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How to Stay Healthy When You Work From Home

How to Stay Healthy When You Work From Home

Some of the biggest perks of working from home are health-related. People who work from home report having lowered stress levels, sleeping more, and generally feeling healthier. And during cold and flu season, being able to avoid the perpetually passed-around office bug by working virtually is a big bonus. But when you work from home, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy traps.

Virtual workers are, by their very nature, an independent bunch, so it’s up to you to keep yourself healthy. Luckily, you also have more control to do so simply because you telecommute. Here are five ways to stay healthy when you work from home.

Get up and move around. Whether it’s because you’re extra cozy or extra focused without all those distractions in the office, people who work from home may actually sit for longer periods of time than their office-bound coworkers. And recent studies show that prolonged sitting is pretty bad for your health. Set a calendar reminder to get up and move around, or take your conference calls for a walk around the block. Try working from a standing position for part of the day, or use an exercise ball as an office chair to promote movement and core strength.

Disinfect your office regularly. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you’re suddenly immune to illness. Your spouse, children, and visitors will find their way to your home office from time to time, and they’re exposed to all sorts of cold and flu germs from their own offices and school classrooms. Unfortunately home offices don’t come with a cleaning crew, so be sure to clean and disinfect your office regularly.

Let the fresh air in. One of the nice things about working from a home office is that you control your environment. Heat, air conditioning, and lighting are all set to your exact specifications. But instead of circulating stale air all day long, open your office windows and let some fresh air in. Not only will you breathe easier, but you may also feel more energized and ready to tackle your to-do list.

Dont make the kitchen your office. Sure, there’s the big dining room table and excellent lighting, but the kitchen (or anywhere near it!) can be a horrible place for people to work from home. The reason? Your closest coworkers is a stocked refrigerator and the full pantry. Working from home can quickly turn you into a grazer if you’re not careful, so keep your office away from the kitchen and schedule regular breaks for snacks and meals.

Give your back a break. Without the proper office equipment, your back, wrists, neck, and countless other body parts will soon be aching. Set up your home office with a sturdy office chair, an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, and any other pieces of equipment to help you maintain good posture and reduce strain.

Be a healthy telecommuter by following these tips. Working from home can improve your health in many ways, but it’s up to you to set yourself up for success.

Brie Weiler Reynolds is the Director of Online Content at FlexJobs , the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings, and the proud co-worker of Dizzle, a boxer-beagle mix. Brie provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog and social media. Learn more at

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Brie Weiler Reynolds is the Director of Online Content at FlexJobs , the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings. Brie provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog and social media. Learn more at


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12:30AM PST on Jan 9, 2014

Thank you :)

6:43PM PST on Dec 20, 2013

I do work at home and love it. Most days I'm really good and jump up periodically to do other stuff or walk, my home has stairs so walking up and down a few times helps. It's also good on days when I need to go out (part of my job) then I'm walking and moving. Your tips suggest a good chair, I think I'm due for one. Thanks so much.

11:48AM PST on Dec 15, 2013

Working from home is cool, thanks

4:28PM PST on Dec 14, 2013

At my job I have an ergonomic chair and foot rest. By the end of the day my calves, ankles are swollen.

At home I sit in a recliner. At the end of the day, my calves, ankles aren't swollen. I'll take the recliner any day.

2:16PM PST on Dec 14, 2013

Avoid eating at your desk! Try to go back to the kitchen table to eat, even if it's just for a snack. Better, in the warmer season, go eat your lunch outside, when weather permits. Even better, try to meet other telecommuters for lunch at a neighborhood restaurant or café, when possible.
I've said it before; gulping up your lunch at your desk, while you check your emails and finish that text, may seem like a gain in time, but in the long while, you might end up burned out, and you'd have to take weeks or months off work to heal. That's really not the plan...

12:29AM PST on Dec 13, 2013

thank you

11:24PM PST on Dec 12, 2013


9:07PM PST on Dec 12, 2013


8:19PM PST on Dec 12, 2013

Also make sure you have plenty of snacks and cable TV

7:38PM PST on Dec 12, 2013


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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