How to Stay Healthy at Work: Employees, Owners, Freelancers

work life balance

Small business owners, employees and freelancers often get so wrapped up in their work that they forget to take care of themselves. But staying healthy is paramount to running and maintaining a successful business.

To stay healthy while running a small business, take a look at the health and wellbeing tips below.

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Design an Office that Meets Your Health and Productivity Needs

Your office can have a big impact on your overall productivity and health. So design one that will not only help you meet your business goals, but also help keep you healthy and productive throughout the workday as well.

Consider a Standing or Walking Desk

How to Stay Healthy at Work

One part of your office that might have an impact on your health is your desk. While this giant hamster wheel desk may be a little impractical, there are other options that allow you to walk, stand, or adjust the desk to different heights so that you can move around throughout the day.

Keep Some Healthy Snacks on Hand

Keeping some healthy snacks around your office can curb your hunger and keep you energized throughout the day. Keep some granola bars, cheese or other snacks around your home or office so that you don’t resort to fatty foods, sweets or overeating at lunch time.

Buy Ergonomic Equipment

When looking to buy other office supplies or equipment like chairs, keyboards or mouses, look into ergonomic models. Ergonomic versions of these items are made to support and fit to your particular needs.

Choose Good Lighting

The lighting in your office can also have an impact on both your productivity and health. Poor lighting can lead to eye strain and even a feeling of burnout. So try to work near a window or natural light source if possible. And if not, seek out high quality artifical light.

Clarify the Air with Plants

How to Stay Healthy at Work

Plants don’t just add visual interest to your office space. Many varieties can also clarify the air around you. So consider adding some plants to your home or office space.

Take Regular Walk or Exercise Breaks

Sitting at a desk for eight hours or more every day without breaks can lead to numerous health risks. So regardless of if you work from home or in a more traditional office, you need to get up and walk or otherwise exercise a few times throughout the day.

Use Technology to Monitor Your Physical Activity

How to Stay Healthy at Work

Wearables and other technology like Fitbit can help you monitor your physical activity throughout the day. If you know how much activity you regularly get, then you’ll have a starting point when it comes to setting your fitness and activity goals.

Exercise at Your Desk

There are also several different activities you can do from the comfort of your own desk. While you’re working on some projects that don’t require your full concentration, even some simple movements can keep you active and healthy throughout the day.


Some studies also suggest that fidgeting throughout the day can improve your overall health. It may not have the same impact as getting out and walking or doing other exercises, but it still encourages movement.

Practice Stress Relief at Work

Aside from inactivity, stress can be another risk of working long hours. But some simple stress relieving activities like breathing and meditation can help curb your stress levels throughout the day.

Keep a Clean Workspace

A clean workspace can also help with your stress levels. Clutter on your desk and the rest of your workspace can lead to distractions and loss of productivity. So try to stay as organized and clean as possible to reduce stress and stay productive.

Don’t Try to Do It All

How to Stay Healthy at Work

Small business owners are often responsible for so many different tasks. But trying to do it all yourself can be stressful if not downright impossible. If it gets to be too much, consider hiring a freelancer or outsourcing certain tasks.

Practice Gratitude

With all of the stress and hard work that comes with running a business, it’s important to step back every now and then and think about the things you’re thankful for. Saying “thank you” to those who have helped you along the way can improve your mood and show your team members how appreciative you are of all their hard work.

Start a Workplace Wellness Program

A workplace wellness program can be anything from encouraging gym memberships to a regular email newsletter with health tips and discussion. Starting one can improve both your own health and that of your team.

Invite Some Furry Friends

Some studies have suggested that having pets around the workplace can improve health and happiness. Consider allowing team members to bring their pets once per week or month, if there aren’t any serious allergies in your office. Or just take some breaks to spend time with your pet if you work from home.

Consider Mental Health, Too

How to Stay Healthy at Work

Staying healthy at work doesn’t just mean being physically active and healthy. Running a business can lead to a lot of stress and other mental health issues. So make taking care of your mental health a priority, whether that means seeking a professional or enlisting help elsewhere.

Leave Your Work at Work

An essential part of keeping your brain healthy while running a business is having some separation between your work and the rest of your life. Set some strict boundaries for leaving your work at work. Or have set hours for family time if you work from home.

Unplug Periodically

However, many business owners know the struggle of leaving work at work when there’s things like smartphones that allow for constant connection. For that reason, completely unplugging from time to time can be beneficial.

Find a Balance

How to Stay Healthy at Work

You can’t run a successful business if you don’t take care of yourself first. There’s been plenty of debate over the feasibility of finding a perfect work-life balance. But it is possible to find a system that works for you, if you work hard and put an emphasis on your own health and wellbeing.

Yoga on Desk Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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