8 Tips for Successful Remote Learning and Work

Mother and daughter studying together at table

Whether you are working from home, helping children manage their remote learning experiences, taking courses for personal or professional development during this time of economic unrest – or all of the above - there are steps you can take to make your days more efficient.

The principles for setting up for successful learning at home are not all that different than those needed to work remotely. The basic needs for structure and discipline are the same. By following a few of the steps below, you will communicate to your child, yourself, and your household that education and work are a priority.


  1. Set up a dedicated learning or office space
    1. A dedicated home learning space can help spark creativity, sharpen focus, and increase motivation to read, learn and work.
      1. Many of us don’t have the space to dedicate an entire room as a work or learning space. If you can dedicate a corner of a room – great. However, you can also create learning and working spaces that are more flexible. Consistency is key!
      2. If your work space is the kitchen table, put all supplies in a box that is brought out at the beginning of the day and put away for meal times. If a folding table can be set up in a part of the room, but needs to be taken down for shared family space at other times of the day – make setting up the work space a daily ritual. This task will send a signal that it’s time to get to work!
    2. Declutter the area. Too many visual distractions can crowd the space and make it hard to focus.
    3. Ensure the learning space has good lighting. This can include natural lighting from windows or light from lamps.
    4. Create a central place for supplies. Have all the necessary supplies accessible in this area – books, binders, workbooks, laptop or iPad, calculators, power cords, paper, pencils, etc. Items that are removed from this area during the day should be placed back in their spot at the end of the day so that they can easily be found the next time they are needed.
    5. If you have multiple people vying for space, try setting up different work areas and staggering the use of each depending on the need. You can even take learning outside for a change of pace! Give children a box or backpack to organize and store their study materials. They can take this with them when they move from area to area.
    6. If you have room to personalize the space – do so! Think about who will be learning and working in that area. What motivates them? What sparks their interest? Try to create an exciting, personalized space that you all will WANT to learn and work in!
  2. Maintain regular school or work hours
    1. A schedule is so important. Without it, productivity can wane and we can fall behind.
      1. Work with your human resource department to understand expectations and anticipated work load and create your schedule accordingly.
      2. You can develop your child’s learning schedule based on the guidance you’ve received from their school or their teachers. If you have not received a recommended schedule from your student’s school, or you wish to augment their learning – check out Khan Academy’s Daily Schedule recommendation. Feel free to tailor it to meet your student’s needs!
  3. Set household rules
    1. Communicate to the entire household that learning and work are important.
    2. Set routines that support independent learning time and make sure to have a start and an end to the school or work day.
    3. Strive for balance. Make sure to spend time together as a family – doing fun things that everyone enjoys!
  4. Eliminate distractions
    1. Eliminate distractions. Turn off phones, televisions and social media when learning or working. For older children and adults, check out apps and tools that can help eliminate distractions like freedom.toStayfocusdDewo, or SelfControl.
  5. Create a new morning routine
    1. These past months have shown us that working and learning can take place in a variety of locations. However, routines are important. Instead of a morning bus ride to school, or a commute to the office, we find ourselves rolling from bed to the desk (and back again on some days!)
    2. Create a morning routine that sets the framework for a successful day. Take a walk, share breakfast, meditate or do yoga as a family. Creating and sticking to a simple routine and starting each day in a similar manner will let household members of all ages know that it’s time to transition to the role of learner and worker.
  6. Take breaks
    1. Be sure to include time for breaks, healthy meals, and physical activity in your schedule. 
  7. Schedule video conferences and chats with teachers, student peers or work team members to make sure all are on course.
    1. Human interaction is important. If your student’s teacher is not able to host classroom video calls, ask if it would be possible for students to connect with one another using an online messaging system like Skype or Slack. The same is true for remote workers; it is important to stay connected to team members.
  8. Keep the learning/working area clean. At the end of every day, tidy up the area, and set yourself up for a smooth start the next morning by making a list of tasks or laying out the materials that you will need to focus on first.

If you’ve fallen into sloppy learning habits, it’s not too late to clean up your act! Rededicate yourself to the task at hand. Make a conscious decision to set yourself and your family up for success.

You’ve got this!


By Kris Powers | November 12th 2020

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