Telework & Self-Care - Your Plan for Health

Telework & Self-Care

photo of home work station

Now more than ever it’s important to take care of yourself. When working from home, it’s imperative to create boundaries and self-care routines to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

When your living space doubles as your workspace, it’s easy to fall into the habit of always being “on” — and that’s not the best for your overall well-being.

Whether you work remotely due to the pandemic or your role allows you to work remotely, use the following tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle, combat stress, and avoid burnout while working from home.

Learn More About Self-Care & Success at Work

If you are interested in learning about the connection between self-care and productivity, you can take this free LinkedIn course on how to “Thrive @ Work.”

Live a life filled with less stress, greater well-being, and enhanced productivity by learning how to make transformational changes. Continue your Thrive journey and discover how to go from coping and surviving to actually thriving. In this course, Arianna Huffington and Joey Hubbard—the director of training at Thrive Global—discuss how well-being can contribute to your productivity and success at work.

Define your Workspace.  This video touches on best practices for creating a healthy and productive workspace at home.  Learn how separation and isolation should be considered.  Learn what it takes to set up a great workspace that enables you to focus easily and detach once the workday is over.

Learn More About Working From Home 

  • Ergonomics BuckeyeLearn Course (15 minutes) – How to physically set up your workstation. Help increase your productivity and reduce aches and pains by making sure your workspace properly fits you. Since everyone’s body dimensions are unique, workstations should be adjusted to fit each individual. This new online Office Ergonomics tutorial demonstrates how to set up your computer workstation to best meet your needs. Log in to BuckeyeLearn and search for the “ergonomics” module.  See how to best position your chair, monitor, keyboard, standing desk and other aspects of your workstation.
  • Computer positioning tips (Ohio Bureau of Workers Comp)
  • Computer set-up checklist (Ohio Bureau of Workers Comp)
  • Below are two LinkedIn Learning courses you can complete for free (if you have a LinkedIn account) to learn additional skills and tips on working from home.

“Tips for Working Remotely”   32 minutes

Learn how to work remotely and remain connected to your organization. Coach Todd Dewett reveals how you can create a productive work environment at home by structuring your day correctly, dedicating a space to work, and avoiding distractions. Once your workspace is established, he shares best practices for staying in touch with your colocated team. Last, he addresses the most common challenges encountered by remote workers: feeling isolated, navigating office politics from afar, and communicating virtually.

“Time Management Working From Home”  1 hour 25 minutes

Bestselling author and productivity expert Dave Crenshaw offers best practices for anyone who works full-time or occasionally from home. Dave begins by showing how to set up a dedicated workspace for maximum productivity, including tips on setting up your computer to ensure you stay focused. Then Dave walks through how to craft your daily schedule for peak productivity and plan meaningful breaks to avoid burnout. He explains how to collaborate with remote coworkers, including how to use virtual meetings productively. Finally, Dave offers advice for working parents and other caregivers who might be balancing professional and personal responsibilities in the home.

The best way to protect your sleep, limit stress, and avoid burnout is to establish boundaries.   Though not always the easiest or most comfortable thing to do, it’s imperative to create discipline, balance, and protect yourself emotionally.

Maintain a schedule with set hours and try as best as you can to not deviate.  Schedule a lunch break away from your workspace.   At the end of the day, shut-down your computer and close up your workspace.  Be careful not to fall into the trap of scrolling for updates by checking voicemail or responding to email in the evening if there is nothing urgent you’re waiting for.  Try to completely step out of work mode so that you can fully step into recharge mode.

Learn More About Setting Boundaries

“Setting Work-Life Boundaries” 31 minutes  Dr. Steffanie Wilk

In a remote work world, how can you design and maintain boundaries between your work and personal life?  Fisher Leadership Initiative hosted Dr. Steffanie Wilk for a discussion on setting boundaries.  If you are short on time, read this quick blog post that summarizes this presentation.

Setting Work-Life Boundaries

In a remote work world, how can you design and maintain boundaries between your work and personal life? On May 5, 2020, our team hosted Dr. Steffanie Wilk for a discussion on setting boundaries.

Posted by Fisher Leadership Initiative on Wednesday, May 6, 2020






“Bringing Work Home”  25 minutes – Jodie Leister, Ohio State Employee Assistance Program Counselor

Learn how the transition of working from home can create many challenges and how to overcome them by creating ground rules, expectations, and a successful schedule.

Even in an office setting, it is important to take breaks throughout the day to give your brain some rest.   It might seem counter-intuitive, but taking short breaks actually improves your productivity and concentration.   At home, you may find it is even more challenging as you work solidly for longer periods of time without colleagues to encourage you to go for a coffee together, meeting room transitions, or walking to a colleague’s desk to chat.  Find ways to remind yourself to get up, stretch your legs, check-in with yourself and get a change of scenery.  While taking your short breaks, take a moment to assess how you’re feeling.  Are you feeling anxious or peaceful?  Take some deep breathes.

