Print Archive: December, 1999
While telecommuting and socializing via technology has become the new normal, it’s important to take time to unplug. A few years ago, the average screen time for adults in the United States landed at 11 hours per day. This number has gone up to an astonishing 19 hours per day on screens during the pandemic. According to research commissioned by Vision Direct, the average U.S. adult will spend the equivalent of 44 years of their life staring at screens.
However, stepping away from the screens alone may not be enough. One of the best prescriptions for improved mental health is to also step outside. Connecting to nature allows us to relax, clear our mind and feel energized.
Research has found that spending time outside can help reduce negative emotions and improve overall well-being. Whether it’s a hike in the woods, walk in the park or picnic outdoors, connecting to nature can be incredibly beneficial to your health.
Emotional Benefits of Experiencing Nature
- Improved mood
- Lower levels of stress
- Increased feelings of relaxation
- Boosted attention, memory and creativity
- Greater levels of happiness and subjective well-being
- Reduced feelings of isolation and greater sense of connectedness
- Increased sense of meaning and purpose in life
- Improved sleep
While the emotional benefits of nature are vast, venturing outdoors can also improve physical well-being. Spending time in nature can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, encourage physical activity and enhance immune system function.
Research has found that spending 120 minutes a week outdoors is ideal to reap the positive benefits of nature. While this may sound like a big commitment, spread throughout the week, this equals less than 20 minutes a day. Converting your previous commute time into a 20-minute walk every day or spending an hour outdoors two days per week is all it takes!
Ideas to Help You Unplug and Get Outdoors
Here are some easy ways to spend more time in nature:
- Develop an outdoor hobby. Whether it’s sports, photography or gardening, there are tons of different activities that can get you out of the house.
- Swap a TV show for a more portable podcast or audiobook. Listen to an interesting podcast or audiobook while taking a walk or even just sitting outside.
- Take everyday indoor activities outside. Bringing your morning coffee, lunch, exercise or reading outside is a simple way to integrate nature into your daily habits.
- Plan an outside gathering. Summer is the perfect time to plan a picnic, barbecue or pool party with friends or family.
- Try something new. Spend the weekend visiting a local farmers market, going kayaking or exploring a new hiking trail.
- Volunteer outdoors. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or outdoor charity event to feel more connected to nature and your community.
- Join a club or group. Doing activities with others can help you stay motivated and is a great way to meet new people.
- Explore and learn. Research your area and discover green or blue spaces you didn’t know existed. Also, be intentional with your time outdoors by learning something about what you are seeing—the birds and plants, for example.
- Grow something. Plant a small garden outside. Tending to the plants is time spent outside and can produce flowers to bring nature inside or even food for your dinner table.
Don’t wait to find time for nature; make time to reconnect with the great outdoors. Schedule your time and make it part of your daily habit or weekly routine. Prescribe yourself a daily 20-minute dose of nature as an easy and accessible way to enhance your well-being.
Sources: Vision Direct, mind.org.uk, Forbes, YaleEnvironment360, Greater Good Magazine, Science Direct
Another Reason to Head Outdoors Today
Getting outdoors is good for your mental and physical health. If you complete a Take Action activity while you’re out there, it can be good for your wallet, too.
Head to the pool and track your swimming with 10K-A-Day. Sit on your porch and listen to the Daily Calm on the Calm app. Take a walk and track your steps in the Rockwell Automation Walking Challenge. Or join a local 5K as your Community Athletic Event. You’ll feel happier, improve your health and even earn rewards under the Health Management program.
- Stay calm…we have a new Take Action activity! Download the Calm app and complete the Daily Calm to earn a $100 incentive and achieve a calmer, healthier mind. The Calm app is available at no cost to you when you sign up using your Rockwell Automation email address. It’s one more way Rockwell Automation supports your overall well-being. Sign up today.
