Research Proposal: Remote Work-Life Balance & The Effects On University Students

How do you balance your student life to your personal one? Do you have a balance at all? 

I am interested in the way work-life balance has played a part in the global pandemic for student’s, shifting from campus based learning to constant engagement from the space of our home’s. How has that affected students ability to switch off and relax in their own space? Has it become overwhelming and difficult or has it been beneficial to further develop routine and organisation? 

WHAT IS WORK-LIFE BALANCE?

Firstly, it’s important to know what work-life balance is referring to and how that corresponds to University student’s in the climate of a pandemic and remote learning. 

Work-life balance has been around for a while, often taking up different forms. For example, in the 2000’s it was often referred to as work life and family life, the idea of balancing the time you spent at work to that with your family. However, that doesn’t really fit into today’s setting for student’s. The basis of it is, “A good work-life balance means you have harmony between the different aspects of your life.” Healthdirect.gov.au. (2019). 

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN BEFORE?

My topic focuses on the environment that is within the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced everyone, not just student’s, inside for everything for over a year. Usually student’s would travel to campuses to engage with work, however this all shifted to remote delivery, forcing them to work within their personal space. My topic is to explore where the lines get blurry, the harmony of the aspects and drawing to question if this has been beneficial to student’s or not. 

POLL’S

This topic was originally centred around the organisational impacts of Covid-19, which I instantly took to twitter to create poll’s for #bcm212 University student’s. 

Through curating twitter polls and in class engagement I refined my idea further to if students were finding remote delivery overwhelming and what was helping them stay organised while working from their personal space. My twitter audience showed that there was in fact an interest in this, and not just that but my original poll resulted in a 50-50 result. This ultimately made me confirm my idea from wanting to dive deeper into this topic and the way student’s have been handling their work from home.

RESEARCH

An article on an investigation into the side effects of working from home on work-life balance (Palumbo, R. 2020) investigates the ability of remote workers to manage the work-life integration brought on by disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. It identifies the potential issues that may occur when working from home as “the juxtaposition of private life and work-related duties is thought to generate stress and time allocation challenges.” This article does an intense dive into work-life balance and after a series of data collection it was found that remote working had side effects on work-life balance, which openly supports my topic. “The overlapping between work commitments and private affairs triggered by working at home involves drawbacks on the employees’ ability to manage the boundaries between work and life.” 

Gregory R. Berry and Heidi Hughes explore work-life balance with constant switched on engagement from the student’s perspective in their article. They found that the barriers between leisure time and that of work/school commitments that were once distinctly defined are no longer. “Mobile communication technology which removes both the temporal and the physical boundary.” This is relevant to my topic because it highlights how being tuned into work can impact our personal life, especially when given the context of Covid-19. 

Article’s have largely appeared ever since the pandemic lockdown that explored the health effects working from home. Some of the negative effects found in a rapid review of mental and physical health effects of working at home are “greater emotional exhaustion and cognitive stress.” On the other hand it was also found to “a positive effect on well-being…with less negative effect on well-being…” Similarly, on a more physical side Healthline, medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, listed some effects that working from home and specifically from bed can have. “When we use our bed for other activities…we create an association with wakefulness.” Other effects include posture, hygiene, and energy. These articles are helpful for my topic in discussing both the negative and positive impacts that working from home may have for student’s. 

I believe my topic is important to understand in a 2021 climate and to breach away from the outdated understanding of work equating to a seperate place and time when in truth that no longer exists. I am excited to conduct research into this topic in relevance to today’s student’s and to create insight on how those who are working remotely are handling the environment thrown at them. 

REFERENCING

Healthdirect.gov.au. (2019). Work-life balance. [online] Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/work-life-balance.

Palumbo, R. (2020). Let me go to the office! An investigation into the side
effects of working from home on work-life balance. Department of Management and Law, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy. P 3-14

Gregory R. Berry & Heidi Hughes (2020) Integrating Work–Life
Balance with 24/7 Information and Communication Technologies: The Experience of Adult
Students With Online Learning, American Journal of Distance Education. P 3

Oakman, J., Kinsman, N., Stuckey, R., Graham, M. and Weale, V. (2020). A rapid review of mental and physical health effects of working at home: how do we optimise health? BMC Public Health, 20(1). P 7

Healthline. (2020). 6 Reasons Working from Bed Isn’t a Good Idea. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/working-from-bed-isnt-doing-you-favors#hygiene

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