Ergonomics for your home workstation

Are you starting to experience any of these symptoms after working at your home work station?

  • Discomfort
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Loss of motion/flexibility
  • Stiff joints
  • Tingling

Listen to your body – these are symptoms that the ergonomics of your home workstation may not be right.  Make changes to your ergonomic environment at home so that your body is in a neutral position (DOA Proper Neutral Posture poster).  You want to avoid awkward posture (ex. slouching – shoulders should be relaxed and should have a straight line from lower back to top of head), avoid reaching out to get to keyboard or mouse (should be close enough to reach easily when your elbows are at 90 degrees), have your feet flat on the floor, and keep knees at 90 degree angle (if sitting).

The State of Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) provides some additional helpful resources:

If you sit at a desk or table to work at home, consider making some small adjustments so that you are more comfortable.  In the example above, the picture on the right shows how she used items easily available at home to improve her work area.

  • She added a patio furniture cushion to her chair
  • Put a box under her laptop to improve her neck alignment
  • Connected a keyboard and mouse to her laptop to improve her posture
  • Put a shoe box under her feet to keep her knees at a 90 degree angle (could add a non slip pad under if needed)
  • Rested her wrists on a folded towel to improve her wrist position

Do you sit on the couch while working from home?  Here are some tips you can consider, that were used in the second photo.

  • Add a cushion or pillow behind your back
  • Use a TV tray or card table for your computer/keyboard
  • Put laptop on a box to improve neck alignment
  • Have feet flat on ground to improve circulation

If you stand while working at home, here are some tips that helped in the photo on the right.

  • Wear shoes for better support
  • Put laptop and/or keyboard on a box to change their height
  • Connect keyboard and mouse to laptop

Some other tips:

  • Monitors should be placed directly in front of you at the same height, so that your eyes stare straight ahead at them. (DOA Workstation Arrangement poster)
  • If you have two monitors, your primary screen should line up with your dominant eye (ex. if your right eye is your dominant eye, your right monitor should be your primary screen).
  • Do you have sufficient lighting that doesn’t glare on the screen?  Consider adding a lamp or supplemental lighting to your work area.
  • 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to avoid eye strain.
  • Every hour, take a stretch break – stand up, stretch your arms, neck and legs.  Do some hand stretching exercises.  (DOA Take A Break! poster)
  • Apply Ergonomics While Working From Home – helpful brochure from DOA

Please evaluate your home work station, and implement some of the changes noted above so that you feel more comfortable and keep your body healthy while working.

Teleworking During the Coronavirus: Tips for Coping

‌Teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic can make you feel like you’re working all the time. Know how to set boundaries between your work and personal life, as well as avoid professional isolation. 

If your office is closed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, you might be working from home for the first time. While teleworking can offer many benefits, teleworking during the pandemic poses unique challenges. Consider these tips for maintaining work-life balance and avoiding professional isolation while social distancing.

Pros and cons of teleworking

Before the pandemic, research suggested that teleworking can increase employees’ job satisfaction and commitment to an organization and even slightly improve their performance at work. Teleworking can also reduce exhaustion and work-related stress, possibly due to a reduced commute or more-flexible hours. Other benefits include a reduction in commuting costs and more freedom to work independently.

However, teleworking has always had drawbacks, including social and professional isolation, decreased information sharing opportunities, and difficulty separating work and personal time. The lack of a physical separation between these two worlds can cause family obligations to intrude on work and work obligations to bleed into family time. This can cause teleworkers to work extra hours to prove themselves, resulting in burnout. The ability to be constantly connected to work through a variety of technologies also can cause employees to feel like they are always on or unable to unplug at the end of the day.

Teleworking due to the coronavirus

Teleworking during the pandemic brings extra challenges.

Those new to working from home likely aren’t used to being isolated from co-workers and might not have a home office or area conducive to doing work. With other family members also potentially at home, including children or a partner, avoiding distractions and interruptions might be next to impossible. To find privacy, employees could find themselves in the awkward position of conducting meetings from their bedrooms or kitchens. And getting virtual meeting technology to work properly isn’t always easy. These changes can cause anxiety, stress and frustration.

Preventing professional isolation while teleworking

For those new to teleworking, the biggest challenge of working from home during the pandemic might be the lack of in-person collaboration with colleagues. Teleworkers don’t get to see their managers, staff or team members in the hallway or at the watercooler. As a result, regular contact through email, phone calls and virtual meetings is crucial. You might make time at the start of meetings specifically for small talk to give people time to interact.

