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Remote work: Ways some Utah businesses are meeting the challenge

Even before the coronavirus response forced most non-essential employees to work from home, there was a growing trend to ditch the office—in a company-mandated way. Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics’s 2019 survey indicated that 4.7 million in the U.S. were already moving toward a work-from-home or remote work model, and there has been a 159% increase in this trend within the past 12 years.

Still, working outside of a standard office environment is not everyone’s cup of tea The delicate work-life balance, the need for more motivation and less procrastination, and the feeling of potential isolation are all factors some employees struggle with when making the switch.

Utah Business asked Utah business leaders about this trend and sought their advice for helping employees remain productive.

Working from home for better health 

John Rampton, founder of productivity startup business Calendar, says his business has a home office located in Draper, Utah, but many employees work remotely, some even from other countries. In his experience, the biggest struggles remote employees face involve setting schedules that include a proper work-life balance. If you’re not careful, you can slide into a pattern where there aren’t healthy boundaries, both physically and mentally. Along those lines, it’s easy to allow yourself to grab a donut from the kitchen and keep working instead of taking a lunch break, or finding it easier to choose not to exercise at the end of a long day than to honor a healthy routine. Setting a schedule that accounts for all aspects of life, just like you would if you were at the office, can help.

“A schedule holds you more accountable because you have to put a window of time between work to focus on wellness,” Rampton said.

Calendar employees receive a stipend each month dedicated to maintaining health goals. There’s even a bit of friendly competition when it comes to tracking employees’ progress. The idea is that a well-balanced employee is a productive employee. Applying out-of-the-box ideas can help meet business goals as well as the non-work needs of employees.

“Together, we can all get through this and continue to apply the lessons we’ve learned,” Rampton added. “We’ll also come out of it with more knowledge of how to effectively operate a remote company and team.”

The idea of keeping to an effective schedule is something that Mark Fulton understands well. He is an IT manager for a Michigan firm, but he lives in St. George, Utah. In addition to Ramptom’s tips, Fulton also advocates for a specific workspace dedicated to work. Leave that space at the end of the workday, just like you would if you were leaving an office.

“At the end of the day, I try to ensure I’ve hit all the important items and follow-ups, then get out of the home office space entirely, even if some of my other hobbies are computer-based,” Fulton said.

Taking breaks is important, even at home

One big enemy of the working-from-home concept is procrastination, which can be the result of boredom with surroundings. Brad Crump, the health services manager at Red Mountain Resort, suggests several tactics to alleviate this. Use video chat instead of email for co-worker meetings and interactions. Play music or podcasts at a low volume to make it feel like an office environment. Take breaks throughout the day — like a visit to the water cooler at the office.

Companies that had to make a sudden shift to a remote work environment have found that ensuring employees that they are trusted to maintain productivity is important. Kodiak Cakes, a Park City company, switched all 86 of their employees to remote as a result of the pandemic. Manager Blair Carlin said the company’s focus has been on establishing unity as an important tenant.

“We’ve always been very proactive with our culture and flexible with work situations,” Carlin said. “However, now that we’re remote, we need to look at things through a different lens.”

Online banking creates more ease for Utah businesses

At First Utah Bank, we offer options for banking needs that can be easily accessed from home. Whether your business is operating in the same as before restrictions or whether you have adopted a virtual model temporarily or permanently, First Utah Bank has online banking options that are convenient and easy.

Our website features an easy login for Internet Banking. If you are part of our Treasury Management program, you can also use the online portal to access your services any time of the day or night. The login process is streamlined with high levels of security for your data.

Whether it’s making a remote deposit or checking on your financial status with our app from your phone, we are here to provide that easy access. To learn more about what we have to offer, go to our website, or call First Utah Bank at 801-308-2265.