From Home to Work

Adjusting a home into a workspace and what comes with it

Craig Eddy

More stories from Craig Eddy

Craig Eddy
May 15, 2020

Rhyen Standridge

Rhyen Standridge’s neat and organized workspace setup. Organization is the key to focusing on schoolwork.

On an average school day, students would leave their homes and put on a whole new mindset on their way to the building in which they would do they’re learning. During this time of fear and quarantine, no day will ever be average for a long time. Instead of being able to focus entirely on school inside of a school building, students have to adapt and change their normal home mindset into a sort of hybrid of the two. 

It’s tough to combine since they’re both two very different ideas, but sometimes the key to balancing life and school in the same building is a change in space. Junior Rhyen Standridge took this key almost literally.

“I started utilizing my desk and computer more,” Standridge explained. “I have a workspace in a different room dedicated specifically to schoolwork so I can stay focused.”

A change in atmosphere, even if it is just a separate room in the same house, can help immensely. When you focus on schoolwork, your brain starts to realize that the location you’re in is where schoolwork is done, so it rewires itself to focus better. However, if you sit in the same area in which you, for example, sleep or eat food, the brain can’t figure out which area is better for which situation, resulting in a lack of focus or regular function. What also helps in focus is organization.

“Everyday I plan out what i’m going to do, since I have to help my brother while my parents work too, we have a system where we know if one of us has a meeting and such,” Standridge said. “I also have a desk that’s completely cleared off, with a wall with sticky notes of everything I need to do, a shelf with all the materials I need and binders with all the worksheets I need.”

This online learning has sparked the creativity and activity of many students to create their own little stations for better organization and focus. It could be an entire change in atmosphere or even just a simple desk and computer setup next to the bed. What matters most is preference. Everyone studies or works in a different way, so obviously no one setup is completely identical. Sometimes however, rather than creating an area, people like science teacher Mr. Patrick Reed just claim a spot in their home to get things done right.

“[The kitchen table] is a place that I’ve claimed, I want to have a workspace, but I just haven’t spent the time to make a workspace home,” Reed said. “I try not to work from home much at all. At home I just don’t have anywhere I’m comfortable, so I move around a lot.”

From a teacher’s perspective, a workspace is just as important, if not more important. Even in this case a claimed spot in a home can be just as effective as a specifically oriented room.

“I’m at my kitchen table when I wanna get serious, or on my couch when I want to relax. I zoom 4 days a week, two zobot, two hap,” Reed explained. “ I’m a very systematic guy, but now here it’s hard because there’s so many more distractions. I hate to say but I don’t have a system yet, but I’m finding a system slowly.”

One of the main problems that arise with creating a working area is the time it could take to build it up. For Reed, that’s the only thing holding him back.

“I do think it would be nice if I could have a dedicated space, I think I haven’t made one yet because it would take me probably a couple hours to do it, if I spend those hours, I could have spent those doing something more important or more immediately necessary,” Reed said. “If I’m surviving my hodge podge situation, I don’t want to change that. If I notice that I’m failing at something, I’ll reflect and realize that I might have to adjust.”

“If I’m surviving my hodge podge situation, I don’t want to change that. If I notice that I’m failing at something, I’ll reflect and realize that I might have to adjust.””

— Mr. Patrick Reed

But of course, even teachers are different from each other. Band director Mr. Nathan Griffin has built up his own zone from his past experiences.

“I would say it’s still a work in progress, the biggest thing is finding the place, where we’re going to work, what does that look like, for me a natural place is in my basement, there’s already a desk, I used this when I was getting my masters,” Griffin said. “I have to isolate myself, to a certain extent.”

Teachers and students have very similar ideas and processes with online learning and where they work. One stark difference that some teachers have against their students is their own kids.

“I can’t fully isolate with two kids, my daughter has dance classes and my son has school. We have a family whiteboard to schedule things properly, it’s not great, but it’s getting there.”

But for both Griffin and Reed, they’ve figured out how to handle the situations when they arise.

“Im lucky that shes 9, not 3, my daughter is really low key, she likes to try to bomb a zoom, but she’s really quick to get out. She knows that when I’m zooming, she knows to be quiet.” Reed said. “Shes at a certain age to where she knows what she’s doing, but I know I can’t ignore her for 8 hours. It’s the little breaks in my momentum but it’s not bad at all.”

“It’s tough, what I’m blessed with is two kids that are handling it pretty well, but I know a lot of people are struggling with that, it’s a balancing act,” Griffin said. “There’s family time where they need things and have things themselves, before we would send them to school or to the sitter, then we would go to work, now it’s providing for our kids and for our students.”

While the idea of shifting from home to school in the same space seems easier said than done, if you have the right plan going into it, workspace in mind or not, it can be done just as effectively.