Opinion: Home isolation can help boost productivity

Working from home creates an environment that promotes efficiency and flexibility for students

Trading in-person classes for virtual learning has forced students to adapt to a new lifestyle of working remotely. While this raises questions about whether student success will be hindered, home isolation actually creates opportunities to promote productivity.

Virtually-conducted classes and Zoom calls help students become more efficient because the classes are now easier to attend.

Driving to school and making the trek across campus creates a struggle for some to get to class, and remote and online learning requires less energy and helps students attend their courses.

Maggie Hosier, a freshman studying family and human development, is a commuter who felt that the change made it easier to attend class because she no longer has to drive from Mesa to Tempe. 

“I like how I don’t have to wake up super early just to get to campus and walk half a mile to get to class,” Hosier said, adding that her commute would “make going to class less motivating.”

Through Zoom, students at home can simply watch professors present from their computers and mobile devices or listen to lectures through phones. 

“Having class through this online format is a lot easier for me now,” she said.

Along with helping streamline the process of attending class, working from home provides another benefit: flexibility.

A study by Doo Hun Lim, professor of adult and higher education at the University of Oklahoma, compared learning outcomes between students with fixed-schedules and students with flexible, online schedules. 

The findings showed that whether it involves “work, other studies and personal matters,” flexibility influences students' learning because of the “freedom to control (their) learning time and learning processes according to their personal learning preferences.” 

Many find flexibility in the fact that completing classwork is often no longer restricted to the timeframe when class occurred previously. Some online classes provide options to complete work throughout the week, which allows students to watch prerecorded lectures, take online quizzes and finish other school work on their own time.

Because the remote working environment itself allows many students to control their learning, as they do not have to go to in-person classes during a set time of day, they're given the opportunity to work at a time they feel most motivated and productive.

Attending class and completing schoolwork from home also provides students with an opportunity to dedicate more time to their interests.

While not everyone can be at the level of writing Shakespearean-style work during a quarantine, there is something worth noting about the opportunities this newly-freed-up time provides to work on different pursuits. 

Peruse webpages, blogs and social media to see various posts titled “Quarantine Bucket List” or “100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic”— these make the opportunities that home-isolation presents quite evident. 

For many students, their quarantine to-do list involves turning idle time at home into exploring activities and cultivating interests. 

Miguel Ochoa, a freshman political science major who recently moved back home to self-isolate, said being preoccupied with on-campus activities and consumed by classes made it difficult to make time for activities that seem “minor” in comparison.

“I think that when we’re caught up in the business of life, especially in college, we can brush off things like side hobbies because it feels like there's no time to do them,” he said. 

While Miguel “didn’t consider staying at home all day to be ideal,” he said it provided him with an environment where he could focus on things that he previously had trouble fitting into his life. 

“I’ve been using this extra time to get back into playing the guitar and improving my skills. It’s nice to have time to focus on things you want to work on and enjoy that aren’t school-related," he said. "It’s a much-needed change of pace.”

Working remotely in quarantine, it is a strange time to be alive. It is also a stressful experience for many to adjust to this living situation. However, this change allows us to reexamine the impact our environment has on productivity.

This lifestyle shift shows the importance of working in a setting that promotes flexibility and free time. 

For students, attending online classes and working from home shows us that whether it be academic or personal pursuits, home-isolation has benefits for making progress in various areas of life.


Reach the columnist at lhrabik@asu.edu or follow @lynettehrabik on twitter

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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