- Get your children ready for school with help from Bright Horizons®. Closed schools, shifted schedules and remote, hybrid and in-person learning led to an incredibly irregular school year for our kids. After months of worries over learning loss and reduced social contact, you may wonder if your children are prepared for the 2022 school year. Learn how you can help. Reserve your spot for the Preparing for Back to School webinar at 2 p.m. Central Time on Aug. 18. You will learn:
- Ways to make the most of learning moments with your child at home
- Approaches for play and other unstructured time to optimize learning
- How to encourage and inspire social development
- Raise confident children. Get the skills and insight to boost your children’s confidence and self-esteem. And learn how to help them to become empowered and resilient adults. Simply watch the latest on-demand webinar sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program (Company Code to log in: automation).
- NEW! Relax and unwind with the Calm mobile app. The Calm mobile app is Rockwell Automation’s newest benefit, available to you at no cost. Calm helps you achieve a calmer, healthier mind through daily meditations, sleep stories (including some narrated by your favorite celebrities!), relaxing music and more. If you want the free premium membership, make sure you sign up using your Rockwell Automation email address, not your personal email address. If you’re not sure it’s for you, register for a free welcome webinar, hosted by Calm experts, to learn everything the app has to offer and how it works.
- NEW! Virtual tutoring for school-age children now available. You now have the opportunity to schedule virtual one-on-one tutoring for your child through Bright Horizons® for a small copay of only $15. Tutors can help kids improve their focus, learn difficult subjects, become grade-A test-takers and excel above and beyond. Get started.
- Onsite health screenings will not be held this year. But you can still schedule an annual exam with your personal doctor. Not only will you gain valuable health insights, but you can also count it as a Take Action activity and get a discount on 2022 medical premiums. Learn more.
- Soak up everything summer has to offer. Learn how to be present and cherish special moments this summer through a new on-demand webinar, sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program (Company Code to log in: automation).
Over the past year, our entire lives were turned upside down—and many of us put our health on hold. But summer is the perfect time to get back on track. No matter what motivates you—the aroma of fresh produce in season, warmer weather for longer walks or fitting into that favorite pair of jeans—Rockwell Automation is here to inspire you and cheer you on with holistic benefits and programs that support you from head to toe.
Reap the rewards of the Health Management program
The Health Management program is Rockwell Automation’s well-being program that rewards you for doing healthy things—like walking, completing an annual health screening with your doctor or getting your COVID-19 vaccine. You’ll earn up to $500 off your 2022 medical premiums when you participate.
Take advantage of Virtual Visits
When you’re sick and need care after regular hours, you’re away from home or you just don’t feel like going to the doctor’s office, virtual visits are a good way to connect with a board-certified physician. You don’t even need an appointment.
Get peace of mind with Teladoc Health
Getting a second opinion before you make health care decisions never hurts, and Teladoc Medical Experts can help you do just that. It’s completely free to you and your family and connects you with top specialists to review your situation.
Get personalized retirement investment advice with Edelman Financial Engines
Edelman Financial Engines can help you manage your Rockwell Automation 401(k) investments. The Online Advice program gives you the power to manage your account yourself, whereas the Professional Management program1 pairs you with experts who manage it for you. Both programs count as a Take Action activity in the Health Management program.
1 Available for a fee
Stack up your savings with the HSA
One of Rockwell Automation’s medical options comes with a Health Savings Account (HSA) that allows you to save, grow and invest money to use for eligible health care expenses for you and your family—even all the way into retirement. And there’s some sweet tax advantages that come with it, too.
Boost your resiliency through the Mindfulness and Stress Management course
This engaging course will guide you through six sessions with a health coach to teach you simple ways to recharge your life, identify and reduce your stress level and engage in mindful eating. Completing this course counts as a Take Action activity, too.
Take care of you with Workplace Options
When you need help through life’s ups and downs, unlock five free counseling sessions through Workplace Options, Rockwell Automation’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP will connect you with a behavioral health professional, either in person or virtually, depending on your preference. And your conversations are kept 100% confidential.
