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How to survive working and studying online at home

According to Coco Hou, millions of workers across the country and students from primary school through to university, are facing the prospect of having to work and/or study online from home due to escalating quarantine requirements in response to the coronavirus.  

“While some people are looking forward to it, many will find that working or studying online from home can be harder than it sounds,” Coco Hou said today.

Coco Hou is the CEO of Platinum Professional Training. Platinum is one of Australia’s largest accounting training and internship providers with offices across all major Australian cities. Hou is also a CPA qualified accountant.   Platinum Professional Training moved all of their accounting, bookkeeping and finance courses online over 12 months ago and now they are one of the largest providers of online learning in the country.   The team at Platinum Professional Training understand the challenges students face studying online.

“Discipline and compliance are two key words when it comes to working and studying online,” Hou said.

“It can be difficult to stay focused and motivated when working or studying from home particularly when you are surrounded by so many distractions and a lack of workplace or classroom structure.

“For this reason, we developed a very structured approach to online learning at Platinum Professional Training to include online tutorials, dedicated online group sessions, and other forms of virtual interaction and engagement.   This provides our students with a very structured program that requires their involvement.”

For many workers and students about to experience the freedom of online work or study at home, Coco has some important tips on how to survive and succeed during periods of quarantine.

1.    Start your day as you would on any normal day

Routine is really important when you are working or studying online at home.   Get up and have breakfast and get dressed as you would as if you are actually leaving the house.   You can wear more casual clothes, but you need to feel like you are still in work or study mode.

2.    Eat well and avoid unnecessary snacking

Being home means you are closer to the fridge and the kitchen cupboards.  This can lead to over-eating and unnecessary snacking.   Make your morning tea and lunch as you would as if you were going out the door.   This will help you to avoid temptation.

3.    Exercise and move regularly

Working or studying at home means you are probably not going to move around as much as what you would if you were out of the house.  Set an alarm or a note for yourself and make sure you take breaks regularly.  Walk around the block, walk to the park and back, walk around or about the house, or do 15 minutes of floor exercises. Staying active is important as it keeps your blood moving, keeps you alert and helps you to avoid packing on the calories while you are in quarantine.  It’s also good for your mental health.

4.    Keep your diary full and busy

Your diary or calendar is your best friend when you are working or studying online from home.  Actively pencil in meetings and catch ups.   This will keep you active, engaged and involved while you are working from home.

5.    Stay in touch

Maintaining connection with the real work is very important when you are working or studying at home.  Utilise tools to maintain communication with people. These can include chat, email, skype, phone, text, etc.  Being at home can be lonely and isolating both physically and socially.   Make an effort to stay in touch with people – it’s not only good for you, it’s good for them too.

6.    Pick the right place to be

Working or studying online at home means you are going to be in one place for a period of time.   Find the right place in your home to locate yourself that is quiet yet provides enough light and fresh air.  Make sure you have a comfortable chair, good desk height and the things around you that you need to feel comfortable.

7.     Put limits on free browsing, shopping and ‘social’ social media

Days, weeks if not years can pass buy when you are spending time on social media, and the internet.  It can suck you in. Many useless things have been purchased online through boredom.  Put limits on activity that is not directly related to your work or study.  Allow yourself time to connect and engage with colleagues, friends and family – but use your time wisely and don’t let the internet get the better of you.  This is one of the hardest things to do while working or studying at home and it takes incredible discipline.

8.     Undertake virtual happy hours

Catching up with colleagues and mates at the end of the week or over the weekend is an Australian institution.   Keep up these types of traditions but do them through the use of technology. Arrange a virtual happy hour and get everyone involved.   It is a great way to keep up morale and ensure everyone still feels like they are taking part in and enjoying normal activities.

“Quarantine may seem like fun but it does require effort to stay connected and engaged,” Hou said.

“If you feel your work place or place of study could do more to make you feel engaged, suggest some of these ideas to help everyone cope and get through.  Everyone is in the same situation and could benefit from these ideas.”

At Platinum Professional Training, Coco Hou and her team teach the next generation of accountants the practical skills required to become a professional accountant.
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