The response to the coronavirus has been unprecedented and sweeping, as people around the world scramble to change their lifestyles. The change has been rapid and has left many people trying to figure out the best ways to adjust. As we all work to implement these changes, the team at the College of Education is doing its best to help students, faculty members and staff adjust to a sudden reliance on distance learning and working from home.
We have collected a number of resources to help you with online learning, but we wanted to provide some additional tips on how to set up a learning environment, promote healthy habits, and find a work/life balance.
Schedules are important
If you ask someone who has worked from home for any period of time, the most common piece of advice you’ll hear is that you need to have a schedule. Keeping a schedule is more about productivity; it can also help your mental health. Sticking to a normal routine gives you some stability, which is key, particularly when dealing with destabilizing scenarios—like a global pandemic, for example.
If you are used to starting your day with a shower and a cup of coffee, do that, even if your commute to the classroom has suddenly changed to a short walk to your laptop. That way, you are promoting your mental health and giving yourself a solid foundation on which to build the rest of your day. And working in your pajamas? Don't do it! While it may sound comfortable, changing out of your 'jams and dressing for the day is another clear message to your brain that you're shifting gears.
Designate a Work Place
Not everyone has access to a defined office space in his or her home. However, even if you don’t have a separate room for work, you should still set aside a chair/spot on the couch/desk to call your office. This might seem like a little thing, but carving out a specific spot will help your brain switch gears when it’s time to work and when it’s time to relax.
An important note: try to make your designated workplace different from where you sleep. This is particularly important, as you can accidentally train your brain to switch into work mode when you are trying to wind down for the night.
Remember the Human
As Dr. Vanessa Dennen writes in her excellent blog post series, “People first. Content second. Technology third.” One of the greatest issues with working from home is the disconnect you might face with other people. Instead of meeting face to face, you will be sending emails or messages at worst and connecting via video conferencing at best. It is easy to forget that there is a person sitting on the other end.
It doesn’t matter if you are a student, faculty member, or staff member. Now more than ever, we need to have patience with one another and understanding. Have open conversations, talk about expectations, and support one another.
Working from home in the same environment you live often promotes a more sedentary lifestyle. Even if you designate a separate workspace from the rest of your living space, your “commute” will probably only be a few steps and definitely not enough exercise to keep you healthy.
As a rule of thumb, health experts advocate for about five minutes of constant movement or exercise for every hour you sit. Set a timer and do some light stretching or even some yoga. Even just standing and walking around for a little while can make a huge difference.
The FSU community is strong and supports one another. If you have questions, comments or concerns, we want to hear from you. You can always connect with us on social media or through the College of Education website. Together, we can finish strong!