Managers might consider having a regular five-minute check-in with each staff member, even if there is no pressing business to discuss. For colleagues, consider scheduling virtual lunch and coffee meetings to catch up on each other’s projects and maintain your relationships. Online communication platforms also can help keep you connected throughout the day.

Teleworking and work-life balance during the coronavirus

The key to work-life balance as a teleworker is being able to set boundaries — both for your work and personal obligations. To get started:

  • Develop a routine. Come up with rituals that help you define the beginning and end of your workday. For example, make your bed and get dressed each morning as if you were going into the office. When you’re done working each day, change your outfit, take a drive or walk — in place of your normal commute — or do an activity with your kids. Starting and stopping work at around the same time each day might help, too.
  • Exercise your willpower. Take care of yourself by eating healthy and working out. Resisting the temptation to do otherwise will help you when you need the discipline to set boundaries for your work and personal life.
  • Talk to your manager. Discuss your manager’s expectations for your availability and the obstacles you might be facing at home. Ask what time of day is acceptable for you to stop checking your work emails or responding to work requests. Or agree on an alternative schedule with flexibility that allows you to spend some time caring for your kids during the day and make up hours at other times.
  • Talk to your family. If you are working from home due to the pandemic and also have family at home, try to establish guidelines regarding interruptions. If your children are young, you’ll likely need to regularly talk to them about when you are working and can’t play, as well as come up with activities or temporary distractions for them. If there is more than one caregiver at home, you might take turns caring for the kids. You might also remind family and friends what times of day you can and can’t talk or text.
  • Think before you press send. Working from home might mean emailing, messaging or texting every time you want to talk to a co-worker. Reduce the burden on your colleagues by making it clear when a request is urgent or important. If you’re in a leadership role, consider how sending late-night emails might affect your employees’ ability to unwind and enjoy time away from work.
  • Prioritize your work. Focus on your most important work right now. Working all of the time isn’t good for you — or your family.

Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic requires patience, creativity and persistence. Keep experimenting to figure out what works best for you during this uncertain period.

Source: Mayo Clinic/2020, from FEI website

Back to School in 2020: Helping Kids and Families Cope

Listen in to an interview with Ryan Herringa, MD, PhD, Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, about how to support kids and parents during this difficult time.

  • Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2020
  • Time: Noon to 12:30 pm
  • Format: Well Wisconsin Radio (*counts towards your “Activity” goal for your wellness incentive)

Well Wisconsin Radio is a podcast style monthly interview series with health and well-being experts from all across the state of Wisconsin. Listen in from Noon to 12;30 pm on Tuesday, September 22nd to earn credit for your well-being activity.

REGISTER HERE

QUESTIONS? Contact the StayWell HelpLine at 800-821-6591 or wellwisconsin@staywell.com.

*The Well Wisconsin incentive program is a voluntary program available to employees, retirees and spouses enrolled in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program, excluding Medicare Advantage participants who have incentives available through their health plan. The Well Wisconsin incentive will automatically be issued to eligible participants upon completing the applicable activities. All wellness incentives paid to participants are considered taxable income to the group health plan subscriber and are reported to their employer, who will issue a W2. In some cases, the Wisconsin Retirement System acts as the employer. Retirees, continuants and their spouses will have some taxes withheld from the incentive amount earned.

Source: The StayWell Company, LLC

Flu Shot Clinics

Protect yourself this flu season by getting your annual flu shot!

The Well Wisconsin Program is offering workplace flu shot clinics. Because a quick needle stick now is better than a nasty illness later.

Flu shots are free and voluntary for all site employees [and spouses] who are enrolled in the State of Wisconsin Insurance Program.

  • You will be required to present your medical ID card at the flu shot clinic.
  • You are required to wear a mask to your appointment.
  • Print and complete your Flu Shot Consent Form and bring it with you to the clinic.
    • The Flu Consent Form will be available for download in the appointment confirmation email. The site coordinator will also have copies available.

Event details:

Green Bay campus

  • Tuesday, October 6, 2020
  • 7:30 am to 9:30 am
  • University Union , Phoenix Rooms

Sheboygan campus

  • Thursday, October 8, 2020
  • 8:00 am to 9:30 am
  • Wombat Room

The shot will vaccinate against the four most likely causes of flu illness during the upcoming season, including the H1N1- strain of influenza.

The vaccine is not preservative-free and is not recommended for the following individuals:

  • Those allergic to eggs or egg products
  • Those who are sensitive to the mercury-based preservative thimerosal
  • Those who have an active neurological disorder
  • Those with a fever, acute respiratory or other active infection or illness

If you are pregnant, you should receive the vaccine directly from your physician.

