The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many companies, which have implemented work remotely as a solution to protect their employees from possible infections.

Remote work is a solution to keep business operational, however, from a personal point of view we are facing a challenge. COVID-19 shakes our routines, forcing us to get out of our states of physical and mental comfort.

The health, safety and well-being of workers are of fundamental importance. In that sense, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have determined that Active Pauses are a necessity during the working day, so companies must promote this healthy habit among their employees.

A sedentary lifestyle affects the body and contributes to the development of psychological ailments, including anxiety, sadness and stress. Teleworking can increase these symptoms due to poor mobility, the feeling of social isolation and the blurring of the boundaries between work and private life.

In this publication some practical advice from the European Occupational Safety and Health Agency (EU-OSHA) to take active breaks during teleworking.


Active breaks or work gymnastics are physical and mental exercises that a worker performs for a short time during the day to revitalize body energy and refresh the mind. Some benefits they produce are the following:

  • It reduces stress.
  • It favors the change of posture and routine.
  • Releases joint and muscle stress.
  • Stimulates and promotes circulation.
  • Improve posture.
  • Promotes self-esteem and ability to concentrate.
  • Motivates and improves interpersonal relationships, promotes social integration.
  • Reduces the risk of occupational disease.
  • Improves job performance.



Here are examples of EU-OSHA stretching exercises to perform at regular intervals throughout the day:

  • Raise your arms above your head and circle your arms.
  • Shrug your shoulders and roll them back and forth a few times.
  • Turn your neck gently from left to right, concentrating on narrow spots.
  • Rotate your ankles, point your toes, and flex your feet.
  • Stretch your hip flexors by pointing one knee to the ground and pushing your hips forward.
  • Lean back in the chair and push your upper arms back over the chair to stretch your chest and shoulders.
  • Clasp your hands behind the chair and stretch your shoulders back.


Examples of EU-OSHA exercises for sitting to stay active and moving during the workday:

  • Squeeze your buttocks for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Use a manual clamp to exercise your hands and forearms.
  • Do bicep curls with a heavy stapler or a full water bottle.
  • Twist in your chair for an abs workout.
  • Do leg raises under your desk.
  • Squat on your chair for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Raise yourself above your chair with your arms.


Examples of exercises that can be added to your work routine:

  • Stand or walk during phone calls if you have a hands-free phone.
  • Eat your lunch away from your desk.
  • Walk during lunch breaks and during free hours.
  • Stretch at your desk every 30 minutes.
  • Stand up and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes.
  • Add a minimum of 10 minutes of vigorous or moderate intensity aerobic exercise to your day, which is enough to get your heart pumping and burning calories.
  • Use adjustable workstations so you can work both standing and sitting.
  • Add more short breaks or micro breaks to your workday.
  • Agree on a maximum time interval for exposure to sedentary work, for example, a maximum of 2 consecutive hours and no more than 5 hours per shift.

Source: European Agency for Occupational Safety and Health (EU-OSHA) y Personal Finance