Unwind with the Calm app
Through Rockwell Automation, you get free premium access to the world’s #1 mindfulness and meditation app, Calm. Calm provides sleep stories that transport you to beautiful scenes across the globe, relaxing instrumental music to keep you focused and daily meditations to help you set your intentions.
- NEW! Relax and unwind with the Calm mobile app. The Calm mobile app is Rockwell Automation’s newest benefit, available to you at no cost. Calm helps you achieve a calmer, healthier mind through daily meditations, sleep stories (including some narrated by your favorite celebrities!), relaxing music and more. When you sign up, use your Rockwell Automation email address, not your personal email address. Get started today.
- NEW! Virtual tutoring for school-age children coming soon. Staring July 15, you’ll have the opportunity to schedule virtual one-on-one tutoring for your child through Bright Horizons® for a small copay of only $15. Tutors can help kids improve their focus, learn difficult subjects, become grade-A test-takers and excel above and beyond.
- Improve your vitality with energy-boosting foods. If you’ve ever felt sluggish or tired and can’t figure out why, your diet might be the culprit. Join us live for an Eating for High Energy webinar this Thursday, June 24, at 11 a.m. Central Time. Mark your calendar!
- Set a foundation for successful, healthy relationships. Learn how to build and maintain strong relationships with the people you care about while respecting their boundaries. Stream this webinar on-demand through the Employee Assistance Program (Company Code: automation).
Warm weather, pool days and barbecues aren’t the only things to get excited about this season. At Rockwell Automation, you have benefits and programs to support you wherever life takes you. Read on to learn five ways to maximize your summer.
1. Plan a budget-friendly vacation using your employee discounts
If you need a getaway this summer that won’t break the bank, the employee discount program offers a wide variety of travel savings. You can save on flights, hotels, theme park tickets and more. Check out what’s available by logging in to EPOCH, the Rockwell Automation intranet.
Unable to travel this summer?
Let storytellers and celebrities guide you through virtual tours of ancient temples, the Irish landscape, majestic woodlands or the breathtaking sunsets of Iceland. It’s all available on the Calm mobile app, available at no cost to you. Get started today.
2. Use less vacation time with Company holidays
Want to get away but need to save up your time off? Use Rockwell Automation holidays to enjoy weekend adventures for Independence Day (two days) and Labor Day (one day) this summer. You can view all Company holidays for 2021 here.
3. Sign your kids up for camp with tax-free FSA dollars
If you currently contribute to a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through Rockwell Automation, remember that you can use those savings to pay for summer day camps for your kids. You’ll pay for camp costs out of pocket and then submit a claim for reimbursement on the Your BenefitsTM website.
4. Get the child care you need through Bright Horizons®
If you need a space for your child to thrive this summer, Bright Horizons® has your back. It costs you nothing to register on their website, and when you log in, you can:
- Find experienced nannies
- Enroll your child in a Bright Horizons® center (and get bumped up the waiting list*)
- Get discounts on tuition at participating partner child care centers
- Schedule back-up care when your regular arrangements aren’t available
*Available at select centers
5. Walk, bike or hike—and earn Take Action incentives along the way
Getting outdoors this season can be good for your body and your wallet. Through the Health Management program, you can earn up to $500 toward your 2022 Rockwell Automation medical premiums when you log your steps and other physical activities. From casual walks to 10Ks and summer softball leagues, there are multiple opportunities to earn your Take Action incentives.
Reminder: COVID-19 vaccines can earn you a $200 incentive!
COVID-19 vaccines now count as a Take Action activity. Visit our Take Action page for steps on how to report your vaccine and earn a $200 incentive toward your 2022 Rockwell Automation medical premiums.
- Count your COVID vaccine as a Take Action activity. You can now earn a $200 Take Action incentive through the Health Management program for getting your COVID-19 vaccine.
- Get the support you need this summer with Bright Horizons®. Summer is approaching, and you might need a helping hand to balance everything life throws at you. Your Bright Horizons® benefits can help you manage family responsibilities this summer and throughout the year.