Preregistration is required. No cash payments or insurance payments accepted. To register for your flu shot appointment, log into the StayWell wellness portal at wellwisconsin.staywell.com and click on Flu Shot Clinics slider on the dashboard.

For more information about the flu shot, visit cdc.gov/flu.

For more information about the event safety enhancements, visit wellwisconsin.staywell.com and click on Questions to learn more.

Faculty/Staff are invited to attend VIRTUAL and OUTDOOR fitness classes

UREC is offering a variety of classes including yoga, Zumba, sculpt, and more! There is even a 15-minute core class offered every Tuesday/Thursday at 2:00pm that can be done in your work clothes from your office. This is a great afternoon movement break! The full class schedule can be found on the UREC website.

Registration will be required for all outdoor classes on the UREC at UWGB app.
Registration is optional for virtual classes but if you choose to register you will receive the link for class in an email. Another way to obtain links for virtual classes is to visit linktr.ee/urec_uwgb. This will be updated each day with the current virtual offerings and can also be found on the UREC website or in our instagram bio @urec_uwgb.

If you have any questions please email UREC’s fitness coordinator, Alex Wandersee, at wandersa@uwgb.edu

The Kress Events Center is Reopening!

Phase 1 reopening of The Kress Events Center is scheduled for August 10, 2020. The facility will only be open to UWGB students, faculty, and staff.

Hours of Operation
Monday-Friday           8:00am-5:00pm
Saturday & Sunday    CLOSED

Capacity:
Capacity of the fitness center is restricted and held at 40 patrons. Reservations will be required (see below).

Reservations:
All patrons will be required to reserve a 75 minute timeslot on the UREC at UWGB app to use the Fitness Center.
To make a reservation:

  1. Download the UREC at UWGB app
  2. Create an account with your uwgb.edu email
  3. Click “reservations”
  4. Select “schedule”
  5. Select the day you wish to reserve (up to 3 days in advance)
  6. Select one timeslot on that day.
  7. Click “join session”

Open Spaces (for August):
Front Desk
Fitness Center
Restrooms

UREC Outdoors Equipment Rentals

In an effort to make the facilities as safe as possible, University Recreation will:

  • Increase cleaning protocols
  • Adhere to Safety Precautions
  • Impose Social Distancing
  • Minimize Contact

For more reopening information please visit https://www.uwgb.edu/university-recreation/reopening-update/

UW System Introduces Online Behavioral Health Tool

The University of Wisconsin System announced a new online behavioral health tool, SilverCloud, that offers self-guided programs for anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and resilience. The tool is now available to faculty, staff, and students at any time, on any device, and at no cost.

“While the behavioral health of our students, faculty, and staff has always been a high priority for the UW System, the current COVID-19 pandemic has put those needs into even sharper focus,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson. “We are working hard to find ways to provide these vital services to our UW community and this online tool is a great option.”

System experts have been broadly reviewing the behavioral health challenges facing students, the availability of existing services, and the need for additional services. The SilverCloud tool emerged as one of several strategies.

“The Board of Regents has made student behavioral health a top priority,” said Regent President Andrew S. Petersen. “We are pleased that SilverCloud will be available to our students, staff, and faculty during the upcoming academic year, and we look forward to additional recommendations from our campus and System experts.”

In April 2019, a UW System report showed a 55 percent increase in demand for behavioral health support since 2010. That report, in conjunction with other behavioral health indicators, led the System to create three work groups that focused on identifying solutions and approaches to mitigate the growing behavioral health needs of the UW community. One work group reviewed crisis management services for students at risk of suicide or self-harm. A second looked at targeted interventions for vulnerable student populations, including veterans, students of color, and LGBTQ+ students. A third studied ways to foster healthy learning environments. The UW System Board of Regents will receive an update on this work at its meeting in October.

Based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles, the SilverCloud self-guided program allows individuals to manage day-to-day stressors personally and anonymously using interactive content and skill-building tools.

Studies have shown that online cognitive behavioral therapy can provide an effective form of care for those who are highly motivated and experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. The program can supplement traditional therapy or campus mental health services, while some individuals may use it without seeing a counselor at all.

To sign up or find out more about the tool, visit: https://uwsystem.silvercloudhealth.com/signup

Source: UW System

More Ways to Earn Your $150 Wellness Incentive

We have two pieces of good news to share with you today:

  1. You still have time to complete your Well Wisconsin activities to earn $150*.
  2. You now have more options for completing the health check portion of the program.

NOT SURE WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT?
This is the Well Wisconsin program. We offer you tools and resources to help you achieve better well-being.

