A new, and timely, report from the Utah Foundation examines trends and challenges related to teleworking. Findings include:
- Teleworking seems to have a positive effect on productivity and employee retention, as well as lowering absenteeism.
- There are significant potential financial benefits for employers beyond increased productivity.
- There are concerns about telework; research suggests that two-thirds of teleworkers are not engaged in their work, and more than one-third get no direct contact with their teams.
As a result of COVID-19, many people are adjusting to working from home, at least temporarily. While teleworking may have some benefits, it takes time and patience to figure out how to make working from home a success. You may find yourself moving your workspace from your kitchen counter to your couch, squeezing in a homeschool lesson, or making frequent trips to the fridge. Adjusting to a new normal can be difficult, especially when traditional schedules are almost nonexistent. It is important to stay healthy by making time to be physically active, eating healthy, and paying attention to your mental health.
Physical activity improves physical and mental health. Staying active keeps you healthy and can help you take care of others.
- Develop a workout routine. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to go for a walk or bike ride, do a workout video, or do any other type of physical activity that you enjoy.
- Workout with your kids. Kids need to be active too! Being active with your kids helps them know the importance of physical activity and provides something fun to do together.
- Stand up and stretch! Sitting for long periods of time can reduce productivity and put strain on your back and neck. Make sure you stand up and stretch throughout the day.
Eating healthy supports your immune system and boosts your energy. Eating nutritious foods can help you feel good, be more productive, and conquer your workday!
- Start the day right. Eat a protein-rich breakfast like oats, fruit, avocado, or eggs.
- Eat at the table. Avoid eating where you work, which may contribute to snacking throughout the day.
- Pack a lunch. Even though you won’t be going into the office, packing a lunch can help with portion control.
- Stay hydrated! Drinking water helps you feel better and reduces headaches and fatigue.
- Find healthy snacks. Snack on healthy items like fresh fruits and vegetables or nuts.
It is normal to be experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety. A simple routine can help you feel a sense of normalcy and provide some social interaction.
- Get ready for the day. Getting dressed can help you feel ready to work and be more productive.
- Make a plan. Create a schedule and list of tasks you want to accomplish each day. Be sure and allow yourself flexibility.
- Create a dedicated workspace. If you can, it helps to create a dedicated workspace. It doesn’t have to be a fancy home office, a spot on the kitchen table or a folding table in the living room can work.
- Get social interaction. Social interaction is important to your mental health. Call and video chat with co-workers. Even though we need to practice social distancing, we can still interact virtually.
- Sleep! Try and go to bed at the same time you would have before working from home. A good night’s sleep helps your body relax and prepare for the next day.
Tips for Employers
Are you worried about how you can support employee wellness when experiencing budget cuts and employees are working from home? You don’t have to do it alone! The Utah Department of Health and local health departments offer free resources, services, and technical service to help your organization become the best it can be. You can also find resources from the Utah Worksite Wellness Council. Make sure and communicate with employees often via email, webinars, conference calls, social media, and newsletters in order to provide support, encouragement, and resources for employee wellness. Remember to share and educate on what your employee assistance program and health plan already offers.
Offer virtual challenges
Share online exercise classes and apps
Encourage working out with the family
Share walking and biking trails
Share transportation services
Encourage going for a walk when taking calls
Support the National Diabetes Prevention Program
Encourage preventative care
Provide healthy recipes
Share information about local food pantries
Educate on nutrition assistance programs
Provide local farmers markets information
Share information on local community gardens
Mental Health Resources
Educate on mental health resources
Check-in with employees
Offer flexible work schedules
Consider offering paid mental health days
Share suicide prevention resourcesShare mindfulness apps
We encourage employers to message with values. Individuals want to be healthy, be there for the ones they love, and live a high quality of life. Click HERE for free messaging materials to help communicate with individuals on the importance of healthy lifestyles.
Utah Public Health Association: Stay Healthy
Bloomberg News: Tips from Experts
Simple Stretches You Should Be Doing While Working from Home
Utah Foundation Teleworking Report