Learn More About Brain Breaks

    • Take a quick 5-minute walk outside for fresh air
    • Visit the JustBreathe resource center for some guided breathing exercises
    • Log in to your Virgin Pulse account and practice mindfulness with a Whil session
    • Do these stretches at your workstation
    • Adopt 20/20/20.  Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to gaze at something 20 feet away. Give your eyes a break!

Being “healthy” is different for everyone.  Take a few minutes to consider how working from home can help to sustain healthy habits or be a deterrent, based on your goals.

For some, staying properly hydrated, getting enough steps, taking breaks to eat a nutritious meal and keeping up with other health goals can be very challenging as we are drawn to prioritize getting our work done over our own health.   It takes an intentional strategy to adopt new or sustain healthy habits while balancing our work.

Learn More About Healthy Habits

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  • If you’re not sure where to start, you may benefit from working with a health coach.  Ohio State has some of the best exercise, nutrition, and general wellness experts available to you, for free.   Your health coach will work with you to make a plan to meet your health goals.

Morning routines have two jobs: to signal to your brain that it’s work time and to give you time to gather your thoughts before you plunge into the day’s tasks.  There’s no perfect recipe for an optimal morning – everyone is different. That said, patterns exist in the morning routines of successful people. So, if you’re looking for a framework to make the most of your time before starting work, here’s what you can consider incorporating into your morning routine.

  1. Wake up at the same time:  Although it’s great not having to get up early to commute to work, you should really aim to get up around the same time every day.  This helps stabilize your internal clock and improve your sleep overall. It’s tempting when working from home to get up right at the last minute.  Plan to have around an hour or preferably longer to make sure you’re not in a rush or begin your day feeling stressed.
  2. No email until the workday begins:  Try to not check your emails as soon as you get up, avoid scrolling social media, and give your brain a more relaxed start to the day.
  3. Eat a nutritious breakfast: Working on an empty stomach is may reduce your ability to concentrate and leave you with lower energy levels throughout the day. Eating breakfast is probably the most important part of any daily routine! If you need recipe ideas for quick and healthy breakfasts, log in to your Virgin Pulse app to discover Zipongo – your resource for healthy recipes.
  4. Move your body:  If you are able,  get in some morning movement – a quick walk, yoga or some gentle stretching will do the trick.  You will feel more awake, alert, and ready to start your day.
  5. Do something for yourself:  If you are not able to exercise, make sure to do something for yourself before you start your day.  You might read, journal, pray/meditate, watch a sports report or catch up on the news.  Whatever you enjoy – do something for yourself.
  6. Map out your day – take some time before checking your email to set a few goals for your day.  Identify your priorities, what tasks to accomplish first and make a plan your breaks.

It is important to keep a regular daily routine to keep you mentally focused and your body’s sleep clock in sync – our sleep and wake schedule is controlled by our body’s natural clock and environmental cues.  It’s tempting to hit your snooze button just because you don’t have to physically go into work or stay up later knowing you can sleep in a bit more if needed.   Try to stay on the same schedule you would use if you had to commute to the workplace.

Learn More About Sleep

“Sleep Soundly During the COVID Pandemic: You Can Do It!”  30 minutes   Alice Teall, DNP, APRN-CNP, FAANP, NC-BC and Kim Joo, DNP, APRN-CNP, CNE

Recorded during quarantine, these principles for improving your sleep are also applicable to those who work swing shifts, in the office, or work from home.

Track Your Sleep -Use the Virgin Pulse sleep guide to create a personalized sleep plan.   Add sleep habits and goals to your create a personalized guide.  You can earn YP4H points when you track sleep manually each night or use a device to sync your sleeping hours to earn additional points when you achieve > 7 hours/night.

It’s challenging when working from home, to maintain an active lifestyle.  Our main reaction to a busy workload is to sit for as long as possible until the task is done. Before you know it, hours have gone by and you have not moved from your chair and you’re too exhausted to leave your home hit the gym.

Learn More About Movement

“Staying Physically Active While Home: Tips and Tricks” 25 minutes  Brenda Buffington, EdD; Kathleen Hatch, MEd and health coach, Bonnie Wilhelm

Recorded during quarantine, these principles for staying active at home are also applicable to those who work from home.

Get Moving

    • Group fitness classes on-demand from Rec Sports and the Office of Student Life
    • Try a WHIL yoga session while you earn points in the Virgin Pulse portal
    • Use a pedometer or fitness tracker to understand how much movement/steps you are obtaining daily.  Virgin Pulse offers an affordable option (Max Buzz $24.99) that you can purchase using your earned PulseCash.

It is exceptionally important to stay connected if you are home working alone.   No matter the reason, if you are physically isolated, you must work hard to stay socially connected to your colleagues, team, and organization.

Learn More About Staying Socially Connected

“Physical Distancing and Loneliness: How to Stay Socially Connected”  30 minutes   Kate Gawlik, DNP, RN, APRN-CNP

Recorded during quarantine, these principles for staying connected are also applicable to those who work from home and find themselves feeling lonely.