Students, How Will Your Workspace Affect Your Productivity During Remote Learning?

by Devin Hecht, Journalism Intern, TAPinto East Brunswick

This story is republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. Link to story: tapinto.net/towns/east-brunswick/sections/education/articles/students-how-will-your-workspace-affect-your-productivity-during-remote-learning

Due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak, many students are planning on resuming their education through remote learning. Though this change may be the safer option, a new learning environment, if not properly structured, can possibly have a negative impact on performance.

Experts have stressed the importance of separating work from home life, but that might be difficult for students as they adjust to a new reality. Making a clear distinction between the two allows for someone to “switch off” when they get home, leaving behind the pressures of work or school.

“Since my room is usually a hang out space, having to separate the two is the biggest challenge,” explained Dylan, a Senior at East Brunswick High School. By allowing work and personal matters to integrate, mental health could be negatively affected.

Despite this, many students have not changed their workspace since starting online learning, stating that their work setups were already sufficient. Josh, an East Brunswick High School sophomore, said that “what [he] had, already worked.” Saanvi, a junior at East Brunswick High, echoed this sentiment, stating that she “didn’t need to change anything” and that “it was like everything was set up for this to happen.”

Clutter is also a prevalent issue pertaining to online learning. Multiple studies and experts have stressed the importance of a neat and organized work environment, and this might be difficult for students to maintain. Dylan stated that his “desk has a lot more stuff on it” since the beginning of quarantine.

Though it seems trivial, a disorganized environment can have a surprisingly significant impact on the mental health of students, which is especially problematic during a time of isolation from their peers. Psychology Today found that clutter contributes to stress, anxiety, and poor concentration. This is especially concerning since many students already find learning remotely to be less than ideal, and a cluttered room will only amplify the problem. Thankfully, there are simple solutions that can help keep a space as organized as possible, such as filing and labeling documents. It is essential that workspaces remain tidy during this time.

The diversions that come with a work-from-home schedule also create a unique new challenge. With no teachers to keep them on track, a lot of students have had trouble concentrating. Adrian, a sophomore at East Brunswick High, said that he has “stayed up all night just so [he] had no distractions” to complete assignments sufficiently. This could contribute to a reduced academic performance. Experts recommend noise-canceling headphones to combat disturbances around a workspace. Additionally, getting a lot of fresh air and natural light have been proven to increase mental capacity.

Despite the challenges that come with online learning, keeping a space organized and distraction-free could do wonders for a student’s concentration and productivity. With a few slight tweaks to an existing workspace, a student’s remote learning experience can be far more positive and effective.

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