Emergency telework during COVID-19 pandemic
- Hands - Wash them often
- Elbow - Cough into it
- Face - Don't touch it
- Feet - Stay more than 6ft apart
- Feel - Stay home if sick
In an abundance of caution, many state employees are now being encouraged to work from home for extended periods of time. As a result, employees and supervisors have had no choice but to find innovative ways to keep services going. The information on this page will help provide resources on how to be productive, grow skill sets, and answer questions on how to make mobility work best for you.
Getting started with mobile work
Each agency and workgroup will have unique circumstances that will inform telework policies. Make sure to check with your manager and human resources for more specific information.
- Get "ready" for work each day. This will help your mindset to shift to a work-related focus.
- Create or use a separate area to conduct work. It can be tempting to work in front of a tv or from bed. However, the key to successful mobile work is creating an environment that allows maximum focus.
- Be comfortable. In your work set up, strive to maintain good posture. Work with your agency's ergonomics representative for resources or tips to help make your work setting comfortable for you.
- Adjusting to telework during the COVID-19 outbreak [external link] - online workshop
- Building a Modern Work Environment webpage
- COVID-19 Has My Teams Working Remotely: A Guide for Leaders [external link]
- Ergonomics for teleworkers [pdf]
- Lessons from States that Embraced Telework Before the Coronavirus [external link]
- Managing mobile employees - online training
- Managing Remote Teams During the COVID-19 Outbreak [pdf]
- Sample agency telework policy [pdf]
- Sample telework agreement [Word
- Teleworking tips [pdf]
- Working remotely [external video]
Staying connected to work groups
Research has shown that many full-time employees spend more time among coworkers than their own families. Social distancing and extended telework as a result can feel isolating, leading to disengagement from work. It will be critically important in the months ahead to not overlook our workplace connections.
- Periodically, check-in with your supervisor and team. We are all going through this pandemic together. It will be vital for us to check-in with and support each other during this trying time.
- Utilize technology. One enormous benefit we have is the ability to stay connected to others without physical interaction. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, among others, are just a few of the resources that allow us to see and hear each other.
- Keep your office contact information updated. Yes, most of us should be home during this period. Help your team know the best times to reach you and the best means of doing so by keeping your calendar updated.
- A Human Workplace Virtual Gathering: Working Alone Together [external link] - online workshop - April 9, 3pm
- A Human Workplace Virtual Gathering: Working Alone Together [external link] - online workshop - April 14, 1pm
- A Human Workplace Virtual Gathering: Working Alone Together [external link] - online workshop - April 15, 9am
- A Human Workplace Virtual Gathering: Working Alone Together [external link] - online workshop - April 22, 9am
- A Human Workplace Virtual Gathering: Working Alone Together [external link] - online workshop - April 29, 9am
- COVID-19: Staying Connected While Social Distancing [external video]
- Form Connections While Working Remotely [external link]
- How remote workers can stay connected with their team [external link]
- How to run a great virtual meeting [external link]
Maintaining your health and wellness
Our work environments, communities, and overall daily routines are going through profound changes. With these disruptions, your health and wellness can take a hit with increased anxiety. The Employee Assistance Program is an outstanding resource for times like this.
- It's ok to be anxious. It is absolutely normal to have some level of anxiety about the effects of the coronavirus. However, our minds can easily be tempted to amplify our fear and worry. Make sure to monitor your anxiety and take steps to reduce it. Seek out appropriate resources and support if necessary.
- Take time to get outside. While there are current restrictions on the types of activities we can do, we still have the ability to take walks, ride bikes, and exercise. It can be a great way to spend your breaks during your work day while helping reduce stress.
- Help others. A powerful way to deal with anxiety around coronavirus is helping others. Donate to the food bank or blood bank, reach out to family and friends, wash your hands, and follow recommended social guidelines.
