Musings on studying from home – and what I’ll apply to ‘WFH’ days

Diffley Partnership is delighted to introduce you to our new colleague Megan. Megan is a recent graduate and has relocated for this role. We are stiving to help her settle into her new life in Edinburgh. In this blog, Megan shares some valuable tips for all us hybrid workers.

Put simply, completing my MSc degree from my childhood bedroom (thanks to COVID-19) had its fair share of pros and cons. This article shares my key tips and take-aways from a year of studying at home, and those which I will (attempt to!) continue, now that I’m hybrid-working in my new home of Edinburgh. 

Take a moment to reflect on your first year of university, where the notion of life after graduation probably felt as abstract as the concepts in your new theory-laden modules. What did you imagine your future living situation would look like?

I had imagined a smooth transition from university halls to a cosy house or flat in the heart of Belfast. Upon my return from my dream graduate job each evening, I would catch up with my flatmates, decide on weekend plans and try out whichever new, trendy takeaway was all over social media. However (*spoiler alert*), these plans quickly unravelled when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Like many others, I moved back to my parent’s house in March 2020. From there, I finished my final year exams, tried various lockdown trends (with equally various success levels) and completed my MSc degree. Living at the family home has its perks – and I’m aware that it’s not always an option for everyone – but it can also lead to isolation, loneliness or FOMO if it feels like your fun-filled youth is drifting away. To counter this, I began threading some ‘pre-COVID’ normality into my routine, while also trying out new ways of working and socialising* (*Zoom catch-ups included).           

As I settle into a mix of home and office working at the Diffley Partnership, I’ll be striving to integrate some of my own top tips on ‘WFH’ days, which include:

Tip #1: Stay connected

Although online conversations are great, you should also add some in-person meet-ups to your social calendar. Whether it’s dinner with friends or a coffee with a colleague, it’s always nice to have something to look forward to and get out of the house. Give them a call or look out for apps which combine everyone’s work and social calendars – this will help with the all-important task of setting a date.

Tip #2: Make sure that everyone has some breathing space

While most of the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and more of us move towards our ‘normal’ schedules, those you live with might have different preferences or need to time to adjust. Talk to them to find out just how much they want you around, and when they might need time for themselves.

Also, be sure to let them know the timings of important phone-calls or meetings, to avoid interruptions and prevent any unwanted guests lingering in the background of a video call!

Tip #3: Switch up your scenery

Try not to get too cosy on WFH days. Completing the same, daily circuits of your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living room can get a bit monotonous after a while, and you’ll likely find yourself wanting to switch up your scenery. If not heading to the office, you could bring your laptop, notebook and pens to a local coffee shop, library or another relaxed, WIFI-equipped space.

A new location can work wonders for your productivity, helping to provide inspiration, boost your mood and get out of a rut. This is also a particularly good remedy for those days where ‘life admin’ is top of the agenda; an iced latte and a donut will make the daunting task of sorting out your email inbox a whole lot sweeter.

Megan Dickson  May 2022

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