Healthier work-from-home habits for the new year

By Allstate Identity Protection

Sixty-two percent of employed Americans say they have worked from home during the health crisis, and some don’t plan to go back to the office anytime soon.

Since the pandemic began, a handful of high-profile tech companies have announced indefinite work-from-home, but the sea-change goes beyond Silicon Valley. For many white-collar workers who can do their jobs from home, remote work is shaping up to potentially be a permanent cultural shift.

In a recent survey published by professional services firm PwC, more than half of employers indicated plans to offer remote work at least one day a week, even after COVID-19 is no longer a concern. Another forecast by Global Workplace Analytics estimates that more than 30 percent of employees will be remote multiple days a week by the end of 2021. 

Happily, many companies have found that a remote workforce can be a boon. Gallup research suggests that remote workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts — and that they’re more deeply engaged, too. Plus, WFH is viewed as a nice perk, so it helps attract top talent. 

Sharing out best practices is one way to drive favorable outcomes at your organization — and the new year is the perfect time to promote healthy habits. Consider passing along these work-from-home tips to your team, including some intel on how Allstate Identity Protection can safeguard your employees. 

1. Set a regular schedule 

When you work at home, distractions abound. For peak productivity, organizational experts recommend starting the day with a regular morning routine. Rise at the same time, get dressed (even when you’re staying home, what you wear really can impact performance), and eat a nourishing meal. All of this signals to your brain that it’s time to focus. 

From there, creating a schedule can help you prioritize more deeply focused work (rather than constantly reacting to emails and chats that flow in throughout the day). 

One method for time management is time blocking, which involves dividing the day into chunks of time, each dedicated to a specific task or group of tasks. Using this approach, your morning might look something like this: 

  • 8:30 to 9:00: Read and respond to emails 
  • 9:00 to 11:00: Draft a client proposal 
  • 11:00 to 11:15: Read and respond to emails
  • 11:15 to Noon: Team meeting via Zoom
  • Noon to 1:00: Lunch 

Be sure to schedule breaks, too. Movement, snacks, and fresh air can all provide a much-needed brain boost. 

2. Communication is key 

Even if your team doesn’t meet in person, everyone should still understand what they’re responsible for and when the work needs to be done. 

Here are a few ways to keep the communication flowing when you’re working from afar: 

  • Plan regular virtual team meetings
  • Use product-management software for visibility of tasks and projects
  • Schedule weekly or bi-weekly manager/employee one-on-ones
  • Establish communication preferences
  • Communicate available working hours via a company calendar 

While you’re keeping in touch, it’s nice to be respectful of co-workers’ time. Before you send a note, consider the best way to communicate the message  — chat, email, or phone call?  — depending on its urgency. 

3. Set healthy boundaries

When your desk is also your kitchen table, the lines between work and home begin to blur, and it can be difficult to set healthy boundaries. But our minds need downtime to function optimally. If you don’t ever truly unplug, burnout is a real risk. 

Here are a few ideas for maintaining work/life balance while working from home: 

  • Use off hours to recharge 
  • Don’t work from bed 
  • Put your device away after hours
  • Put up an away message when you don’t plan to be responsive 
  • Communicate your time zone to avoid off-hours phone calls or pings 
  • Avoid passively checking your work email when you’re not ready to engage 

4. Use an identity protection service 

During the pandemic, fraud rates have surged. Sadly, remote work can up the risk factor. When more information is being shared over home networks and personal devices, employee and company data may be more vulnerable to attack. 

A bad case of fraud can have a ripple effect on your team, as identity theft has been linked to less productivity at work. Victims may be stressed or distracted on the job, or even absent while using sick leave or personal time to handle remediation. 

Our product can help. We safeguard members’ identities with key features like credit monitoring, social media monitoring, and dark-web monitoring. You can maximize your protections by visiting the portal and entering your details under the ‘Dark Web Monitoring’ tab. From there, we’ll use bots and human operatives to scour the dark corners of the internet for your information. We’ll alert you of potential fraud, sometimes before any damage is done.

If identity theft does occur, we help alleviate the stress that comes with recovery. Our generous reimbursement policies reduce the financial impact. Plus, our customer care team is available around the clock to handle as much of the remediation process as possible. 

We hope that having us as a partner makes remote work a little easier at your organization. Here’s to working together to grow healthier work communities, at home or in the office, in 2021 and beyond!

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