Working Well Remotely

With alternative assessments now underway, VP Education Kate Roberts has put together a list of top tips for creating a good home working environment. There is also signposting to the support and services available to ensure that all students from all backgrounds have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Your School should now have been in touch with you to provide details on your upcoming alternative assessments. This is a completely new situation for all students to prepare for, but it is very important to acknowledge that students have varying situations in which they are currently attempting to study.

I am sharing some of my top tips in this article to help you set up a good work environment for your upcoming assessments and I will also be signposting the support and services available to you to ensure that all students from all backgrounds have an equal opportunity to succeed.

My top tips for creating a good working from home environment

Get dressed

I know it may sound unnecessary but feeling prepared and alert for your studying is very important for productivity and creating a much-needed work-life balance. You may find creating a morning routine really helps you feel ready for the day. I personally try and get changed out of my ‘work clothes’ at the end of my day to provide that separation and switch off in the evenings!

Create a designated study space

This is easier said than done when you share a room with siblings or have one space for all of the people living with you to work at. However, it is important to have the distinction over where you will do your work even if it is just a specific room. Before you start your alternative assessment it may be useful to let everyone sharing your space know when and where you will be working and set the space up ready.

Set your study hours

Whether this is bright and early at 7am in the morning, or 10pm at night – you know when you work best and what time of the day you should complete your alternative assessment in. You will have a 23-hour window in order to allow any students in different time zones to complete the assignment, although it is not recommended that you take the entire time to complete the work. Make a plan about when you will complete the assessment beforehand and let everyone sharing your space know.

Schedule in your breaks, meals, and movement

Now more than ever, it is important to take breaks and grab some healthy snacks during the middle of your study sessions. You may not have access to your 3am coffee but you will need to schedule breaks, stay hydrated, and fuel yourself. If you feel like it, also schedule in some movement to keep your energy levels up - I personally opt for some yoga or a quick run!

Remove distractions

Again, not easy for everyone but as much as you can it is important to remove any distractions you can, such as binge-watching endless Friends episodes or constantly checking TikTok on your phone. I hope that you are able to find some time to concentrate during your assessment window, but if your situation does not allow it there is support that can be provided which I will talk through below.

Know your contacts

My last top tip is to know your contacts. Before you start your assessment make sure you have your personal tutor or module leader’s email to hand in case you need to contact them as well as the details for IT support and your School office in case you run into any technical details. It will also be useful to know the contacts for any specialist support you may need such as the Disability and Dyslexia Services (DDS), CEDAS, or the International Study Centre.

Further support for those with more challenging environments

It is all well and good reading numerous articles about productivity and how to set your study environment but we know that these are not helpful to students who are facing increased difficulty due to their current circumstances. Whether its concerns around time zones, a lack of reliable Wi-Fi, a lack of access to a computer, trying to work in a space where childcare needs to be provided, or isolating due to health conditions; these are not going to be solved with an effective morning routine. There are a number of options for support provided by the University that you can consider to help mitigate these potential impacts.

Extenuating Circumstances

Whatever your situation, if you would like it to be noted at the Exam Board, you are able to submit Extenuating Circumstances up until 18 June (deadline for both undergraduates and PGTs). You do not need to provide any evidence with your submission and your Extenuating Circumstances will automatically be accepted. The Exam Board will be notified of your Extenuating Circumstances application for consideration when looking at your marks. More information can be found here, but you should not submit until after your assessments. If you would like to discuss this with one of our Advisors you can email our Advice Centre at

Study Support Grant

There is financial support available to you if you are unable to access IT equipment due to financial difficulties. You can contact the Financial Wellbeing team to discuss options and an assessment for support from the Study Support Grant.

Keep in touch

Now more than ever, it is important that you keep in touch over the duration of term three. If you have any academic queries please contact your personal tutor, module leader, or Head of Department. Otherwise, if you have any questions or anything to raise with myself, my email address is Make sure you check out our Academic Hub on the SU website for academic advice and FAQs.