Working from Home

Published: Posted on

By An Tong, Chemical Engineering
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham

Due to the unfortunate COVID-19 situation, the university has decided to deliver teaching and assessment online. The prospect of now working from home may be nerve-wracking for some students, especially when you’re used to working in a particular environment.

Here is a list of my pro-tips to guide you as you adjust to working remotely:

  • Create a study setting at home so that it’s easy to work in. Distractions should be kept to a minimum so that you can make the most out of your study time. Hence, it is important to set a clear boundary between an area for doing work and an area where you can relax. It helps to focus better when you have a designated workspace with all your necessary supplies, such as laptop, notepad, pens, etc. Now that it’s difficult to spend your time outdoors, I would also recommend setting your workspace with natural light coming in.
  • Plan your time. When you are at home, it is easy to end up in an endless circle of procrastination until you eventually realized that you’ve wasted the day. Setting up a schedule is an effective method to stay on track of all the tasks you need to do. Personally, I always have a weekly plan in my journal. For example, if I have an important coursework due, I will break the work into smaller, more manageable tasks and set a deadline for each of them. Don’t forget to schedule some break time so that you don’t burn yourself out with long working hours!
  • Take notes. Watching lectures on Panopto may be convenient as it allows you to rewind and play it again. However, taking notes allows you to engage more with the study material. It can help you to understand the key points and remember them better.
  • Keep in contact with your friends and course mates. In general, it is a great idea to set up a study group. Online tools for video calls are common to use. It helps to maintain some social connection so you don’t feel too isolated studying alone. You can also seek help from your course mates when you are struggling with certain learning materials.
  • Make use of the support available. Even though students may not have access to libraries and other on-campus services, the university has enhanced the online services and uploaded a range of useful academic resources. Familiarize yourself with these resources so that they can support your studies. Apart from that, it may be stressful thinking about how the current situation may continue to affect your life. Keep in mind that wellbeing support is widely available, so you can also ask for mental health advice during this period of time.

I know that this may be a challenging time for everyone, but we’re all in this together. Let’s try and use this time to build up your self-management skills and be as productive as possible.

Stay home, stay safe!