The importance of taking frequent, short breaks is now recognised as an important factor in preventing fatigue, eye strain and upper limb issues arising from poor posture if you spend many consecutive hours at a workstation.
Regular and frequent breaks
By 'regular and frequent breaks', we encourage users to take a break away from the computer for around 5-10 minutes every 50 minutes.
In addition to this, we strongly encourage you to try to incorporate 'micro breaks'. These are very short, regular breaks where the hands and arms can be rested for 10 – 15 seconds every 15-20 minutes.
Micro breaks are incorporated into the working day, and do not require you to stop working or leave your workstation. For example:
- If you are reading an email or document, use this time to rest the hands and arms rather than sitting with them poised over the mouse and keyboard waiting the do the next task.
- When you answer a phone call, rest the hands or take a written note, rather than trying to type at the same time.
- Turn to face colleagues as you talk to them, resting the hands in a neutral position during this time.
Use natural pauses during tasks to relax the arms. Try to arrange tasks so that you are not doing the same thing hour after hour, and change your task before you get tired, rather than trying to recover.
Automatic rest break reminder software
To help you remember to take frequent breaks you may find automatic break reminder software useful.