meetings
  • Visit your colleague instead of emailing
  • Stand up when taking phone calls.
  • Go to the restroom or get a cup of coffee or water.
  • Rotate tasks throughout the day

If reminders are needed, implement break software:

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