From learning from home to working from home

Teaching and Learning Manager - Annabell Dey

Computer Keyboard 5

These days, we can manage many aspects of our lives online – from communications, schedules and navigation, to entertainment, photo albums, shopping lists, and so much more – using the vast resource of the internet. There is an app and an answer for everything, literally at our fingertips! 

You can also be educated online. Even more study programmes have moved to cyberspace since Covid-19 rendered swathes of the global population housebound for long periods. Although not all courses can be taught online (practical courses requiring hands-on participation, for instance) many others can be taught partially or entirely via the internet, making them more accessible to those limited by geography, time constraints or family responsibilities. 

While studying online presents challenges, striving to meet these challenges can actually help students hone particular skills valued by employers when they enter the workforce – such as the ability to work independently, manage time effectively, and be self-reliant and motivated to keep going when things get tough. 

Of course, skills to operate technology to access course materials are essential – as well as the patience and resourcefulness to trouble-shoot computing problems when technology fails and threatens to disrupt learning! 

If you can learn to study effectively from home, you can gain the self-management skills to be employed from home – another skill in itself to add to your CV – that may become a standard feature of CVs in fields where working-from-home is an option. Having the ability to adapt to this increasingly common way of working could open up opportunities across the world and provide you with a more flexible working lifestyle.

If you are learning online, or planning to, these tips may help you find balance and gain an advantage in the workforce, by making studying-from-home work for you. If possible:

  • Set up your study space in a quiet, uncluttered spot with natural light, separate from where you relax.
  • Turn off your notifications to lessen distractions.
  • Invest in a comfortable chair to avoid ergonomic issues and expensive physiotherapy bills!
  • Take regular breaks outside. Walking can offer great thinking time, if you have a problem to think through. Or, take headphones and enjoy some music for a mental break.
  • Make plans to socialise regularly, so you are committed to leaving the house.
  • Schedule your days. Once you have figured out your best daily ‘rhythm’ – maybe you are most productive in the mornings, but lose focus in the early afternoon? Perhaps you achieve more after a run in the morning? – you can plan your day to suit yourself, because you have autonomy over your own time (outside of Zoom commitments!). Include times for eating, sleeping, socialising, household tasks and exercise in your schedule, and try to stick to this routine. It is important to balance work and home life by keeping them separate and distinct from one another – both physically and mentally.
  • Communicate – check in with your tutors and classmates regularly, and make the most of networks and support available to you. Ask questions when you are stuck. You could save a lot of time if you are heading in the wrong direction on an assignment!

Know that some days will be better than others. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day. Some of us do struggle to study or work from home, while others thrive. So go easy on yourself. 

Online learning with all the benefits of campus life

Did you know you can now study the programmes you want through Open Polytechnic, NZ’s largest provider of distance and online learning, and have access to facilities and student support services at Tai Poutini Polytechnic campuses? 

For more information, see our website at: 

For a list of programmes offered by the Open Polytechnic see:, or call them on 0508 486 769.