Summary: Working Remotely During a Global Health Crisis – Ask an Expert

Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 10:00 AM PT, 1:00 PM ET

Flattening the curve is a control effort of focus:  During a pandemic, individuals do not stop having cancer, having babies or medical emergencies, therefore we need to be aware of this and decrease covid-19 patients to not overwhelm the healthcare system.  We are working remotely to help flatten the curve.

Our recent panel webinar described the essentials required to have safe and healthy remote working during the current crisis.  Panelist answered questions related to:

  • Personal well-being and mental health;
  • Employer responsibilities and employee rights;
  • Work-life balance in remote working environments;
  • Maintaining productivity and working relationships.

Our panelists were:

Diana Vissers, MA, MCVP (F), RRP – Work to Wellness
Tyler Amell, PhD
 – CoreHealth Technologies
Gregg Taylor, ,ACP, BA, RCC, CPHR – Family Services Employee Assistance Programs
Manobhiram Nellutla, CCPE – Actsafe Safety Association
Andrew Tarver, JD – Allevato Quail & Roy

This blog is a summary of the panel, you can watch the full webinar here.

 

For employers

  • Workers compensation does apply at home, meaning employers should have a workplace from home policy.
    • Make sure your employees are assessing the hazards of your workplace.
    • Survey your house for possible risks
  • Go through the processes of expectations for cleanliness and social distancing.
  • Consider letting your employees take home their office supplies that can lead to a more appropriate workplace at home.
  • Not every accommodation can be used, each employee is different and should be treated as such.
  • If you’re an employer going through layoffs, connect with your employees for support and health resources.
  • Establish expectations and policies, but ensure expectations are realistic.
  • Accommodating is a two-way street, having a flexible discussion with employers and employees is important.

Working remotely

  • Overall strategies for remote work:
    • Communicate to people often and clearly, building trust and transparency.
    • Invest in mental health and physical assessment when able.
    • Listen and communicate from trusted sources, , such as the WHO and the CDC, not Facebook or fox news
  • If you’re a parent juggling home school and work, you need to flex your expectations. You cannot do all this new routine; you cannot maintain everything and that is okay.

Anxiety and stress

  • Psychological safety is a shared responsibility, boundaries have changed due to this shift.
  • Working from home is like starting a new job, we are learning new tools to succeed and achieve productivity. Anxieties come from a variety of lenses now, such as the unknown, finances, grievances.
  • Demand control and support model of stress:
    • There are other elements of our work that can contribute to our negative stress of work.
    • You may not be in control of all elements that contribute to our workplaces from home.
    • Stress is diverse, especially given the diverse impact of this pandemic.
  • Adapting to the changes that have happened are often psychological and unknown.
    • Establish new normal routines
    • Flex our expectations of ourselves and on our children.
    • Understand that the new status Quo can be a positive change.
    • Are you taking time to care for yourself?
    • Have decompression exercises each day to allow yourself to experience de-trigger and experience safety away from thoughts and stressors and extra demands.
  • Self-care is more important now more than ever.

Ergonomics

  • Just because you have a proper workplace at home, we are still able to experience ergonomic risk, improper sitting can lead to back pain.
  • Take small “Micro-Breaks” throughout the day (20 to 30 second breaks after every 20 to 30 minutes:
    • Look away from your computer screen once a to rest your eyes.
    • Do simple stretches (Side bends/ Wingspan)
  • We are in a temporary workplace situation, we will return to our routine
  • Keep moving from your temporary work area, staying in one space can create a strain on your body. Change positions often to minimize this stress,
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