Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2 - 45

Improving Praxis in Residence Life
Participants also noted that staff could not keep up the pace required of them. As
Jason, a senior leader, explained,
I think we have often operated on such a fast pace where, traditionally, we work Monday
through Friday and on the weekends, eight to five and the evenings, and we're just
go, go, go. That's just the way life is in residence life. Now, I think that really has had to
change to say, " No, we've got to have ample time to just decompress and relax, so if that
means starting at nine, leaving at four, really encouraging the use of vacation, sick leave,
personal days, being flexible with appointments. "
Jason did not believe that past expectations such as working at all hours and on weekends
were realistic anymore. He noted a need to prioritize work/life balance and staff
well-being as departments recovered from the pandemic.
Megan, an entry-level staff member, also appreciated when department leadership
prioritized her well-being.
I've noticed my department has gotten more comfortable with just taking things off our
plates that maybe aren't that important. Not that everything off our plates should remain
off our plates forever, but I think just getting in the habit of asking that question of do we
really need to be doing this? How useful is this? And they've stopped doing things that I
never in a million years thought they would stop even in a pandemic.
Participants appreciated when responsibilities were taken off their plate to allow time
for new tasks. Megan further believed that trying to reduce staff responsibilities by
asking if tasks were really needed would be important beyond the pandemic to avoid
staff burnout.
Prioritizing Well-Being and Re-evaluating Careers
As the pandemic continued, participants recognized a need to prioritize their own
needs and well-being, which led some to re-evaluate their career trajectories. To manage
stressors of the pandemic in the moment, they developed new or maintained existing
social connections, embraced healthier daily routines, or sought out professional help.
For example, Thomas, a mid-level manager living on campus, said that he asked a
close friend to move in as a roommate and explained that this " helped me a lot on a
mental health level. " Mark, a senior leader, changed his routine to prioritize his needs:
If I can work six hours, but then I can get to the gym or get outside to work out or get to
my garden, I'm more comfortable leaving work a little early and doing those things in
the times that are most convenient so that I'm not dealing with traffic. And then if we eat
dinner and then I do work for two hours, it feels like it's balanced, right.
As the pandemic continued, participants recognized a need
to prioritize their own needs and well-being, which led some
to re-evaluate their career trajectories.
42 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

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