Working a desk job and feeling stiffer, sorer and more stressed? Too much standing or sitting without movement can be harmful to your physical and mental health, even if you exercise each day outside of work! You can also get injured at your desk through uncomfortable posture or overworking parts of your body through repeating the same movements without changing tasks or having break. This is called an overuse injury.

There is a diagram of a person is sitting at a desk with improper posture for a long period of time. The diagram has labels pointing out the potential strains and injuries to muscles, bones and joints leading to the development of knee, back and neck pain.

Image: Deskfit Guide, NASA.

To keep healthy, take a short movement break throughout the day. Skip the lifts and take the stairs, wander to a further cafe on your lunch break or walk to talk to a colleague rather than sending an email! Try and get a co-worker or friend involved too!

You can put some healthy habits in place to avoid overuse injuries too! The Australian Government recommends switching between standing and sitting every 30 minutes. It’s a good idea to regularly change tasks or what part of your body is doing that task such as switching which hand uses your computer mouse.

But your office workstation should be built to be safe too. Try and reduce the strains on your body by making your mouse, monitor and keyboard within easy reach. It’s good to make sure chair is supportive and your desk is appropriately positioned so the top of your monitor is at eye-level. Here’s are some visual pointers to make your desk safe!

A person is sitting a desk that has been set up to be safe. The computer monitor is an arms length away and the top of the screen reaches eye level. The desk chair has lower back support and positioned high enough so the thighs are slightly angled downwards. The desk is positioned so the mouse and keyboard are easy to reach and forearms are angled downwards to the keyboard.

Image: Workstation Set-Up Guide, Australian Government, Comcare.

Don’t forget to make your standing desk safe as well! Remember, standing for long periods of time can also be harmful to your body.

A person is working at a standing desk that is set-up to be safe. The computer monitor is arm-length away and positioned so the top of the screen is at eye level. The desk is high enough that the forearms are angled slightly downwards. The keyboard and the mouse and keyboard are easy to reach.

Image: Workstation Set-Up Guide, Australian Government, Comcare.

If you do get an overuse injury at work, you can always contact the Injured Workers Service for confidential and free advice about your options at or on (02) 8294 5181.

It’s important that we all look after each other at work so make sure to chat to your colleagues about remaining desk safe at work!

Here is a helpful poster you can put up in your workplace to explain how to make your workstation safe. Workstation set-up guide (

Here are some useful resources about office exercise and healthy habits to avoid injury:

Workplace safety – overuse injuries – Better Health Channel

Computers and workstations | Office Safety tool (

Stretch at your desk | SafeWork NSW