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Improving Praxis in Residence Life
younger generation's approaches to achieving a work/life balance (Neville & Brochu,
2020). As Jason made clear, the expectations to work at all hours and on weekends no
longer align with those that staff have for work/life balance. This supports Neville and
Brochu's (2020) conclusion that these expectations differ by generational status.
A lack of work/life balance can have serious consequences, including decreased
mental well-being and increased intentions to leave the field (McDaniel, 2021; Mullen
et al., 2018; Rankin & Gulley, 2018; Reed, 2015). Residence life departments need to
evaluate staff responsibilities with a focus on reducing workloads and providing opportunities
for staff to create a better work/life balance and prioritize their well-being.
Having a more manageable workload would allow staff to address unanticipated crisis
situations more easily, as they would not already be stretched too thin. To create more
realistic workloads, departments could, for example, engage in stop-start-continue
activity on a regular basis to update job responsibilities and align them with current
student needs. Departmental leadership should aim to balance student needs and
staff well-being as they make decisions about job requirements.
In addition, if a new responsibility is added, especially during a crisis, leadership
should question how this task may impact staff well-being and what support staff may
need to cope with this change. Our participants noted how they developed various
strategies to deal with work stress during the first year of the pandemic: creating and
nurturing social connections, making the most of the flexibility at work or work-fromhome
opportunities, and seeking out therapy. Departments should review and revise
their policies and procedures to allow for the development of such strategies. For example,
they may consider creating or expanding existing roommate or pet policies for
their live-in staff, which would provide them more freedom in their living arrangements.
Recognizing the current push for working from home, departments may consider
hybrid work arrangements (Torres et al., 2022) as well as increased flexibility for
staff to craft their work schedules. Mark highlighted how he appreciated being able
to end the work day in the office early, then return to doing work in the evening at
home. Allowing staff to find creative ways to complete their work responsibilities may
be one way to foster their well-being and job satisfaction. Departments may also consider
proactively connecting staff with counseling services. Our findings indicate that
therapy played an important role for several participants in overcoming stressors and
developing coping strategies. Department leadership may also explore opportunities to
utilize employee assistance programs to proactively provide mental health services to
their staff.
Continuing to use technology may be another way to reduce workload and increase
the efficiency of residence life processes and procedures, while also addressing
students' needs and preferences. Technology use can increase efficiency and accessibility
in the workplace (e.g., Ter Hoeven et al., 2016) and can be leveraged to increase
the efficiency of common residence life procedures such as check-in and check-outs.
Departments may also consider which meetings should be held virtually and when
in-person meetings may be preferable, ideally finding a balance that reduces trav46
The Journal of College and University Student Housing

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

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