Young Living, an international essential oils manufacturer based in Lehi, announced employees based out of the global headquarters in Utah will continue working from home through the end of the year.

On March 13, the company shifted more than 1,200 employees to work-from-home positions while the remaining employees who hold positions that are unable to be adapted to allow for telecommuting saw some changes to their daily operations.

Shante Schroeder, Young Living Vice President of Brand Marketing, said the company had 48 hours to get each of those over 1,200 employees, including customer services representatives and every employee at the global headquarters in Lehi, ready and to ensure each had the required equipment to work from home.

Each decision was made by the emergency response council, which was established to assess crises and develop plans to help the company and its employees best approach the situation.

The council is made up of several executives and stakeholders from the company’s various departments. Schroeder sits on that council.

The initial decision, she said, was made with safety in mind. Young Living was one of the first companies of its size to make the switch from a traditional work environment to online employment.

“We were just watching the climate and seeing what was happening with other states and overseas,” Schroeder said. “We just saw what was happening, and we saw that the need for safety, which could only be ensured by moving people to their homes, had to happen at that point in time.”

From the beginning, Young Living implemented safety measures to maintain the health of their employees, but almost immediately after, the council made the decision to have employees capable of working from home telecommute.

With Gov. Gary Herbert moving most of the state of Utah from the orange to the yellow phase over the weekend, Young Living is going against the grain by extending the time its employees will telecommute through the end of 2020.

Schroeder said the decision was largely based off two trends the company has observed over the last two months: an increase in productivity, and heightened sustainability efforts.

With 95% of the company’s global headquarters’ workforce telecommuting, Young Living has seen a 25% increase in productivity in the information technology department, and a 13% increase in productivity in the sales department, Schroeder said.

“Prior to the current crisis, I didn’t believe in working from home on a regular basis,” Young Living President and CEO Jared Turner said in a statement. “But seeing the positive impact the additional flexibility has had on our employees, their families and the environment has given me a new perspective.”

With the spike in productivity, she said the company is taking additional steps to address mental health as well as physical health.

In the midst of the pandemic and relatively high unemployment, a significant number of people have reported feeling overwhelmed or apathetic. To help their employees address these concerns, Young Living executives have established a number of resources.

Young Living is currently offering virtual fitness classes to employees and their families, providing online homework help for students, hosting daily virtual “happy hour” chats, launching a Young Living app for its employees to stay up to date, and implementing extended emergency leave for on-site employees.

Furthermore, the company has enhanced available resources for therapy and counseling services for its employees and their families.

The company’s executives are also hosting virtual town hall meetings for employees to attend where they can “get a peek behind the curtain” and voice their concerns.

Additionally, Schroeder said, Young Living estimates that by continuing to allow its employees to work from home, the company is eliminating over 20,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions each day. By the end of the year, the company expects to have eliminated over 3 million pounds of carbon emissions.

With the company’s continued telecommuting, Schroeder said Young Living is assessing the plausibility of extending work-from-home opportunities again in the future.

“I see us having a long-term, work-from-home solution,” she said. “I could say that we’re looking at all of the options available, and we’re scrutinizing them right now. We’re considering them from all angles, from morale to productivity, but it’s working.”

The company has maintained safety guidelines for employees whose duties could not be done from home. Young Living has adapted its warehouses to allow employees to maintain 6 feet of social distance, locations are taking the temperatures of each employee before they begin their shifts, and masks are required while at work.

If an employee does arrive with symptoms, they are sent back home and the company does its own internal contact tracing to ensure the health and safety of other employees and their families, Schroeder said.