Coronavirus. COVID-19. It seems to be the only thing we read about lately! Unfortunately it’s a prevalent reality for most people in the United States as governments and organizations work to keep people safe.
Many schools have moved to online education around the US, and similarly many offices are telling employees to work from home until further notice. Luckily at WGU, our courses have always been online, so most students will have absolutely no interruptions to their WGU courses. But for many young children who are accustomed to going to school, traditional university students, and employees, the prospect of now working from home is nerve wracking.
Even if you aren’t worried about working or doing schooling from home during the COVID-19 situation, these principles are still incredibly important as you work or study at home. For WGU students or those who aren’t attending WGU, there will likely be a time when you need to work or study at home. This guide can help! There are many things you can do to be as effective as possible when working or studying at home. Here are 5 tips to help you as you transition to working and learning in your home.
When you’re at home, it’s easy to sleep in, lounge around, and not get a good jump on the day. This can leave you feeling frazzled and frustrated later in the afternoon and evening. When you know you’re going to be working or studying at home, a schedule can be your best friend. Set the time that you’re going to get up in the morning, and a rough outline of when you’d like to get work done, when you’ll take breaks, etc. This is also very important for children who are at home doing schoolwork—when they understand their routine they know what they have to look forward to and when they can expect snacks and a break. For children and adults alike, a schedule will help you be better and more effective when you do work and school work from home.
You and your family will all be able to focus better when you have created a workspace that you know is for your work and study. It’s valuable to create a space with all your tech equipment, like computers and monitors, as well as an area where you can spread out and write when necessary. A table or a desk is usually the best option—if you try to work on a couch or a bed you may find yourself getting a little too comfortable and relaxing too much. Set yourself up for success by creating a work station that will allow you to charge your computer and phone, have access to supplies you’ll need, and more.
Help your family know when work/study time will be so you can keep distractions to a minimum. This goes hand-in-hand with having a schedule because you’ll know when to tell your family that you’ll be unavailable. For kids, this is also important because they need to be aware of when they are expected to be doing school work and when they can play and relax. Clearly setting boundaries will help everyone in your family keep distractions at a minimum Keep your social media and YouTube apps and tabs closed so you can focus on the tasks at hand. For some people, this will mean silencing apps so they don’t send you notifications while you’re busy working or studying.
When you’re working from home or helping your kids study at home, it’s important to know that there’s something fun coming up. If your kids know that they will have a break to play or watch a TV show, they’ll be more likely to buckle down and get their work done. Similarly for you as an employee or student, knowing that you’ll get a snack or a break to say hi to your family after you finish a project or a meeting can really help you feel motivated to get through your work. It’s really important to take breaks and set up motivation systems for yourself throughout your day. When working or studying from home, it’s easy to get distracted. When you set up a motivation system that allows you to indulge in your distractions after you accomplish something, those distractions work to your advantage.
Make sure you have a good cell and WiFi connection so you can connect with your boss, colleagues, professors, and more. You’ll need to make calls, listen to meetings, watch lectures, turn in assignments, and more. So a good WiFi connection is crucial. You may want to order a new router or cables for a hard-wired connection to really ensure you can get all your work done. Making sure you have all your communication channels open and working will help you be sure you can get everything done. You can likely chat online with your computer or phone company if you need any help getting everything working well.
With coronavirus spreading and more people being told to stay home every day, it’s important to know how to be prepared to work and do school from home. Preparing yourself and your family is a sure way to be successful as you practice social distancing and stay inside.
If you’re staying home, now could be a great time to go back to school from the comfort of your couch! WGU programs are all online, and now could be a great opportunity to start pursuing a degree as you make the best use of your time.