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

Fitness Classes Available In Person and Virtual!

The new group fitness schedule starts this week! Many classes (see key above) will be offered in-person at the Kress Events Center AND virtually, so you can join in-person (masks required) or join from home!

If you plan on attending in-person please register using the UREC app

If you’d like to attend virtually, no registration is required. Our virtual class links are updated daily!

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/

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

Phoenix Rise Virtual Run/Walk held June 26-28

Congratulations to those who participated in the Phoenix Rise Virtual Run/Walk last weekend!  It was a hot one.  There were 36 people who walked or ran, including 7 UWGB alumni, 14 students, and 15 employees!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to those who shared pictures from the event!  The little phoenix flyer pictured is Kaitlyn O’Claire’s two-year old daughter who walked with her mom during the virtual Phoenix Rise Run/Walk!  Great job everyone!

Are you ready for some BINGO?

Here is your wellness challenge for July!  Complete at least 20 of the 24 activities on the bingo card from July 1st to July 31st to qualify for a chance to win a prize!

  1. Click here and print out your bingo card
  2. Mark off each square and write the date you complete that item during the month of July
  3. Scan or take a photo of your bingo card and email it to wellness@uwgb.edu by August 10th

Stay healthy this summer! 

Join us for a real Snooze Fest

Take a moment to dream a little.

Of a life that lets you be the best possible you. You wake up energized each morning. You are using your many talents. You are accomplishing new things. You feel good about yourself, your health and your future.

Our program is designed to help make that dream a reality, and we are throwing a snooze fest to get you on your way! After all, while hard work is important in meeting your future goals—so is the time you spend snuggled under a blanket. Quality sleep is a must for recharging your mind and body. Virtually all of us could benefit from more of it.

Introducing the Sleep Challenge

  • Get seven hours of sleep on 21 nights during the month of July.
  • Learn how to make sleep a priority so you can get more of it.
  • Fulfill the well-being activity portion of your Well Wisconsin incentive*.

Is the Sleep Challenge for you?

Do any of these statements sound like you?

  • I sleep a lot, but I always feel tired anyway.
  • I’m a total insomniac. I’ve tried to sleep better but I can’t.
  • I may not sleep as much as I’d like, but I’m doing OK most days.
  • I sleep pretty well already. I’m not sure I need more.
  • I’m so busy keeping up with my family that I barely have time to sleep.

If you said Yes, then this competition is for you!

» Access the Sleep Challenge

*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.

465245      Copyright © 2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. StayWell is a registered trademark of The StayWell Company, LLC.