As millions of global workers and students have adapted in response to current events, home working has opened possibilities and enabled the world to keep moving sustainability – all thanks to digital technology.
With every good thing comes its challenges and finding the right balance as the way we work evolves is more integral than ever. Whilst things may have moved comfortably online for many of us, maintaining self-discipline and motivation is the key to getting ahead as the world continually adapts to new ways of working.
Workers are not the only people who have had to adapt. Students are also facing a whole new reality as lectures shift to a remote or blended approach. Understanding different techniques to support yourself during this time will be a key ingredient to success. We’ve asked our team for advice for students facing this new reality, which you can check out below.
Planning is Key
“Once you have access to the course materials we recommend taking the time to explore them. Plan your time, your lecturer will advise on how long activities will take as well as when activities should be completed – make a note in your diary. Plan your reading, look at the reading in conjunction with your assessment, think about readings which require more time and a solid understanding and others which you can skim read. Studying online can be very rewarding and enriching but it can also be overwhelming if you are presented a lot of information, take notes for you to refer back to after the session. Think about how you can contribute to discussions in the synchronous sessions, group activities and discussions are highly recommended to solidify your understanding and help improve assessment grades. Have a read of the weekly course and module updates on the virtual learning environment prior to the taught sessions, this will help you prepare for questions and gather your thoughts for what is to come.”
Beljeet K Daffu, Deputy Dean of Business Faculty (Regions) / Teaching and Learning
“As a librarian, I never thought working from home (WFH) is something I would do, but I must admit I’m enjoying it. As library resources become increasingly online, WFH is a possibility that didn’t exist for librarians a few years ago. In a previous job, I was a long distance commuter and the journey added an extra 4 hours onto my working day. Although I’m not in that position anymore, it has left me with the realisation there needs to be a distinction between work and down-time. My main concern was this would be lost whilst WFH. So, in order to make WFH a worthwhile experience, my advice is to not let work seep into your down-time too much. Have boundaries!
I don’t have a ‘home office’, but the kitchen table is now my workspace. (It’s making good use of a table which is usually covered with laundry!) At first, I experienced pain in my neck and shoulders, sitting on a dinning chair for 8 hours a day. I bought a shoulder brace and a desk chair and the difference it made was huge. I (mostly) stick to my traditional office hours and when I’m not helping staff/students I play Desert Island Discs in the background. I feel far more productive working from home as I can focus on admin tasks much easier than when I am in a busy environment. I use Teams to chat to colleagues and during WFH I’ve come to know people based at other sites better than I did during the ‘old normal’. WFH can be daunting but drawing up boundaries (regarding space and time) has made it a better experience for me.”
Cara Clarke, Online Learning Team
“After 20 years plus of moving between home and my work place (in my case classrooms), adjusting to working from home was not easy during the first 4 weeks. I had to get into the routines and dedicate a special room in the house that I called “office”. I put the timetable at the door to let everyone in the household to know my working hours – of course and when to keep the noises down! I had to mimic almost everything I do at work including going out for a walk during break times.
To achieve something out of your day, you have to plan and make sure you do not get caught out into the habit of responding to every email that comes through instantly just because you are sitting next to your computer. At the end of the day “life is not permanent” therefore do not treat it so seriously to the extent that you lose yourself into work and forget that there is life out there and there will be life after work. Take a few walks, call your friends. I have now invested in a fantastic home gym to keep my old legs moving because I was so used to walking up and down the classroom. Avoid stress: read, laugh and give as much love to everyone as possible.”
Imani Kyaruzi, Principle Lecturer
Although the new era of flexible working provides an array of opportunities to balance your work and home life more effectively, it’s important to ensure that in whichever way you can still make the most of your studies.
If you have any advice, get in touch with us on social media – we’d love to hear your thoughts!