- 5 ways to deal with coronavirus induced anxiety [external video]
- Employee Assistance Program COVID-19 Resource Page [external link]
- How to Help Someone with Anxiety or Depression During COVID-19 [external link]
- SmartHealth Assessment [external website] - possibly eligible for $25 Amazon.com gift card or $125 SmartHealth wellness incentive
- Working through coronavirus anxiety [external link]
Being organized and productive
Working from home can offer benefits and unforeseen obstacles. Many employees will be balancing childcare, eldercare, along with the anxiety of the overall situation. Staying organized and maintaining productivity will be crucial to sustaining the services and expectations of the people we serve.
- Set "office hours". Obviously, there will be distractions but this will help encourage those close to you to limit disruptions during certain periods of the day.
- Create a plan for what you want and need to accomplish. This can be something you and your supervisor plan out or a personal roadmap to setting goals and strategizing how to complete tasks.
- Keep track of what you accomplish. This will help when you have check-ins with your supervisor and team. It will also help motivate you!
- Hacks to stay productive, motivated, and connected when working from home [external link]
- Time Management: Working from home [external video]
Opportunities to learn and grow
During this extended period of telework, you may find an increased ability to learn more about topics related to your job. The good news is that there are plenty of paths to pursue that don't require travel or many resources. The Department of Enterprise Services has created an Online Learning Resources webpage for state employees stock full of development opportunities.
- Take advantage of online learning resources. There are a ton of resources available, at no cost. Your agency may have resources available too. If your workload allows for it, utilize them.
- Get caught up on mandatory online trainings. It can be tough to fit mandatory trainings into the typical work week. Now is a great time to make sure you are up to date on trainings that are required. Some might be offered online.
- Be on the lookout for webinars. You may be surprised at the sheer amount of free webinars that are available. Keep checking this page for new ones in the coming weeks.
- Data and economics learning [pdf]
- Diversity, equity and inclusion learning [pdf]
- Employee engagement learning [pdf]
- Free online courses - University of Washington [external link]
- Leadership learning [pdf]
- Other learning [pdf]
- Retirement planning with the Department of Retirement Systems [external link]
- TED Talks [external link]
- Thanks for the book recommendations, but how do I get a book? [pdf]
Dealing with mobility hurdles
Undoubtedly, you may find yourself dealing with hiccups and hurdles, especially around technology. Make sure you work with your agency on specific policies and/or technology support in the event issues arise.
- Work with your local IT team on technology issues. Make sure you have the contact information for the IT team in your agency for when you run into any technology issues. Also, keep tuned in for any agencywide advisories from the IT team.
- Work with your supervisor on equipment needs. You may find the need for certain tools or resources in order to work from home successfully. Note these hurdles when checking in with your supervisor to game plan a resolution.
- Take your usual breaks. Just like you would at the office, make sure you take your normal breaks. If the weather is nice, take a walk. Also, make sure to note them on your work calendar.
Work/Life Integration [external link] - online workshop - April 14, 2020
- Increase in teleworking poses challenges for state VPN network [pdf]
- Leading at a distance [external video]
- Learning Zoom [external video]
- Setting up your own video camera for Skype [pdf]
- Skype instructions [pdf]
Advice from fellow state employees
You should still wake up at your normal time. Keeping that usual morning routine will help you be prepared to go back into the office when the time comes.
You should still get dressed up. This tells your brain you are in work mode, not weekend mode. Also, don’t work from bed … bad idea, folks.
Make sure to stay hydrated. Sometimes when we are home we aren’t as mindful about getting those ounces in.
Just as you probably do in the office, be sure to take regular breaks from looking at that computer screen.
Try to keep your regular work hours, this helps keep those boundaries between work and home.
Finally, stay engaged with your coworkers, friends, etc. These are hard times and that consistent social interaction you get in the office isn’t as easy to get from home.
Do you have comments, questions, or suggestions for teleworking as a state employee?
Your question or comment may be included on this website - but we'll reach out to you first to check if that's OK.