Australians upskill to adapt to virus life

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(Australian Associated Press)

 

Australians have flocked to online courses teaching them how to work from home as they seek help adapting to life under the coronavirus pandemic.

Studies of one remote working short course has leapt a massive 11,000 per cent from February to March.

Offered by professional networking platform LinkedIn, similar numbers of students have been upping their knowledge of video apps and home office time management.

LinkedIn Learning’s senior director of APAC Jason Laufer said people were struggling to cope working under the same roof with their families five days a week.

But by searching out new skills most had proved their resilience in times of stress.

“Imagine you’re in financial services where everything’s done in the office and all of a sudden, overnight, everything changes. You don’t have those core skills of how to work from home,” Mr Laufer told AAP.

“So they find courses and look at how they can combat the situation by turning to learning, to be more successful.”

Mindfulness has also been popular with workplace leaders, with a large spike in the adaptive courses taken by both chief executives and the human resources industry.

“They’re taking mindfulness and using it to support both themselves but also their organisation and the changes dealt by this crisis,” Mr Laufer said.

Many sectors have been hit hard because of COVID-19, with retail sales, travel and hospitality among the worst affected.

Treasury has predicted unemployment will peak at 10 per cent as a result of the coronavirus, with some businesses to go under.

LinkedIn’s hiring data shows job hires “fell off a cliff” in March, Mr Lauder said.

The decline is directly correlated with an increase in time spent by out-of-work sales staff on learning modules, as they clamour to make themselves competitive in a slowing job market.

Mr Lauder said the sales industry has changed to automated, digital sales and social networks that reach out directly to customers.

But it’s not the only industry facing rapid changes as even IT professionals used to working remotely have struggled under the strict social measures put in place during the crisis.

“My personal view is it hasn’t been easy,” Mr Lauder said of working from home.

“You’re trying to work but also help supervise your children online and make sure what they’re learning is resonating and they stay motivated.”

But it’s something the whole world will have to get used to, he said, as employers and employees alike push for more work-life balance.

“I think the world of work is changing significantly and whether you’re in finance or healthcare, now we’ve been forced into it we’re realising there’s a lot we do which can be done remotely,” Mr Lauder said.

LinkedIn is currently providing several of its more popular short business courses for free, including a range of practical lessons and tips for job seekers.

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