Nobody is a stranger to the desperate measures taken to achieve a new normal with more than a year since the Philippines’ first lockdown. While essential services continue to operate, schools and offices also resume their operations using different adaptive methods.

With the system blending offline and online workloads, so are the offline and online lifestyles of everyone involved. In these efforts to blend teaching methods, students and teachers experience a digital workload, which seemingly makes everyone more susceptible to burnouts than a regular school year.

As this digital school year progresses, more students and teachers struggle to adapt to online learning challenges. Our digital workloads do not only consist of our to-do’s; they also consist of the multiple factors affecting our ability to manage them.

For one’s sanity, work should never be brought home nor assignments be done on weekends, but with work exclusively done at home, it would be a challenging advice to follow. The boundaries of work from home have never been as blurred. The delivery changes, yet it’s still the same stress and pressure of our workloads that continue to persist.

Working and studying from home does not mean we get more rest. Instead, it becomes easier to forget to take breaks and time away from our screens, therefore changing the perspective that we work at home rather than working from it.

The lack of structure and management amplifies the challenges of our digital workload.

Surprisingly, despite using technology, communication is still an issue in accomplishing our digital workloads. With both the users and current technology’s limited capacity, technology can sometimes be a hindrance rather than a tool to communicate. Power outages, service maintenance, and network interruptions further exacerbate the inaccessibility of accomplishing our digital workloads.

Given these, work and study through an online setup are insufficient in providing a regular workload experience. Based on the challenges given, it’s evident that a lack of structure and management amplifies the challenges of our digital workload. Furthermore, a homogenous structure cannot be established in every student’s and teacher’s homes, unlike the control provided by being at school. Consequently, it leads to varying experiences when it comes to online learning.

The varying experiences among everyone who works from home and tackles their individual digital workloads can sow apathy and indifference between students and teachers alike. When different experiences can divide us, we need each other as a community more than ever.

These challenges might be caused by the expectation of “normal” during abnormal times. We are still in a pandemic, and it impacts some more than others. However, it’s a call for everyone to give each other the benefit of the doubt and offer consideration to each other. As the demands to keep up with online learning expectations rise, our digital workloads will continue to isolate us from the importance of taking care of ourselves.

It makes it a call for us as a Marist community to help each other out in illuminating each other’s digital workloads so that we can continue to be healthy and sane in these challenging times.

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