And you can earn $150 by completing three activities by October 9, 2020:

  • Take the 10-minute StayWell health assessment.
  • Complete a well-being activity through StayWell.
  • (UPDATED!) Complete a health check.

ALREADY EARNED YOUR $150?
Nice! Feel free to give yourself a high-five, and go about your day.

ABOUT THAT UPDATED HEALTH CHECK ACTIVITY …
If you haven’t already earned your incentive, you now have multiple options for completing the health check portion of the program. Just complete one of the following:

  • Biometric screening: Click “SCHEDULE NOW” on the Quest Diagnostics slider on the wellwisconsin.staywell.com homepage to get started. You’ll have two options:
    1. At-home test kit: Request a kit by registering and clicking “Order Materials.” To meet the October 9 deadline, please request your kit by September 25.
    2. Onsite screening event: Find an event near you by registering and clicking “Make an Appointment.”  There will be an onsite health screening event at the UWGB Sheboygan campus on Friday, September 18th, and at the Green Bay campus on Thursday, September 24th.  The August 12th event on the Green Bay campus has been cancelled.
  • Health Care Provider Form: Download the fillable form here.
  • Dental cleaning: Complete a routine dental cleaning visit between January 1 and October 9. Report your completion on the My Incentives tab of the portal.
  • One coaching call: Call 800-821-6591 to schedule a call, or schedule a video meeting on wellwisconsin.staywell.com or on the My StayWell app.

REMEMBER: YOU HAVE UNTIL OCTOBER 9 TO EARN YOUR $150!
Go to wellwisconsin.staywell.com to get moving.

There, you’ll find a full list of well-being activities, plus a trove of information to help you improve your overall wellness!

QUESTIONS? Contact the StayWell HelpLine at 800-821-6591 or wellwisconsin@staywell.com.

*The Well Wisconsin incentive program is a voluntary program available to employees, retirees and spouses enrolled in the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program, excluding Medicare Advantage participants who have incentives available through their health plan. The Well Wisconsin incentive will automatically be issued to eligible participants upon completing the applicable activities. All wellness incentives paid to participants are considered taxable income to the group health plan subscriber and are reported to their employer, who will issue a W2. In some cases, the Wisconsin Retirement System acts as the employer. Retirees, continuants and their spouses will have some taxes withheld from the incentive amount earned.

Source: The StayWell Company, LLC

Refinding Your Work Groove After Sheltering in Place

For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic created a whole new work reality. During shelter-in-place orders, you may have been working from home—or maybe you were unable to work at all.

Either way, when it’s time to restart your work life—heading into the office again, rejoining your old job, starting a new gig—the transition may feel a bit odd. Going from sweatpants (or no pants) to work attire is tough enough. But then you throw in the new routines, the different environments, and the overall newness of everything and, whew, this sounds tough.

Here are tips for smoothing your transition back to work and refinding your day-to-day groove.

Act Like You’re Starting a Brand-New Job—Even If You Aren’t

Hey, a little extra effort never hurt anybody at work.

If you’re starting a new job, congratulations! If you’re returning to an already-held job, you’re getting reacquainted with your office, your coworkers, your bosses, etc. In any case, use it as an opportunity to establish yourself.

  • Respect the workplace environment. Every place of business has a unique dynamic and culture—and it may be different after the pandemic. Read the room so you can determine how to put your best foot forward.
  • Set boundaries. Even though you want to impress, it’s important to maintain a work-life balance and avoid burnout.
  • Be inquisitive. Asking questions is important: It’s how you learn. If you seek guidance from people around you, you’ll gain a lot of knowledge.

Relearn How to Focus

Your environment at work is likely different from what you had at home. Get back in the swing with these tips:

  • Prioritize your day. A to-do list can be your best friend when you’re looking to maintain focus.
  • Limit distractions. Set aside time without gadgets or interruptions.
  • Take breaks. Stopping and going for a quick walk can help recharge your mind.

Re-Establish Good Workplace Habits

Getting to a specific place on time. Packing a healthy lunch. Putting on pants. These are all habits you haven’t employed in a while. But that doesn’t mean they’re lost.

Reacquire and re-solidify these actions by:

  • Identifying your goals. Figure out the behaviors you want to change, or those you want to start, like showing up on time.
  • Making a plan of action. Set small, reasonable goals so you don’t dive in all at once. (Start setting your alarm earlier by increments, for example.)
  • Being patient. You may not fall back into these habits right away. Be nice to yourself and allow for hiccups.

We’re all coming back into the workplace together, so if you’re feeling a little uneasy, you’re part of a big club. You can find a groove again—just give it time.

Source: The StayWell Company, LLC