Molly is a junior in her second year in journalism. She manages the varsity football team on the side and enjoys cooking and baking.
How to Navigate Sharing a Virtual Workspace
January 6, 2021
Sharing a virtual workspace is tricky. Whether it’s with siblings, friends, or your entire family, it can be very hard to do your best in trying circumstances.
With Fluvanna switching to a hybrid schedule and other schools being on different schedules, it can be challenging. For example, at Fluvanna Middle School, class starts at 7:45 am and ends at 1:10 pm, while Fluvanna High School students start at 9:00 am and end at 2:45 pm. With different lunch times and different break times for classes, sharing a virtual workspace can involve a lot of juggling and give and take. One student might be trying to listen to a lecture while the other one is noisily making lunch, so it can be easy to get into arguments and other situations which take your mind away from your class.
Junior Madison Fain, who shares her virtual workspace with her brother, says that she and her brother get along pretty well, so they manage to communicate their needs, whether it be keeping silent while the other person is talking in a class.
However, even if you are not particularly close with your siblings you can still find a way to work things out. For example, you might try sitting in separate parts of the house so you have a little privacy. “It’s a good point to try to stay distant from anyone in the same building due to distractions,” said sophomore Landen Decker, who shares a workspace with his two younger siblings.
Decker also recommends that students “definitely keep track of your belongings, and be organized.” This can be especially important if you switch households. “I have to go to my dad’s on certain days of the week, so transitioning from space to space causes a bit of distraction and clutter,” he said.
One thing that may help is talking to your siblings about when both of you are in class and coming up with a system to try to make sure that you are quiet in that time period so that you and your sibling can stay as focused as possible. Another option is passing notes or making hand signals; if someone in your household is being disruptive you can pass a note and ask them to quiet down so you can focus.
With many parents working from home during Covid, sharing with parents can be problematic as well. In fact, this may be harder than sharing a space with siblings; with parents doing their jobs and taking it pretty seriously, asking them to quiet down or allow you to have the internet to yourself for 10 minutes can be asking a lot. You might consider asking your parents to schedule meetings when you’re not in a virtual class, or if that doesn’t work, you could temporarily turn your phone into a hot spot so you can move to another room.
When it comes to sharing a virtual space, some days are better than others. Internet issues, noise issues, and pretty much every complication you can think of can come up from time to time. Imagine all of the distractions that take place in a normal workspace. Add in the distractions of other voices going on at the same time, and people walking around and making noises in the background, and it can become practically impossible to concentrate.
So it’s important to recognize that there will be good days and bad days, and that you don’t just throw in the towel and give up when you’re having a bad virtual day, because tomorrow may be just great.
So here are a few ways to help you focus while navigating a shared virtual workspace.
Consider getting a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. You can help minimize the noise around you and help you focus on classes.
Make a schedule. Each week, sit down as a family and discuss that during upcoming times you will need complete silence (like for a test) and work something out.
Recognize that this is a tough time for everyone, and that it can have its positives. “I would much rather have a whole house to myself…but I enjoy sometimes having to help everyone that’s confused,” said Decker.