- Child care centers and camps
- Reliable in-home caregivers
- NEW! Discounted academic support and educational enrichment programs
Learn more about all the summer resources Bright Horizons® has to offer!
- Make the most of your Dependent Care FSA dollars. Did you know you can use your Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars for summer day camps? Find out all the ways to get the most out of your account.
- Manage your priorities and boost your productivity. Attend a webinar on June 16 at 11 a.m. Central Time, hosted by Advance ERG, on ways to manage your priorities to maximize your day.
- Learn how to address anxiety in an uncertain world. Recognizing and managing anxiety can actively combat its physical and mental effects in a practical way. Stream the webinar on demand through the Employee Assistance Program (Company Code: automation).
- Download all your benefit contacts right to your phone! Visit our Benefits Resources page on your mobile device and download it to your home screen for easy benefits access on the go. Click the blue “Download Instructions” button on the page.
Contributing to the Rockwell Automation Savings Plan—the 401(k) plan—through Fidelity is a great way to jump-start your savings for retirement. There are several options available to save for your future. Explore the three options below to find the right saving strategy for you.
Three Ways to Save
When you contribute to the 401(k) plan, you’ll either pay taxes on the money going into your account now or when you withdraw the money in the future. Learn more about your three 401(k) contribution options in the chart below.
|Pre-tax||Roth after-tax||Regular after-tax|
|Contributions||Made with pre-tax dollars (money not taxed today)||Made with after-tax dollars (money is taxed today)||Made with after-tax dollars (money is taxed today)|
|2021 contribution limits||For 2021, the combined annual contribution limit for pre-tax and Roth
contributions is $19,500.1
|$19,500 limit does not apply|
|2021 catch-up contributions (age 50 & older in 2021)||For 2021, the combined catch-up contribution limit for pre-tax and Roth
contributions is $6,500.1
|Distributions||You’ll owe taxes (including on any investment earnings)||Tax-free (including any investment earnings2)||Tax-free, but you owe taxes on any investment earnings|
1 These annual limits apply to your Rockwell Automation 401(k) plan contributions and any contributions you made to another employer’s 401(k) plan in 2021.
2 Generally, you must have first made Roth contributions under the Retirement Savings Plan at least five years prior to the date you take a distribution and be over age 591/2 for earnings to be distributed tax-free. Consult a tax professional for more information.
Rockwell Automation Matching Contributions
Rockwell Automation will match 50% of each pre-tax, Roth and regular after-tax dollar you contribute to the 401(k) plan, up to the first 7% of pay you defer to your account each pay period. Company matching contributions, including any investment earnings, are taxed when distributed. Catch-up contributions are not eligible for the Company match. The IRS limits the amount you and Rockwell Automation can contribute in 2021 to $58,000 ($64,500 if age 50 or older).
Saving More With Regular After-Tax Contributions
If you max out your pre-tax and Roth contributions at the 2021 IRS limit of $19,500, you can continue to save above this limit and receive the Company match by electing the spillover. The spillover allows you to keep saving with regular after-tax contributions to the end of the year to get the full Company match (unless you decide to opt out) up to the 2021 IRS limit of $58,000.
Your Saving & Investment Strategy
A saving and investment strategy is dependent on your own financial situation and what stage of life you are in. Edelman Financial Engines through Fidelity provides you with choices for unbiased investment advice (they do not sell investments).
- Online Advice: You have free access to professional-grade online planning tools to manage your 401(k) account yourself. Edelman Financial Engines will make suggestions for an effective portfolio, and you can choose whether or not to implement them.
- Professional Management: For a fee, experts can monitor your 401(k) investments for you and allocate funds into your portfolio as they see fit.
Both services can be accessed at 401k.com and count as Take Action activities under the Rockwell Automation Health Management program.
Call the Rockwell Automation Service Center at Fidelity at 1.877.ROK.401K (1.877.765.4015) or visit 401k.com.