Just like working from home is on the rise, more and more Kiwis have found themselves learning from home – at least some of the time – over the past couple of years.
If you’re one of the growing numbers of New Zealanders who work from home, you’ll know that there are plenty of resources out there to help you do it safely.
It’s equally important to look after your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing when you’re learning from home. Here are eCampus NZ’s top tips for staying safe and well when you’re working from home…
While it can be difficult, creating clear boundaries between study and home life will help you to manage your mental and emotional wellbeing.
The most effective way to achieve balance is to set up a workstation that you use solely for study. Ideally, you’ll have a desk and a comfortable chair in a space away from distractions.
Make sure that your workspace is well-lit and as tidy and organised as possible, as this will help with your stress levels. If you are studying in a space that is used for other purposes, pack up your workstation at the end of the day. This will help you and your whānau make a clear distinction between study time and leisure time. If you have a home office, only go in during hours you have set aside for study or work.
Make a Schedule
Whether you’re studying for the first time, or learning alongside other professional and personal commitments, it’s important to plan ahead and organise your time carefully. Decide when you’ll study each day in advance if you can, and don’t forget to set aside time for family, exercise, relaxation and pursuing your hobbies and other interests. Using this weekly planner template is a good place to start!
According to WorkSafe New Zealand, spending a lot of the day seated can lead to strains and injuries. Taking regular breaks is key to staying healthy if you’re spending large amounts of the day at a desk or sitting in one place. Try to interrupt computer use and time at your desk with tasks that will get you moving, such as hanging out the washing, doing the dishes, or taking an exercise break.
If you’re sitting down for an extended period of time, build regular, short pauses (micropauses) into your work by taking a moment to stretch; taking your hands from the keyboard and hanging your arms by your side; totally relaxing your shoulders, arms, hands and fingers; and looking away from your screen to focus on an object in the distance.
WorkSafe and ACC have produced a guide on how to prevent computer-related health issues. The guide includes information on how to set up a safe workspace and use a computer safely.
Online doesn’t mean learning alone. Dedicate time each week to connecting with your classmates and course facilitator through forum posts and messages. This will keep you motivated, ensure you have a support network if you need it, and give your wellbeing a boost.
Check eCammpus NZ’s support site Tō Tautoko for more advice and resources on staying happy and healthy when you’re learning online.