As of Monday, March 16, 2020 the College of the Holy Cross asked all students, faculty and staff to transition to working remotely as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). With new obstacles comes new opportunities and ways to set ourselves up for success to work virtually.
Setting up your space. Not everyone has a a home office or desk but it is a really important way to set yourself up for success. Find a quiet place (earbuds work too!) that you can focus and separate from distractions – bonus if it has a window/view – and stay organized with only the materials you need out. Having a set space will keep your work area easily accessible, and the choice to be in that space or not. Working virtually does not come with the expectation that you should be available 24/7 and having the option to take a break is key for mental fatigue. Check out all of the ideas online by searching #setupyourspace.
Looking the part. Come to class prepared and get ready for the day just as you would on campus . It is easy to get out of daily habits and routines and your attitude/effort will fall with it. Your professor will likely want to see your face in “class” so be sure you have good lighting – you don’t want to be back-lit which will only cast dark, unflattering shadows. Keep up appearances, stay on task and continue your good habits at home.
Exploring new technology. Social distancing means new ways of communicating. While most of us are comfortable with the apps we use on our cell phones, they are different from the professional video conferencing platforms used for meetings and class time. Give yourself peace of mind and test out Google Meet or ZOOM ahead of the scheduled meeting to become familiar with your new classroom. Test with a friend you miss from HC!
Screen fatigue. Ever notice how after a long binge on the couch you feel even more tired? It is important to keep active throughout the day to keep your blood pumping and brain focused. Between classes, just like you would on campus, take a walk around the house/outside or even just do a few jumping jacks. One way to keep your eyes from getting tired is to look at something 15-20 feet away for a few seconds every so often to reset your gaze.
Have patience. In the words of Dean Margaret Frieje… we realize that this is a stressful time for everyone, particularly as we try to balance our commitments to our families and their needs with our professional responsibilities. Please be patient and generous with yourselves we move through this ever changing landscape.
Overall, be safe and stay healthy! We are all in this together and your community is here for you. Please reach out with any questions or concerns, or to share a pic of your new work space!